On the first day of eligibility for a contract extension with the Brooklyn Nets, Spencer Dinwiddie had 10 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter against the Knicks in Madison Square Garden.
Dinwiddie has commented on the possibility of an extension, saying that he would love to have one, but will look forward to unrestricted free agency this summer if both sides could not come to an agreement.
The Nets are having a problem, albeit a good one – having two players in contract years performing well, with D’Angelo Russell having a nice little run of his own – but since Russell and Dinwiddie play the same position, the Nets should only commit to one of them long-term.
Dinwiddie emerged out of obscurity last year, revitalizing his career with the Nets after playing for them on a partially guaranteed deal. Being a backup in Brooklyn though, will Dinwiddie look to start elsewhere?
Nobody knows for sure what Nets GM, Sean Marks and the rest of the front office have in store for Russell or Dinwiddie, but things should become clearer towards the trade deadline. If the Nets hold off on offering Dinwiddie a contract extension, teams may view that as Dinwiddie being up for grabs in the trade market.
But the Nets have something special with Dinwiddie and unless his market value is through the roof, they should do all they can to retain him. Russell is likely going to be the player with higher market value, being the younger of the two and being a former #2 overall pick. If a team is going to overpay for either of the Nets’ point guards, the big money will likely go to DLo.
It’s unclear how well Dinwiddie would be in a full-time starting job with the Nets, but after his absolute tear around January last season, it’s worth a shot. Dinwiddie’s averaging nearly 16 points and 5 assists per game this year, and those numbers could definitely go up even more if he had more minutes and a starting slot.
The worst case scenario for the Nets would be losing Dinwiddie and Russell for nothing – if the Nets sit back and let Dinwiddie walk without an extension while another team signs Russell to an offer sheet that the Nets don’t wish to match, they’ll lose on two bright spots of this season, especially with Caris LeVert being out.
Both guards are offensively gifted, but the Nets know what they’re getting with Dinwiddie. Russell may have a higher ceiling, but his development with the Nets so far has been good, not great.
Russell has turned it on as of late, hitting a number of clutch shots against the Raptors and helping the Nets snap their eight-game losing streak, but if the choice is Dinwiddie or Russell, the Nets could very well end up going with Dinwiddie.
In a perfect world, the Nets could offer Dinwiddie and extension while also re-signing Russell this offseason. By the looks of it, not many big-time free agents are looking to sign with Brooklyn this summer and while neither player is a max contract player, the amount of wiggle room is workable to keep both guys.
But with Dinwiddie’s recent play and dedication to the franchise, the Nets should offer a contract extension to last year’s Most Improved Player candidate sooner rather than later.