The Brooklyn Nets‘ offseason could end up going a multitude of different directions, but each of those outcomes seems to stem directly from whether or not they bring back Spencer Dinwiddie.
Their odds at doing so slimmed significantly just weeks ago, when the seventh-year guard declined his $12.3-million player option for next year.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski was first with reports of his decision:
Dinwiddie’s coming off of a torn ACL, and appeared in just three games last season. But his play in the season prior is likely to dictate his next contract.
The 28-year old averaged 20.6 points and 6.8 assists per game for Brooklyn across 64 appearances in 2019-2020.
But comments in a recent interview have set the stage for what appears will be a dramatic saga between Dinwiddie and the Nets, who are both looking to compete for a title, whether in unison or apart.
Dinwiddie: This is Very Much in the Nets’ Hands
When it came to a potential return to the Brooklyn Nets, he refused to rule it out, citing the very offer that could bring him back to the Borough:
Now, for all the fans that think because I opted out I have to leave or something like that, no, this is very much in the Nets’ hands, you feel me? I think my full max is like five [years], 196 [million] or something like that. And nobody’s sitting here saying I’m going to get five, 196 — so before anybody tries to kill me, nobody’s saying that.
A deal for five years and $196-million certainly seems unrealistic, particularly given his very recent injury history.
Dinwiddie went on to provide a more realistic number, albeit maybe in the eyes of the Nets’ front office:
But the Nets have the ability to do something that other people can’t. If they come to the table like that, and they’re being aggressive and are saying, ‘Hey we got five, 125 for you,’ I would say there’s a high likelihood that I go back to the Nets, you know what I mean? But if they don’t come to the table like that, and they’re like ‘Oh, we’re going to give you a three for 60,’ well, anybody can do that.
Brooklyn’s paying three guys $30+ million next season in James Harden, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving.
It’s hard to see a team with arguably three of the top-15 players in the entire league feeling comfortable shelving out $25-million annually for their backup point guard.
And on top of that, suitors are emerging left and right for Spencer Dinwiddie’s services, ensuring that there will likely be a bidding war for the guard this summer.
Heat, Mavericks Interested in Dinwiddie
There’s not expected to be any shortage of suitors for Spencer Dinwiddie in free agency, with a number of teams already being rumored with interest.
Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News reported on Friday morning that both the Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat are candidates to sign him:
The Daily News learned the Mavericks made their interest in Dinwiddie known and are a candidate to sign him in free agency. Multiple reports also suggest the Miami Heat are interested in signing Dinwiddie to join Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. There will be no shortage of suitors for Dinwiddie’s services, even if those teams don’t see him play a full-speed basketball game until after he signs a contract.
Both teams are coming off significantly premature postseason exits, and will be aggressive in retooling ahead of next season.
On top of that, SNY’s Ian Begley reported that Dinwiddie could have an interest in joining up with the neighboring New York Knicks this summer:
Teams gathering intel on Dinwiddie’s free agency expect that he’d open to signing with the cross-town Knicks, who will have significant cap space in the 2021 offseason.
With so many teams sitting as potential landing spots, and Spencer Dinwiddie’s apparent belief in earning a big payday, the chances of a return to the Brooklyn Nets are slimming by the day.
But with James Harden, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving in house, no personnel loss is too earth shattering for this team.
As long as they can stay healthy.