The Chicago Bulls are undoubtedly going to be looking for a point guard this offseason, and multiple outlets are connecting them to free agent Spencer Dinwiddie.
Dinwiddie’s contract situation, injury history, and link to the Bulls organization make him an intriguing possibility. The seven-year veteran opted out of the final year of his contract with the Brooklyn Nets, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
The deal would have paid him $12.3 million in 2021-22, but he obviously believes he’ll be able to get more on the free-agent market and with more guaranteed years.
The Nets have Kyrie Irving and James Harden, so it is easy to imagine them allowing Dinwiddie to walk. Dinwiddie suffered a torn ACL in December 2020, so there is some concern about his long-term health, though there is no reason he shouldn’t be fully healthy, or at least close to it by the start of the 2021-22 season.
Lastly, Dinwiddie was once a part of the Bulls organization. He played for the team’s G-League affiliate, the Windy City Bulls, but never got the call up to the big club. Instead, he grinded through two years with the Detroit Pistons before finding his mark with the Nets in 2016-17.
He has been one of the league’s most improved players over that time. In 2019-20, Dinwiddie averaged 20.6 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 6.8 assists per game for the Nets while knocking down. He’s not a fantastic shooter (just under 32% from three-point range in his career), but he is adept at getting to the line where he has converted just under 80% of his attempts during his career.
Dinwiddie Considered a Top-20 Free Agent
Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report listed the Bulls as a potential landing spot for Dinwiddie. He dove a bit deeper into what Dinwiddie might be looking for on the free-agent market as well.
If healthy, Dinwiddie is a starting-caliber point guard and will look to be compensated as one. Over 64 games through the 2019-20 campaign, Dinwiddie averaged 20.6 points and 6.8 assists. His ask in free agency could be well over $20 million, but he’ll need a team willing to bet that he’ll quickly return to form after missing most of the year with the knee injury.
ACL injuries aren’t the death sentence to an athletic career that they used to be. While the injury almost certainly ends a player’s season, it hasn’t proven to be the career-ending or even the talent-limiting event that is was 25 years ago.
Because of that, Dinwiddie’s talent and his intangibles, you’d think he’d be the kind of player the Bulls would be interested in signing.
For the Culture
From a talent and fit standpoint, Dinwiddie might be the best point guard option available for the Bulls. He’s still just 28 years old, has the ability to create offense for himself as well as for his teammates, and he also has the kind of intangibles that are needed for a team on the rise like the Bulls.
Bleacher Nation’s Elias Schuster likes Dinwiddie’s fit for the Bulls’ culture:
Also, I’m big on the intangibles. Dinwiddie was the type of player who had to basically fight to carve out a role in the NBA. After his college ACL injury, he ended up drafted in the second round by the Detroit Pistons. Dinwiddie split time between the NBA and G-League over his first two seasons before he was traded to – yup – the Chicago Bulls. Ultimately, Dinwiddie went on to play an entire season with the G-League affiliate before the Bulls let him walk and sign with the Brooklyn Nets. Then, Dinwiddie only continued to develop into the reliable point guard we know today. By all accounts, Dinwiddie is a great teammate, and it’s hard not to be when you go through a career like that. So while he may not be the flashiest of names this offseason, he would be another player who can help build the culture Billy Donovan and the front office want to put in place.
If the Bulls come out of the offseason with Dinwiddie, Zach LaVine, an improved Pat Williams, Daniel Theis and Nikola Vucevic as starters with a bench of Thaddeus Young, Coby White, Troy Brown Jr., Garrett Temple (if re-signed) and a young, energy-charged backup center, they will have the makings of a strong 8-9-man rotation.
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