News broke yesterday of the Nets signing their backup point guard and bench leader, Spencer Dinwiddie, to a contract extension. This came off a career night for Dinwiddie, where he scored 39 en route to a127-124 over the 76ers. For the Nets, it seems as though they are finally ready to hand out some big contracts of their own rather than taking someone else’s mistake with a draft pick attached to it. For Dinwiddie, it shows how far he has come since entering the league. He and fellow guard Caris LeVert, along with big man Jarrett Allen, are the group responsible for growing the Nets from unknown nobodies to a team on the rise, and quite frankly, worth paying attention to.
Since the 2013 Boston Celtics where the Nets mainly acquiredKevin Garnett and Paul Pierce for low price of three unprotected first-round picks and a pick swap, Brooklyn has been stuck in hell and trying to get out for five years. Under the guidance of new GM Sean Marks since early 2016 (shocking that they would fire the guy responsible for that trade), we have seen the Nets embrace minimalism– on par with the Sam Hinkie Sixers regime. Sending out minimally talented lineups while bringing in minimal contracts – aside from their attempted offer sheets at RFA’s and aforementioned trades with awful contracts attached to draft picks – the Nets have gone 69-177 in the last three years. This upcoming summer, the Nets can make room for multiple max contracts, something they have been waiting for. It also offers something else – redemption for Billy King’s sins while GM.
Extending Dinwiddie makes a lot of sense for the commitment-scarred Nets, as he is averaging a career high in points while leading the bench unit. However, what do the Nets do with their starting point guard D’Angelo Russell, who will be a restricted free agent this summer. By locking into the backup, but not the starter, the Nets have positioned themselves to be major players in free agency. Two big-time point guards are hitting the market, and both happen to be from the New Jersey/New York area: Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker. Some other options in free agency include Goran Dragic, Eric Bledsoe and Terry Rozier (restricted free agent). The Dinwiddie contract keeps the Nets cap flexible, as they can get up to $46 million in cap space by releasing cap holds on Russell and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (Bobby Marks). The Nets could cause some serious drama this off-season, and finally look committed to being better in the here and now.