Spencer Dinwiddie Could Be Changing the Game of NBA Contracts

In the last few seasons, Spencer Dinwiddie has quietly emerged as a force for the Brooklyn Nets. After an uneventful early start to his career, he’s assumed a position as a premier sixth man in the Eastern Conference. 

Dinwiddie recently signed a new deal that better reflects his value for the Nets. But it differs from traditional deals in a way that could significantly alter the way NBA players receive compensation. 

Career overview

Dinwiddie played his college basketball at the University of Colorado before the Detroit Pistons selected him in the second round of the 2014 NBA Draft. Up until this point in his NBA career, the point guard has put up the following numbers

  • 11 points per game
  • 2.6 rebounds per game
  • 4.5 assists per game
  • 40.8% on field goals
  • 32.3% on three-pointers
  • 80.1% on free throws
  • 13.5 win shares
  • 14.7 Player Efficiency Rating (PER)

Dinwiddie’s production has slowly increased each season of his career. His first breakout year was the 2017-2018 season, when he played in 80 games for the Nets, started 58, and averaged 12.6 points per game and 6.6 assists per game. 

Last season his production increased even more. While he only started four games and played in 68, he averaged 16.6 points per game off the bench for a promising Nets team. 

Now that he’s been joined by Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant (once Durant recovers from his Achilles injury), look for Dinwiddie to have even more opportunities to improve. His scoring totals may stagnate, but his assists should shoot way up. 

Dinwiddie’s emergence as an impact player led the Nets to reward him with a new contract in the offseason. 

Spencer Dinwiddie’s new contract

In Dinwiddie’s last three season as a Net, he made around $726,000 in his first year, $1.5 million in his second, and $1.6 million in his third. With his new contract he agreed to last year, he was set to make $10 million, $11 million, and $12 million over the next three seasons. Dinwiddie has a player option for the 2021-2022 season. 

Dinwiddie’s new deal rewards him handsomely for the player he’s evolved into. But it’s different than your run of the mill NBA free-agent contract. Dinwiddie’s structured his contract in a very forward-thinking way. 

How Spencer Dinwiddie is changing the game of NBA contracts

Looking to parlay his deal into something more, Dinwiddie isn’t just standing pat with his money. He’s attempting to leverage it into something far greater, that may pay off much more — for investors, at least — than what the deal was worth initially. Sports Illustrated reported on exactly what the guard plans to do with his money:  

“Nets sixth man Spencer Dinwiddie is in the process of converting his contract so it can be used as a digital investment tool, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports…By converting it to be used as an investment vehicle, Dinwiddie will receive a lump sum upfront that will likely be less than the total amount of the deal. According to Charania, Dinwiddie’s plan is to start his own company to securitize his deal as a digital token. Dinwiddie would pay investors back principle and interest.” 

SI reported that former Texans running back Arian Foster attempted a similar play a few years ago that didn’t quite work out the way Foster had hoped. 

The point of deals such as this is to ensure the player can optimize their earnings upfront to safeguard them against future injury or some other type of disruption with their ability to earn. It gives people the ability to essentially invest in the future of an athlete. It essentially commoditizes the players, but in a way in which the player can maximize the financial benefit to them. 

It’s an interesting move. In an era in which players are becoming more independent and optimizing their value, it’s a savvy way to protect themselves. Time will tell if his gamble on himself pays off.