Spencer Dinwiddie, Sean Marks Talk Brooklyn Nets Guard's New Deal

Two years ago, Spencer Dinwiddie got an opportunity in Brooklyn. On Friday, he made it his home, signing a contract extension that will keep him with the Nets.

"The best part about calling Brooklyn home is this city has accepted me," said Dinwiddie before Friday night's win over the Washington Wizards. "I'd like to say I identify with Brooklyn grit. You talk about the journey and the fight and the ruggedness that New York in general and Brooklyn specifically carries, I'd like to say that my role embodies that. It's a perfect synergy and match made in heaven. Obviously to now know that I'll be here for six years, I'm excited."

"I think Spencer has shown a terrific ability to improve, to develop, to be part of this culture, and then, it’s deserving," said Nets general manager Sean Marks. "It’s deserving from right now, and you want to reward a guy that has bought in entirely."

The reported three-year deal includes a player option for that third season. Dinwiddie was eligible for a four-year extension beginning last Saturday, Dec. 8. He said he didn't get too involved in the details as his representative Raymond Brothers negotiated with the Nets, and didn't even know that a deal was close before he torched the Philadelphia 76ers for a career-high 39 points on Wednesday night.

But clearly the terms were to his liking.

"Philosophically, I think the best thing about my deal is I get to, in terms of monetarily, I get to retire my parents," said Dinwiddie, "and then in terms of the year length, I think it was something that worked out for both sides and I'm just excited to be here and feel like I have a home."

For their part, Marks and the Nets had to make the decision to cut into next summer's potential salary cap space by making a deal with Dinwiddie for an extension rather than trying to sign him later in the summer when he was an unrestricted free agent.

"It was about weighing all those factors whether it’s what does the competition think of him and how do they weigh him and so forth," said Marks. "But it goes back to trying to keep one of our own guys here. Again, I give Spencer a lot of credit. He had to make that decision as well. Again, for him to say, ‘Hey, look, I don’t want to hit free agency. I’d like to be here. I want to be part of what everybody is building in Brooklyn.’ It starts with the players."

It's been a steady two-year ascension for Dinwiddie with the Nets, but a rocky road before he arrived in Brooklyn.

Everything was trending up when Dinwiddie earned Pac 12 First Team honors following his sophomore year at Colorado in 2012-13, but an ACL tear cut short his junior season. Dinwiddie declared for the NBA Draft anyway, and ended up a second-round pick, 38th overall by the Detroit Pistons. His two seasons in Detroit featured a total of 46 games played and ended with a trade to Chicago.

The Bulls cut him in training camp four months later. Three years after the future lay wide open, he was in limbo. He signed on to play for the Bulls' G League affiliate, the Windy City Bulls.

"I think the hardest part of the journey was the month or so between getting cut by Chicago and actually showing up to Windy City," said Dinwiddie. "It was a dead month. I just worked out and kind of waited. But you really reevaluate things. Obviously, the NBA has started and it’s going on and you’re not a part of it. Once you get to the G League and you start playing games and you’re playing well, that optimism returns. But before that, I would say that month or so of dead space was the hardest part of my basketball career besides being hurt."

It turned out a new opportunity wasn't far away. Just seven weeks after being cut by the Bulls -- and after playing just nine games in the G League that season -- Dinwiddie was signed by the Nets. Two years after the signing, Marks credits the front office's G League scouts and Long Island Nets front office of Trajan Langdon and Matt Riccardi for their scouting on Dinwiddie.

Marks had taken over as general manager less than a year before, and coach Kenny Atkinson was in his first season. Dinwiddie was a relatively early acquisition as they remade the roster, and two years later only three other Nets -- Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Caris LeVert, and Joe Harris -- have a longer tenure with the team.

After he averaged 7.3 points and 3.1 assists in 59 games in 2016-17, opportunity opened for Dinwiddie last season with injuries to Jeremy Lin and D'Angelo Russell. He started 58 games, knocked down a string of game-winners in January 2018, went to NBA All-Star Weekend and won the skills challenge, then was a finalist for the NBA's Most Improved Player award after averaging 12.6 points and 6.6 assists.

The opportunity and support Dinwiddie found in Brooklyn played a big part in his development, and his inclination to stay.

"All credit goes to them and the culture that they've developed, the organization that they've built, and the players they've put in that locker room," said Dinwiddie. "Just the overall tenor and the trajectory that we're on. We all believe in it. They also took a chance on me. That's not lost on me at all, and I really appreciate it."

And in 2018-19, Dinwiddie has taken it up a notch. He's averaging 17.2 points and 5.0 assists while shooting 47.7 percent overall and 36.4 from 3-point range. With Friday night's 27-point outing against Washington, he's scored 25 or more in Brooklyn's last three games, and over the last six is averaging 23.8 points and 5.2 assists, shooting 52.2 percent overall and 37.1 from 3-point range.

And everybody involved thinks Dinwiddie can keep climbing.

"We want more," said Atkinson. "I think that's the big thing. We want more, I think he wants more. I think the potential is kind of, there's no limit on it, because of how athletic he is, how big he is, how young he still is. I don't see why he can't keep trending upwards. He's got all the tools. There's nothing you say, 'Man, he doesn't have this, he doesn't have that.' I think his maturity and ability to read the game, as that improves, he's just going to keep going up."

"In terms of my growth and development, if you look at the minutes I've actually played in the NBA, it's far less than what a typical 25-year-old has played, so there's a lot of development to go there," said Dinwiddie. "In terms of mileage on my body, whatever it is, there's a lot more to go. In pretty much any aspect, no matter how you cut it, how you slice it there's a lot of room to go. Because of my work ethic, which I feel is second to none, looking to pushing those limits and seeing how far we can push this thing."