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Home » NBA free agency: Spencer Dinwiddie interested in going home to Los Angeles as a free agent, per report

NBA free agency: Spencer Dinwiddie interested in going home to Los Angeles as a free agent, per report

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Spencer Dinwiddie declined the player option on his contract with the Brooklyn Nets, and while free agency is still more than a month away, a return to his former team appears unlikely. The Nets already have two star guards in Kyrie Irving and James Harden, and they are set to field one of the most expensive rosters in basketball even before possibly re-signing some of their own free agents. So if a return to Brooklyn isn’t in the cards, where could the veteran free agent land? 

Two forces driving Dinwiddie’s decision, according to The New York Daily News’ Kristian Winfield. The first is fairly common: Dinwiddie “wants the bag,” according to Winfield, so money will definitely play a part in the proceedings. Beyond cash, though, Dinwiddie also reportedly would like to go home to Los Angeles, if possible. 

Dinwiddie grew up in Los Angeles and spent the season rehabbing from his partially torn ACL there. He has never played an NBA game for either the Lakers or the Clippers, but you would have to imagine both teams would be interested. Three key Laker guards — Dennis Schroder, Alex Caruso and Talen Horton-Tucker — are all free agents this offseason. Same goes for pivotal Clippers ball-handlers Reggie Jackson and Nicolas Batum

The primary obstacle to an agreement would seemingly be finances. Both the Lakers and the Clippers project to be well above the salary cap this offseason and likely deep into the luxury tax as well. That means they probably won’t have the financial resources available to sign Dinwiddie outright. They could offer him a big contract through a sign-and-trade or try to convince him to take less than he is worth through the non-taxpayer mid-level exception, but both maneuvers would place a hard cap on their spending that would likely be untenable given the rest of their rosters. Realistically, both teams are going to be confined to the taxpayer mid-level exception, which topped out at three years and around $18.5 million this season. Dinwiddie is worth far more than that. 

The Lakers or Clippers could commit to staying below the hard cap as both did this season. That would allow them to sign Dinwiddie with the non-taxpayer mid-level exception or acquire him through a sign and trade. But as it stands right now, the Lakers project to have only around $20 million in wiggle room beneath that line if Montrezl Harrell opts in. Signing Dinwiddie while retaining any of their own free agents and filling out the roster would be enormously difficult. The Clippers would have an even harder time doing it. If you assume Kawhi Leonard re-signs for the max and Serge Ibaka accepts his player option, they are already over the projected hard cap figure. They’d have to dump salary just to give themselves the chance to trigger it. It would be far easier for both teams to focus on retaining their own players and adding external talent on smaller free agent deals and through trades. 

But never say never in the NBA. If Dinwiddie wants to get to Los Angeles badly enough, there is always a way to do so. He was nearly an All-Star during the 2019-20 season, so both the Lakers and Clippers would likely be interested if he is willing to compromise. 

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