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Cross one off: Spencer Dinwiddie extends with the Nets

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One potential Suns point guard target inked a three-year extension with the Nets.

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Phoenix Suns Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

While the Nets remain in asset collection mode as they rebuild under young general manager Sean Marks, the Suns can scratch one Brooklyn point guard off their list in the team’s quest to find its starting playmaker. The Nets announced Thursday they signed guard Spencer Dinwiddie to a three-year, $34 million extension.

Brooklyn could stay involved in ongoing talks centered around Trevor Ariza as a facilitating team, offering D’Angelo Russell (a friend of Devin Booker’s who shares his agent) in return for a young player or pick. But Dinwiddie was the better option on the roster. The Nets knew this and decided not to extend Russell this fall then turning right to Dinwiddie with a new deal.

Dinwiddie has been Russell’s backup most of the year, but the two play together as well. The former Pistons second-round pick has the size at 6’6” to play alongside smaller guards and defend wings. He is shooting 24.2 percent usage rate and 60 percent true shooting shows he has developed into an elite scoring guard to pair with positional size on defense.

The Nets made a great deal, locking up a young player who could develop into an above-average starter on a contract that will pay him like a backup.

For the Suns, this means one less young player is available in trade. The team is walking the tightrope between veteran stopgap and a new member of #TheTimeline and hasn’t zeroed in on anyone specific yet. The Nets always made sense because of their need to restock their draft pick collection and choose between the two guards.

Brooklyn seemingly made its choice this week by extending Dinwiddie, who will have a player option before the 2021-22 season. This summer, Russell will carry a $21 million cap hold. If the Nets see themselves as a potential spender, they could quickly renounce Russell and give up their advantage in re-signing him.

That’s if they even keep him. Now, Russell becomes one of the most interesting young players who could enter the trade market ahead of February’s trade deadline, already just seven weeks away.

In making their own tough decision, Brooklyn made the Suns’ search for a point guard a little harder.