NBA Rules Nets' Spencer Dinwiddie Can't Convert Contract into Digital Investment

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorSeptember 27, 2019

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 11: Spencer Dinwiddie attends the Annual Charity Day Hosted By Cantor Fitzgerald, BGC and GFI on September 11, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald)
Noam Galai/Getty Images

The NBA will not allow Brooklyn Nets point guard Spencer Dinwiddie to convert his three-year, $34.4 million contract extension into a digital investment, per Marc Stein of the New York Times.

The NBA told Stein that "the described arrangement is prohibited" in league rules and that the CBA states "no player shall assign or otherwise transfer to any third party his right to receive compensation from the team under his uniform player contract."

Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic, who broke the news of Dinwiddie's plans, explained the process behind the torpedoed idea:

"The project will be backed by Dinwiddie's three-year, $34.36 million contract extension and will bring him an upfront lump payment.

"In a secured investment vehicle such as this one, the borrower gives up some future income in return for a smaller lump sum payment. But the borrower, in this case Dinwiddie, then has more money to immediately invest than he otherwise would. A token is a digital currency term. The bond exists in the digital currency world. Instead of buying the bond from a broker, it is through a token.

"For Dinwiddie and his investors, the prime appreciation is designed to come during his player option season in 2021. Dinwiddie has a player option worth $12.3 million for the 2021-22 season. By opting out and earning more, it will, of course, create a major return for him β€” but also investors."

Dinwiddie agreed to the three-year extension with the Nets in December. The deal could keep him under contract through 2021-22.

Dinwiddie told The Athletic:

"What better way to be invested in a player as a fan than to have some level of skin in the game. With the way mine works, if I play well in that player option year and we split the profits up the first year of my new deal, it greatly appreciates the return on this investment vehicle. It allows you to get up in that 15-percent range in a return, like a growth stock, and that'll be something most guys won't beat."

Other athletes have tried similar tacks in the past.

Per Eric Chemi and Jessica Golden of CNBC, Houston Texans running back Arian Foster did so in 2013 through Fantex, which also worked with Washington Redskins tight end Vernon Davis, Philadelphia Eagles wideout Alshon Jeffery and ex-NFL signal-caller EJ Manuel.

As for Dinwiddie, this hasn't been his only notable investment. As he told Leo Sepkowitz of Bleacher Report in October, Dinwiddie invested in bitcoin and Tron.

"Dinwiddie reads everything he can on the crypto market and crypto tech," Sepkowitz wrote. "His early success felt like easy money, so he began to wonder how to make moreβ€”or whether to leave ahead."

"When you realize you don't have the answers," Dinwiddie told Sepkowitz, "you decide you need to learn."

Dinwiddie also said he brings crypto literature with him on road trips.

On the court, Dinwiddie is coming off a successful season in which he helped the Nets to a 42-40 finish and surprising playoff appearance. The 26-year-old averaged a career-high 16.8 points per game.