Spencer Dinwiddie seems determined to disrupt the way the NBA conducts business around its player salaries and contracts. Last year, the Brooklyn Nets star devised a scheme that would allow fans to essentially purchase shares of his contract and theoretically earn percentage points on his future earning potential if/when the size of his salary increases.
The league shut that down last fall, however, claiming that it violates the terms of the collective bargaining agreement, which prohibits transferring rights to a third party to receive compensation from an NBA contract. But that hasn’t stopped Dinwiddie from hatching yet another unorthodox idea that would change the whole paradigm of how NBA players get paid and where they decide to play.
This week in a series of tweets, Dinwiddie laid out a plan to start a GoFundMe that would allow fans to decide where he signs his next contract if they can raise a certain amount of cryptocurrency. Here is Dinwiddie’s language from the campaign page:
I’m simply creating this GoFundMe as my commitment to my previous tweets. As of now 2625.8 BTC is roughly equivalent to $24,632,630 USD. If we hit the target then I will allow the fan base to determine my next team decision and sign a one year contract at that destination. If we do not hit the target goal then I will be donating 100% of this campaign to charity. Fan engagement comes in all shapes and sizes, lets have fun folks!
The general idea is that if the campaign reaches its target goal, he’ll let the fans decide which team he signs with after his current deal is up. Dinwiddie is under contract with the Nets through next season, but has a player option for the season after that. Hypothetically, he would sign with the team of the fans’ choosing for the league minimum, and presumably use the campaign money to recoup what he believes he would’ve earned on the open market in free agency.
If it sounds a little far-fetched and convoluted, well. then you’re not alone. Given the way the league reacted to his previous idea, he can surely anticipate more than a few roadblocks from all interested parties. For starters, it would have massive salary cap implications, which again, player contracts are a portion of the larger pie shared with the owners under the CBA, and getting the two sides to budge on even a couple of percentage is what led to the last lockout.
Dinwiddie is apparently proceeding under the rather idealistic notion that it would help “democratize” fandom by reducing the leverage of the individual franchises and transfer some of that power over to the people. Viewed through a particular lens, it’s the latest bold move by one of the league’s renegade thinkers. The NBA will likely see it another way, given the ripple effects it could cause across their various revenue streams.
And that’s not even taking into consideration that, if he presumably plans to pocket the $24 million from the campaign, which to be fair remains unclear if that indeed is the plan, that he’s essentially asking fans to foot the bill for his contract. It’s probably more than a little telling that he’s currently raised just $469 as of Friday night. America is currently experiencing its highest unemployment rate since the Great Depression, and many are struggling just to make ends meet. Funding a players’ salary is pretty low on the list of priorities right now.