With the 2013 NBA free agency period into it’s third week, one of the remaining question marks continues to be the future of Milwaukee Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings, especially with many of the other top free agents on the market have been accounted for. Dwight Howard chose the Houston Rockets. Chris Paul re-signed with the Los Angeles Clippers, as expected. Josh Smith took his talents to the struggling Detroit Pistons for a buckets of cash (for a four-year, $56 million contract, who can blame him?). Even Monta Ellis — who left $11 million and a three-year extension on the table to become unrestricted — has found a home with the Dallas Mavericks for three years, $25 million.
With all the movement slowing down one would assume the market for Jennings would pick up, but that necessarily been the case. Milwaukee extended an offer sheet to Atlanta Hawks PG Jeff Teague, only to have Atlanta match the offer sheet and retain their young lead guard and leaving the Bucks stuck to figure out what to do with Jennings.
The most glaring difference between Teague and Jennings are their shooting percentages; Jennings shot .399 from the field while Teague converted .456 of his shot attempts. But to Jennings credit, his 16.1 Player Efficiency Rating (PER) is comparable to Teague’s 16.8.
Jennings isn’t a bad point guard, per say. While Jennings shot selection and the percentage he makes of those shots may not be appealing (.394 for his career), Jennings does have a world of talent. He’s a career .354 shooter from three-point range, has averaged 17 points and 5.7 assists in four seasons, is lightning quick and is more competitive than he gets credit for. So the question isn’t whether or not he can play, but more if he’s worth the money that he’s seeking.
It has been reported that Jennings is seeking a contract in the $12-million range but his desires may be far-fetched, given the annual amounts that more established point guards have received lately. Milwaukee was willing to pony up $32 million over four years for Teague, with the upper-echelon point guards of their draft class securing contracts in the $10-12 million range (Steph Curry’s extension averages $11 mil per, Ty Lawson’s $12 mil and Jrue Holiday’s deal averaging a little over $10 mil per season).
Rumor has it that Jennings is no longer be interested in playing foe Milwaukee, so the two sides may be best served to part ways. In order to make that happen, Jennings will have to lower his expectations to a more realistic level to give the Bucks some sign-and-trade options.
Jennings may find himself playing in Milwaukee for his $4.5 mil qualifying offer in order to hit the open market next summer, when teams like the Los Angeles Lakers — Jennings hometown team — will have a ton of cap space and looking for a young point guard rather than locking himself into a long-term deal with a team he doesn’t want to be with.