With Wednesday night’s deadline to extend rookie contracts rapidly approaching, go ahead and count Brandon Jennings among the players who will become restricted free agents when the season ends.
Brandon Jennings is not expected to receive a contract extension from the Bucks before Wednesday night’s deadline.
Discussions with multiple sources indicate the Bucks point guard will not have his rookie-scale contract extended. He would become a restricted free agent next July and the Bucks would have the right to match any contract offers by another team.
The reasons that Milwaukee might want to wait on locking up Jennings for big money now are fairly obvious. Jennings is extremely talented, but he has yet to prove he can perform offensively in an efficient manner or on a consistent basis. There’s All-Star potential there, which is likely part of the reason for the lack of an extension — Jennings is going to want close to those types of dollars, when he hasn’t necessarily shown he’s worth them just yet.
Then, of course, we have the part where Jennings has openly discussed wanting to play for a “big market team.” These were fairly harmless comments despite the screaming headlines at the time, but a franchise in Milwaukee wants to make sure its stars want to be there long-term. No one wants to be held hostage by trade demands, so this may have been another factor in the franchise deciding not to extend Jennings, however small.
Finally, after trading for Monta Ellis last season, the Bucks have somewhat of a duplication of duty now at the guard position. Both Jennings and Ellis prefer to carry the heavy lifting from a scoring perspective, and both like to play with the ball in their hands. Milwaukee may have decided to wait and see on Jennings in order to get a good look at what a full season of this backcourt experiment will look like, and then decide whether or not it was a success.