It was only a couple of days ago that the Milwaukee Bucks were rumored to be open to the idea of trading Brandon Jennings.
Not that teams would be lining up with offers, of course, considering that Jennings is a restricted free agent and they could just sign him to a larger offer sheet than the Bucks may have been willing to match.
But it was out there, and while Milwaukee will still likely listen to offers for any of its players, the team’s general manager John Hammond has come out and said that the intention now is to retain Jennings’ services.
Hammond said the team will be aggressive in trying to sign point guard Brandon Jennings to a long-term contract when free agency opens Monday. League teams are allowed to discuss contracts from Monday through July 10 when the moratorium ends and contracts can be signed.
“It’s our intention for Brandon Jennings to remain a Milwaukee Buck,” Hammond said. “We’re hoping to negotiate with him fairly through the July process.
“At the conclusion of our negotiations, if we have not reached a deal and they choose to go out and seek an opportunity in the open market, our intention then would still be to match.”
This is how rookie contracts work in the NBA, so Jennings does not have a choice where he will play next season if in fact the Bucks are willing to match any offer he receives. But if he isn’t happy in Milwaukee, or believes his value will be greater after another year, he only has to play for the Bucks for one more season.
Jennings could choose to forego a multi-year payday in favor of playing for the qualifying offer the Bucks made him of $4.3 million next season. After that, he would be an unrestricted free agent, with the ability to play anywhere he chooses.
Jennings averaged 17.5 points and 6.5 assists per game last season, but shot just 39.9 percent from the field. Some of that is due to the way the Bucks use him, but there’s definitely room for improvement in Jennings’ overall game.