Report: Brandon Jennings has ‘strongly considered’ playing for the qualifying offer next season

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The situation Brandon Jennings and the Bucks find themselves in at this late stage of free agency is somewhat fascinating.

The short story is that Jennings is a restricted free agent, meaning the Bucks can (and have said they would) match any offer he receives from another team. No team has reached out to Jennings with an offer sheet, however, so as is often the case, the mere threat that a team will match prevents any offers from getting extended in the first place.

Jennings and the Bucks are reportedly several million dollars apart on a new deal, with Jennings believing his value is in the $12 million per year range, while the team is thinking more like $8 million. And neither side appears all that eager to budge.

With that being said, what follows makes a little bit of sense — but only in the event that Jennings can show dramatic improvement next season in order to increase his free agent value.

From Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld:

Bucks sources were adamant that re-signing Jennings was something they were very open to doing, but it has to be at a price that works for them.

Sources close to the process say Jennings has strongly considered picking up his Qualifying Offer and hitting unrestricted free agency next year.

If Jennings goes the “pick up the option” route he effectively gains a no-trade clause, as the Collective Bargaining Agreement does not allow for his Bird rights to be transferred if he picks up the option year, which gives him the right to veto any trade.

That would be a pretty big risk on Jennings’ part, but it stems from the fact that he’s always believed he was a little bit better than he’s actually shown to this point in his NBA career, at least on a consistent basis.

The effective no-trade clause part is interesting, because very few players in the league have those built into their deals. But is it worth playing another year for $4.5 million, and passing up guaranteed dollars that could be in the $32 million or more range if Jennings were to re-sign with the Bucks at their price?

That’s the decision Jennings is currently wrestling with.

Watch Hassan Whiteside beat the Pistons at the buzzer with tip-in (VIDEO)

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The Miami Heat took until the final moments on Tuesday night to beat the Detroit Pistons, but it was worth it. With just a handful of games left to play, the Heat need to stave off the Chicago Bulls for the final spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Thanks to a tip at the buzzer by Hassan Whiteside, they’re one step closer to achieving that goal.

The play came with just seconds left in the fourth quarter. James Johnson missed a shot with six seconds to go, and the Heat grabbed the rebound. Goran Dragic then tried his hand, but he couldn’t get it to go, either.

That’s when Whiteside came back with a tip at the buzzer that ended the game.

Via Twitter:

Miami now sits at 36-38, a game above the Bulls for the No. 8 seed.

Whiteside, meanwhile, is never going to wash that hand again:

Kobe Bryant says LeBron James has earned the right to take a rest (VIDEO)

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Former Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant was a pretty consistent player in the NBA. Save for his final injury-laden seasons and the lockout year of 2011-12, Bryant played in no fewer than 65 regular season games in a single season.

Coaches also had no reason or want to ask Bryant — a notorious worker — to sit out in order to rest. That wasn’t really on the menu, and Bryant knew that.

Speaking to ESPN’s First Take, Bryant said no coach really asked him to ever take a rest, “I’ve never been approached by a coach and asked to rest.”

Bryant remarked that he took queues from Michael Jordan during tough stretches of the season — back-to-backs or four games in five night scenarios — where he could switch his game up, floating from perimeter to post, in order to save energy during those matchups.

Bryant also said during the same interview that he understands the complexity of the modern game, and that players like LeBron James deserve to take a rest if they’ve earned it.

“LeBron has done so much for the game. He’s earned the opportunity to take a rest,” said Bryant.

The debate on this subject will continue, it seems.

Phil Jackson’s reaction to Kristaps Porzingis getting turned upside down feels about right

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New York Knicks big man Kristaps Porzingis is the future of the franchise, so any time he’s upended and nearly lands on his noggin it’s a cause for concern. To say the least.

That’s what happened on Monday night, as Porzingis got turned upside down during a play near the basket during a game against the Detroit Pistons.

Porzingis was OK on the play, and Detroit big man Andre Drummond did his best to help catch him so nothing too scary happened.

Still, Knicks president Phil Jackson had a pretty hilarious reaction to the whole thing. I guess that’s what happens when you watch your basketball life flash before your eyes.

Porzingis was unhurt and played a full 37 minutes. New York beat Detroit, 109-95.

Jimmy Butler won’t pick LeBron over Durant as toughest matchup in NBA, and for good reason

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Chicago Bulls star Jimmy Butler is a smart dude. He’s spent years of offseason work turning himself into a max-level player, and that shows he knows not only how to work but how to attack the game of basketball.

He’s also smart enough to know he shouldn’t go poking the bear when it comes to two future Hall of Fame players in LeBron James and Kevin Durant.

When asked whether the Cleveland Cavaliers star or the Golden State Warriors scorer was the toughest matchup in the NBA, Butler made sure he wasn’t adding any kind of blackboard material to rile up either player.

Via Twitter:

The best way to defend LeBron or Durant: don’t make them angry.

Smart move, Jimmy.