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.
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.