Since Luke Ridnour returned to Milwaukee, the writing was on the wall for Brandon Jennings.
I kid. I kid.
News is Jennings goes to Detroit and gets a 3-year deal worth 24 million in exchange for Brandon Knight. I’ve been completely baffled by almost everything both Detroit and Milwaukee have done in the last five years or so. So this really makes a ton of sense to me.
Lock up a starting point guard who has shot over 40% from the field once in his four-year career thus far to run with another suspect shooter in Josh Smith and you’ve got some interesting acquisitions for the Pistons this offseason.
Before the Ricky Rubio comments start up, let’s just note that Jennings shoots first, second, third and averages under 6 assists a game before we get all worked up about percentages. There are shoot-first and pass-first point guards… so there.
Anyway, Asch has a good rundown of the Jennings situation…
As a restricted free agent from the Milwaukee Bucks, he had strained for more than a year at the leash holding him to that club. Jennings previously talked fondly of bigger markets and then sent max-salary shots across the Bucks’ bow as his semi-freedom approached, a not-so-subtle way of discouraging them from flexing their matching rights.
Unfortunately for Jennings, when he hit the marketplace, the marketplace hit back. It was bad enough that others, including his self-absorbed backcourt mate Monta Ellis, found jobs and millions; it was worse when Jennings’ own team, the Bucks, tried to procure his replacement, Atlanta’s Jeff Teague, with a four-year, $32 million offer sheet it wasn’t willing to give Jennings. The Hawks matched but the message was clear – Jennings’ business with the Bucks had festered into something other than mere leverage.
So his options were few, barring a philosophical change by Milwuakee. Jennings could sign the one-year, $4.5 million qualifying offer with the Bucks and try again next July. In theory, that might have made sense: A motivated player, his team benefiting as he hoists his market value.
But anyone familiar with the Bucks’ situation and locker room knew that scenario would be rife with pitfalls. A sensitive lad, a little light on the maturity scale, Jennings could end up playing self-consciously and, thus, unnaturally. It wouldn’t guarantee that his game – high energy but shoot first, with too many shaky finishes at the rim and a laissez-faire defensive attitude – would budge a bit from the plateau on which it has settled. And an agitated Jennings wouldn’t help a locker room mood hoping for some addition-by-subtraction (Ellis,Samuel Dalembert).