The wait is over, restricted free agent Brandon Jennings obviously wasn’t going to come to terms with the Milwaukee Bucks, so the parties agreed to a sign and trade deal with Detroit as reported earlier by TNT Analyst David Aldridge on NBA.com.
“The Milwaukee Bucks agreed to a sign-and-trade deal with the Detroit Pistons to send Jennings there in exchange for guard Brandon Knight and forwards Khris Middleton and Slava Kravtsov. Jennings will get a three-year, $24 million contract from Detroit.”
Without the deal, a disgruntled Jennings would have been left with little choice but to take the $4.5 million qualifying offer from Milwaukee and wait for next season to become an unrestricted free agent.
It was rumored Jennings had been holding out for a $12 million per year contract from the Bucks and the lack of offers from other teams had put both parties in a tenuous situation. The Pistons needed a new starting point guard after free agent Jose Calderon signed a four-year contract with Dallas, so a deal with the Bucks was struck.
The 10th overall pick in 2009, Jennings had an amazing rookie season. He scored 55 points in just his 7th NBA game and averaged 15.5 points and 5.7 assists as a rookie. He also shot 37.1 percent from the field and Jennings still owns that volume shooter reputation to this day. It’s hard to say how much Jennings has actually improved over his four NBA seasons. His career averages of 17 points on 39.4 percent from the field to go with 5.7 assists seem to be a fair representation of what to expect in the future.
Since the Pistons made the move to ship out three young controllable players for Jennings, they must have wanted to add a different shoot-first point guard to the roster. How this will work with a team built around Josh Smith, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond is to be determined. Maybe the newly re-acquired Chauncey Billups can mentor the 23-year-old Jennings?
While the Pistons may have become disillusioned with running combo-guard Knight at the point, he does represent a much cheaper version of Jennings for the Bucks to utilize in basically the same role and expect similar results. Knight shoots slightly better and picks up fewer assists, but his $2.7 million salary this season plus his $3.5 million team option next year is significantly less than Detroit will be paying Jennings per year. It’s not hard to see how Milwaukee agreed to this deal.
Middleton is a second round pick from 2012 who only played in 27 games last season and Kravtsov is a 25-year-old center from the Ukraine who has played 224 minutes in the NBA. Neither players’ contract is guaranteed past this season.
Both Knight and Jennings will be getting a fresh start on a new team and will probably benefit from the change in scenery. However, other than the financial aspects of the trade, it is hard to see how either team’s situation has changed all that much.
Stephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre. A member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association, Stephen is the editor and publisher of Pro Bball Report.
You can follow Stephen on twitter @stevesraptors