NBA PM: The Brandon Jennings Situation
Brandon Jennings made headlines recently with his comments surrounding his failure to reach an agreement with the Milwaukee Bucks on a contract extension, but before we get too carried away let’s make sure things are in perspective.
“Now I guess I’m kind of auditioning for other teams,” Jennings said of the situation.
There’s no denying that’s true, but don’t take it to mean that Jennings is not on the Bucks’ long-term plans.
First of all, since the Collective Bargaining Agreement of 1999 created restricted free agency, there have been 262 restricted free agents, and of those 78 percent have returned to their teams. The simple fact is that the Bucks can offer Jennings 7.5 percent raises and a five-year deal, while teams that would sign him to an offer sheet next summer can only offer him 4.5 percent raises and four years. Of course, if a team signs Jennings to an offer sheet with 4.5 percent raises over four years, the Bucks can actually come out ahead by matching that offer rather than structuring a deal of their own with bigger raises and an extra season.
The next thing to be considered is the Bucks’ commitment to Jennings, and HOOPSWORLD has learned that the commitment is very real. There is no plan to trade Jennings or even gauge his market value, as he is seen as the long-term solution and a firm foundation around which to build in Milwaukee.
The simple fact is that Jennings’ agent, Bill Duffy, came with a bigger offer than the Bucks were willing to consider, and while Milwaukee put a few smaller offers on the table and other numbers were discussed in relation to other, similar, players, no agreement was reached.
The Bucks would like nothing better than for Jennings to go out and prove that he is a max contract type of player. He’s off to a good start after earning Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors for the first week of the new season. He led the league in assists (13.0 apg) and paced the conference in steals (4.0 spg), while finishing third on the team in scoring (17.0 ppg). He recorded point/assist double-doubles in consecutive games for the second time in his career, hitting a game-winning three-pointer against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Nov. 3. His 13 assists in each game tied his career high.
Make no mistake, the Bucks have no intention of moving on without Jennings or trading him or any other such scenario. They simply plan to let him set his value this season and then work out a deal accordingly.
The Best Backcourt In The NBA?
Before the start of the 2012-13 NBA season, it was widely assumed that the best backcourt in the NBA would belong to the Los Angeles Lakers, who field two first-ballot NBA Hall of Famers in Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant. That may be the case before the season is over, but in the early going that distinction belongs to another team. So far, with a nod to Houston, the duo of Darren Collison and OJ Mayo in Dallas looks like the most lethal backcourt combination in the league. They outplayed LA’s duo in opening night action and have led the Mavericks to a 2-1 record even as All-Star Dirk Nowitzki sits following knee surgery. Mayo talks with HOOPSWORLD about his relationship with Collison and why it’s so key, his surprise at the news that Eddy Curry was waived, the state of the Mavericks and more in this exclusive interview:
The Legacy Of David Stern
There’s little doubt that when David Stern steps down as the commissioner of the NBA next season that he will do so as the indisputable best professional sports commissioner of all time. He took a league that was barely a blip on the American entertainment radar and helped grow it into one of the most popular sports entities on the entire planet. In a recent interview with ESPN 98.7 in New York, Stern said his decision to retire as the NBA’s commissioner had a lot to do with the 30-year anniversary of his accepting the position.
“I think that I had decided in my mind there came a time to announce when I would be leaving the NBA as commissioner,” said Stern. “I picked the date that happened to be the date where I would be 30 years as commissioner. It seemed to be a nice, round number. On the 30th anniversary of Feb. 1, 1984, when I became commissioner, that is when I will step down. It’s that simple. I had to pick a date and I honestly felt the game was in as good of a condition than it has been for awhile. We’ve been through all kinds of struggles the last few years of a different nature. We are poised to have explosive growth nationally, explosive growth internationally, and a new television contract. We’ve got record renewals from our fans and renewed interests from our sponsors and there’s somebody here by the name of Adam Silver, who’s been a deputy commissioner that has worked with me for 20 years and is going to do a better job than I can. So why not? Let’s do it all. We have a world-class executive in the wings and let him have some fun with it.”
One thing that has Stern excited about the new NBA season is the budding rivalry between the New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets, which he sees as something of a battle for the hearts and minds of New Yorkers.
“I have a little bit of a different take on it,” said Stern. “If you put up a wall between Brooklyn and Manhattan, you’d still have a city that is top 10, maybe top five, in the NBA called Brooklyn, where there’s access even more into the island. So I think there is going to be a tremendous [situation]. … I grew up as a New York Giant fan. I never set foot in Ebbets Field. Why would I go into the enemy’s territory? Occasionally Yankees Stadium. I lived in Manhattan, but Brooklyn was a foreign country to me because it housed those horrible Dodgers. I think that the competition level is going to be wonderful for fans and I am not sure about the hearts and minds, which we’ll see. I think there’s a whole group of current fans and also non-NBA fans that is really looking at this as a renaissance for Brooklyn. Now we’ve got a billion-dollar building in Brooklyn and a … brand new Garden in New York and these guys are going to go at it for the hearts and minds of New Yorkers. I think it’s great and it’s only going to propel the league to better situations.”
Stern has, at times, been a divisive figure among NBA fans, and some will welcome the day that he retires. Stern accepts that, but also points out that the league is in a much better place today for his leadership.
“I think if you do something with your heart and soul for 30 years, you are not going to please everyone,” said Stern. “Actually, the people who I am negotiating with during all those lockouts have been the primary beneficiaries of the last 30 years. When I started, players salaries were somewhere in the neighborhood of a quarter of a million dollars. I’m proud to say this season they will be over $5 million. We’ve had quite a run together. Now, along the way you have to stop and argue about splitting up the pie and then you get together to agree to grow it again, but these last negotiations were a huge and important issue for our league. We now have the opportunity, finally, for a system that has both revenue sharing and a collective bargaining agreement that will allow our teams the opportunity to be competitive and profitable, if and only if they are well managed. To me, maybe I have rubbed some people the wrong way along the way and people can be justifiably harsh to me about that, but I think the people, who I ultimately serve, who are the fans, the players and the owners, are in a much better place than they were before when I took over.”
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