Milwaukee Bucks Have No Choice but to Cut the Cord with Brandon Jennings
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Four seasons into his NBA career, Milwaukee Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings has shown that he's a pretty talented player. However, he's also demonstrated a lack of maturity and has proven to be a bit of a headcase.
It's for that latter reason that the Bucks have no choice but to part ways with the former lottery pick.
And heading into the offseason, Jennings will be just one of the issues the Bucks have to address, as Monta Ellis and J.J. Redick both could become unrestricted free agents.
As for Jennings, he has a qualifying offer of $4.3 million this offseason, but will likely seek more money elsewhere.
If the Bucks are smart, they'll let Jennings do so.
It all started back in February 2012 when Jennings fired his agent and told the world that he would explore all of his options—including checking out big-market teams—when his rookie contract came to an end (via ESPN).
Since then, it seems as if Jennings has been trying to position himself into a spot that will allow him to get out of Milwaukee and into a bigger market.
After he announced that he would be doing his "homework" on big-market teams, Jennings continued to publicly announce his desire to leave Milwaukee.
“Yeah, of course,” Jennings said when asked if he could see himself fitting in Dallas. “Who wouldn’t want to play in an environment like this every night?
“You’ve got an owner [Mark Cuban] who’s so into his team. Every time you see the Mavs, you see him cheering or going crazy. They won a championship. They’re about winning.”
Not only that, but at the start of March, Jennings applied some more pressure to the front office in Milwaukee.
In what came across as a very threatening message, he stated that if he did sign the qualifying offer of $4.3 million for the 2013-14 season, his stay with the Bucks would only last one more season, guaranteed (via Yahoo Sports).
Keep in mind, this is a guy that turned down a four-year, $40 million contract prior to the start of this season. For those not strong in math, that's $10 million a year.
For someone averaging 17.7 points, 6.7 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game on just 39.8 percent shooting, that's a contract that most would consider fair.
The above shot chart (via NBA.com) shows that Jennings utilizes his quickness and gets to the basket a lot. What it also shows is that when he does get within eight feet of the hoop, he finishes at a 42.3 percent rate.
That's below the league average and nothing to be proud of.
For comparison's sake, Ellis finishes 54.5 percent of his shots from the same range. That number isn't great, but comparable to the league average.
And for someone that can get by his defender and to the rim as easily as Jennings can, his field-goal percentage around the basket needs to be much better.
If Jennings and his agent can convince someone to pay him more than $10 million a year, more power to them. But if the front office is smart, it won't be the Bucks.
Had Jennings displayed a different demeanor this season, maybe things would be different and he'd have a place in Milwaukee's future. But with his attitude and disrespect to those around him, it's hard to justify giving him an extension.
Those examples of disrespect are plentiful, too.
Several weeks ago, Jennings was held scoreless in a 100-92 loss against the Philadelphia 76ers. In that loss, he was benched during the fourth quarter.
After the game, he made sure to let the media know he wasn't happy about it (via ESPN):
"I don't see any All-Stars in this locker room," Jennings said.
Jennings was held scoreless for the first time in 281 career games, missing all three of his shots while playing just 17 minutes against the 76ers. It marked the second rough game in less than a week for Jennings, who scored four points on 1-of-15 shooting in a loss to the Indiana Pacers on Friday.
"I think that everyone should be held accountable," Jennings said. "There's no maxed-out players in this locker room. So don't try to put me on a pedestal and just give everyone else the freedom to do whatever they want."
Jennings said he feels he is being singled out by Boylan.
"Of course," Jennings told the Milwaukee-Journal Sentinel. "This is the third time this has happened. We had a sluggish start but we still had a chance to win it. It was there for us to take."
Do you think Brandon Jennings will be wearing a Milwaukee Bucks jersey next season?
Some might call it being honest, but a leader doesn't make those kind of comments during a crucial part of the season.
Like everyone who makes a stupid statement on Twitter, Jennings deleted the tweet shortly after posting it, but as we all know, nothing on the Internet is truly gone when you erase it.
At this point, it's hard to see the Bucks writing Jennings a check for the amount that he's demanding, especially after how things have gone recently.
However, it's not far-fetched to think that management will cut ties with Boylan and give Jennings what he wants, seeing as the organization hasn't always operated sensibly.
There's also the possibility that—given his hunger for power—Jennings will sign the qualifying offer and hold the Bucks hostage for one more season.
In the end though, neither of those scenarios is likely.
Jennings will probably get more than $4.3 million thrown his way by some other team this offseason. From there, it's just a matter of waiting to see if the Bucks will match or let him walk.
For the organization to move forward, they must do the latter.
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