NBA Free Agents 2013: Brandon Jennings And Top Guards Still Up for Grabs
Brandon Jennings is currently without a home for the upcoming NBA season, but he’s arguably the top guard remaining on the free-agent market.
Does that mean that Jennings will be the next guard to sign? Not necessarily, but it shouldn’t be long until we know which team Jennings will be taking the court for in 2013-14. As a restricted free agent, there’s a strong chance that he returns to Milwaukee for his fifth season with the Bucks.
Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports reported on July 2 that representatives for Jennings presented the Bucks with an amount that he would accept to return for next year. Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times reported that the point guard is seeking $12 million per season from the Bucks and that Milwaukee may cave and pay him.
It may seem that $12 million is little much for Jennings, but he is capable of scoring at least 17 points and totaling six-plus assists on any given night. The Bucks can either give the point guard what he wants now or wait to see if his asking price drops in the coming days and, possibly, weeks.
Aside from Jennings, who are the big-name guards who are still looking to sign on the dotted line this summer? Here’s a look at the top three guards left on the market, including recaps from the 2012-13 season and news on where they may be headed.
Jeff Teague, Point Guard
Jeff Teague is a restricted free agent, meaning that the Hawks control his destiny, but it doesn’t appear that the point guard wants to return to Atlanta next season. Spears reports that the people representing Teague aren’t very happy with the lack of substantial contract talks:
ATL G Jeff Teague's camp has"growing frustation" in how his free agency has been handled with zero meaningful contract discussions, Y!source— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 6, 2013
Teague averaged 14.6 points and 7.2 assists per game last year with the Hawks, his fourth with the organization. His production on the floor has improved with each additional year of experience, and he’s still getting better. Teague is more than capable of scoring 16-plus points with eight assists per night.
If the Hawks aren’t going to keep Teague for next season, the Bucks are a potential landing spot for him. Marc Stein of ESPN reports that there’s a scenario where Atlanta and Milwaukee could swap Jennings and Teague in a sign-and-trade, and the next player on this list would end up with the Kings.
Monta Ellis, Guard
Is Monta Ellis bound for Sacramento? It appears the Kings have the best shot at landing the versatile guard. Spears reports that the Kings have been talking with Ellis and the negotiations have been “aggressive.” When talks are “aggressive” that deal usually gets done relatively quickly.
Kings' contract talks with Bucks free agent guard Monta Ellis have been described as "aggressive," a source told Y! Sports.— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 8, 2013
Ellis is an unrestricted free agent, so he can sign with whichever team he chooses and doesn’t have to worry about the Bucks matching an offer sheet. The guard has spent the last one-plus years with Milwaukee, averaging 19.2 points and six assists per game this past season.
The Kings selected Ben McLemore with the seventh pick in the draft; so one would assume that the organization would likely play Ellis at the point, should the deal get completed. Tyreke Evans was recently traded, leaving Isaiah Thomas as the best point guard on the roster. Ellis would definitely get the starting nod over Thomas.
Nate Robinson, Point Guard
Nate Robinson isn’t crazy for seeking a contract that satisfies what he sees as fair. This is a guy who took over for Derrick Rose on the Bulls last season and had a career year. In 82 games he averaged 13.1 points and 4.4 assists per game. He averaged 16.3 points per game in the postseason.
The point guard’s future with Chicago isn’t very clear, though. Alex Kennedy of USA Today reports that the Bulls offered Robinson the minimum, but he’s seeking a multi-year deal for much more money.
Chicago contacted Nate Robinson and offered the minimum, per a source. He's searching for a more lucrative multi-year deal after big season.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) July 4, 2013
In reality, Robinson is a top backup point guard who could start for a few teams. Chicago would be smart to pay the man.
The Bulls need to make sure that they have a consistent player to back up Rose next season in case he needs a little bit of time to get back into the swing of things. It doesn’t appear that Marquis Teague—who shot 38.1 percent from the field and 17.4 percent from downtown—is ready to play a major role in the rotation.
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