Brandon Jennings Hasn't Been Presented Offer From Bucks By Agent
GERY WOELFEL firstname.lastname@example.org
Let’s just say Brandon Jennings isn’t losing any sleep over whether he’ll have his contract extended by the Milwaukee Bucks.
Under collective bargaining rules, Jennings, the young mercurial point guard, and the Bucks have until the end of the month to reach an agreement on an extension.
If the parties can’t reach an agreement, Jennings would become a restricted free agent next July. Under that scenario, Jennings would be able to entertain contract offers from any of the other 29 NBA teams.
While the Bucks could match any offer for Jennings and retain his services at that point, there is always the danger another team would offer Jennings a contract that would make it difficult for the Bucks to match.
Jennings has repeatedly said he’s content in Milwaukee and would welcome being with the Bucks for the long haul. Signing an extension would virtually assure that.
But Jennings said he isn’t the least bit worried if an extension can’t be worked out.
Asked if his contract situation was weighing on his mind, Jennings said, “No, because at the end of the day, everything will work out. All I can do is go between the lines and play basketball every day.’’
Jennings went so far as to say that he couldn’t remember the last time he and his agent, Bill Duffy, had talked specifically about a contract extension.
“I talked to him a couple of weeks ago, but it wasn’t about the contract,’’ Jennings said. “I can’t put my hand on what’s really going on (with contract talks). That’s why I just let my agent handle it.
“If anything happens, I’m sure he’ll text me and let me know and let me know what’s offered and then say, ‘It’s up to you.’ But I haven’t gotten that call yet.’’
The 23-year-old Jennings is entering his fourth NBA season after the Bucks made him the 10th overall selection in the 2009 draft. While Jennings’ defense has come under scrutiny, nobody can dispute growth as an offensive player.
His shooting percentage has gone up every season: 37 percent as a rookie, 39 percent in his second season and 42 percent last season.
His scoring average has also steadily increased. After averaging 15.5 points as a rookie, he averaged 16.2 his second season and a team-leading 19.1 last season.
Now the question is how much the Bucks are willing to pay him. Jennings will be paid $3.179 million this season. If he was to receive “max’’ money on an extension – which Duffy allegedly is pushing for – Jennings could collect more than $14 million per year for four seasons.
In an informal survey of four NBA officials — all of whom weren’t affiliated with the Bucks — none would come close to offering Jennings “max’’ money.
The most money any of the four officials said they would give Jennings is $11 million per season. The lowest was $9 million per year.
The scuttlebutt around the NBA is that Denver is willing to give their young point guard Ty Lawson a four-year, $45 million deal. Or, about $11.2 million per year.
So, what’s going rate for some the best point guards in the game? Well, Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers and Brooklyn’s Deron Williams will easily be the highest-paid point guards in the league this season: Paul at $17.7M and Williams at $17.1M.
Chicago’s Derrick Rose is guaranteed $16.4M, while Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook will collect $13.6M. San Antonio’s Tony Parker will earn $12.5M.
Some other point guards and their 2012-2013 season salaries: Boston’s Rajon Rondo ($11M), Toronto’s Jose Calderon ($10.5M), the Lakers’ Steve Nash ($8.9M), Utah’s Mo Williams ($8.5M), Atlanta’s Devin Harris ($8.5M) and Memphis’ Michael Conley ($7.1).
Where Jennings will eventually fit into that salary strata remains to be seen. For now, at least, he claims not to care.
“At this point, I’m just playing basketball,’’ Jennings said. “ This is one of the biggest years of my career, so I’m just concerned about playing basketball.’’
* While Jennings was willing to discuss his contract status, his backcourt teammate, Monta Ellis, wasn’t as receptive.
Ellis, who will be paid $11 million this season, has an opt-out clause in contract after this season. By all indications, talks to extend his contract aren’t encouraging.
Ellis certainly gave that impression after meeting with reporters following Tuesday’s practice. When I queried Ellis about his contract, he responded “I don’t want to talk about that.’’ He then walked away.
* With Luc Mbah a Moute sidelined by a knee issue and his return uncertain, Tobias Harris has started all the preseason games at small forward. When I asked Bucks coach Scott Skiles if the 20-year-old Harris would definitely be the starter once the regular season starts, he said, “No.’’
Skiles then mentioned veterans Mike Dunleavy and Marquis Daniels as candidates for the starting three spot.