The Milwaukee Bucks have a difficult decision to make before the NBA trade deadline that is fast approaching. Should they keep both guards, trade one over the other, or deal both? There are pros and cons for each scenario but for the sake of argument, the Bucks should trade Brandon Jennings and keep Monta Ellis.
The Bucks will simply get more for Jennings for the simple fact that he is only 23-years old and already has three and a half years of valuable NBA experience under his belt. His age is the same reason why he will get a bigger contract if Ellis and he both decide to test out free agency this summer, even though many would agree Ellis is the overall better player.
The 27-year-old Ellis is fantastic at getting to the basket and finishing at the rim, something Jennings has a very difficult time doing. Ellis also has a slightly better shot selection and for that reason, he converts a higher percentage of his shot attempts. He averages about the same amount of steals per game (1.9) as Jennings and can set up other players just as well (5.5 assists per game).
Jennings, on the other hand, is nowhere near the superstar Milwaukee thought they were getting when they drafted him 10th overall in the 2009 NBA Draft. Yes, he is very talented and could potentially reach All-Star status one day but has yet to consistently show it. There is no question there are games where one would think he could be that superstar to carry a franchise, but because he does not do it on a nightly basis, it is hard to judge his overall worth.
If I were John Hammond, the Bucks general manager, I would do everything in my power to keep Ellis, but only if he converts to a point guard. In my opinion, the seven-year veteran has the perfect skill set and build to be an outstanding point man in the NBA. Milwaukee would then be able to go out and find a shooting guard such as J.J. Reddick, in free agency to complete the two guard positions. If anything else, the Bucks could also start Mike Dunleavy at shooting guard and work on creating more depth at the forward positions.
In all likelihood, Milwaukee will not be able to re-sign either one of these players. Jennings recently hired a new agent and seems to have taken a determined approach towards free agency. The fact that the Bucks did not offer him an extension prior to the start of this season has caused plenty of damage between the two parties that most likely cannot be repaired.
Simply put, Jennings is at the point where it is now personal for him.
The only way Ellis will re-sign with the Bucks is for more than $11 million per season, because that is how much his 2013-14 option is worth. This is definitely possible for the team to do, but one must wonder if they will actually pull the trigger on such a deal.