Now that the NBA trade deadline has passed without any major trades actually transpiring, we can now focus our speculation on the NBA playoffs and the pending free agency period that follows the regular season.
Among the many names that will justifiably receive most of the speculation is that of Milwaukee Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings, who is having a solid season and will be a restricted free agent this summer after the Bucks chose not to sign Jennings to a contract extension before the 2012-13 season began.
The Dallas Mavericks reportedly may have some interest in pursuing Jennings this summer and the interest may be mutual, as Jennings revealed to the Dallas Morning News recently per Hoopsworld’s Alex Kennedy:
“Yeah, of course,” Jennings told The Dallas Morning News when asked if he could see himself in Dallas. “You’ve got Dirk Nowitzki, you’ve got O.J. Mayo, Elton Brand, Chris Kaman.
“Who wouldn’t want to play in an environment like this every night? You’ve got an owner who’s so into his team and everything like that. Every time you see the Mavs, you see him cheering or going crazy. They won a championship. They’re about winning.”
The Mavericks will need a point guard next season with fellow 2009 NBA Draft classmate Darren Collison also scheduled to hit restricted free agency. They will have the cap space needed to make Jennings a healthy offer in the same range that other point guards from his draft class were able to secure before the season. Denver Nuggets point Ty Lawson, Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry and Philadelphia 76ers guard Jrue Holiday were all able to get extensions between $10-12 million a year.
But there are a couple of problems with the Mavericks making any large offers to Jennings. First, the Bucks have the right to match any offer Jennings receives on the open market, making the Mavericks’ chances of plucking him away from the Bucks that much more difficult.
Another thing to consider is the question of whether Jennings is worth a contract similar to those of Lawson, Curry and Holiday. He is averaging 18.9 points and 6.1 assists, but his shooting percentage is hovering around .400 and he has a tendency to think “shoot first” more often than not. Holiday, Lawson and Curry have each shown progress in their games through their first four seasons while Jennings is virtually the same player he was in his rookie season, just four years older.
There are other solid options available this summer as well such as Jeff Teague, Mo Williams, D.J. Augustin and Collison, to name a few.
Teaming Brandon Jennings with Dirk Nowitzki may be an intriguing prospect for Mark Cuban and the Mavericks, but they can most likely land a cheaper, comparable option than forking up $11 million a season for Jennings.