Not the best week for Brandon Jennings, eh?
On the court Jennings has found himself in yet another one of his February funks (.312/.297/.654 shooting), with his shooting struggles among the main talking points of the Bucks' current four game losing streak. Off the court, Jennings recently parted ways with long-time agent Bill Duffy, spawning talk of continuing disillusionment with his failure to garner a max deal last summer. And while the Bucks have continually reiterated their hopes of retaining Jennings long-term, ESPN's Chad Ford reports that the feeling apparently isn't mutual.
Jennings has, according to one source, "irreconcilable differences" with Milwaukee. He's frustrated, according to sources, that the two sides weren't able to work out a long-term extension this summer. In addition, he feels as though he doesn't get the attention he deserves and wants a bigger market to take his talents to.
Jennings isn't bluffing. He recently changed agents in an attempt to get some traction on his relocation. Jennings' marching orders for his new representation? Get him out of Milwaukee, either by the trade deadline or via a toxic offer sheet from another team this summer.
Jennings wouldn't be the first Buck to want out of Milwaukee of course, though wanting out hasn't always equated to getting out. In recent years Andrew Bogut, Ersan Ilyasova, Luc Mbah a Moute and Stephen Jackson have all been rumored to be unhappy and hopeful of an exit at various points, but Ilyasova eventually followed the money back to Milwaukee and Mbah a Moute had little choice after the Bucks matched Denver's $19 million offer sheet in December 2011. Bogut meanwhile was dealt a year ago after yet another injury and purported bickering with Scott Skiles, while the Bucks happily shipped the unproductive and unhappy Jackson out along with him.
But Jennings is a bit different. Like Mbah a Moute he's entering restricted free agency, meaning he can't simply leave. But while most of the other want-away players' annoyances were supposedly related to coaching, Jennings' dissatisfaction would appear to have as much to do with his own inadequacies as that of Milwaukee or former agent Bill Duffy. Just don't try to explain that to him.
So let's assume for a moment that Ford and Gery Woelfel's recent reports are accurate and then consider Jennings' recent logic. He didn't get a max deal, so he switched agents. He didn't make the all-star team, so he decided he needs to play in a bigger market. Fair enough...it's a free country, right?
The reality of course is that he didn't even remotely deserve a max deal, nor did he deserve to make the all-star team. Who represents him and where he plays basketball are merely footnotes to that reality, but admitting that requires a level of self-reflection that might prove too unflattering to bear.
None of which should paint Jennings as a bad guy or a jerk. He's a competitor, a hard-worker, an apparently good kid and quite often an electric talent on the basketball court. A true 21st century athlete, for better or worse. But he's most certainly not a realist, and perhaps that means he won't be a Buck for too much longer either. The Dallas Mavericks would apparently have interest, and it's likely some other teams would as well. Or perhaps it will all be forgotten in short order, swept under a rug next summer under the fanfare of a press conference to announce a shiny new contract.
We'll know a lot more on February 21. Wake me when it's over, OK?