We've used a lot of recent digital real estate covering the impending Milwaukee Bucks v. Brandon Jennings free agency showdown. The latest twist in this yawning chasm of speculation comes courtesy of Racine Journal-Times reporter Gery Woelfel.
Following the Bucks' 100-86 loss to the Utah Jazz Wednesday night, Woelfel dropped a cluster bomb of information that, if true, definitively exposes Jennings' motives for switching agents.
Talking on the 1250 WSSP post-game show, Woelfel offered these comments (Fast forward to the 3:45 mark):
"I talked to one of the more prominent sports agents out there, I can't say his name, unfortunately. But he and I were talking today about the Jennings situation and he said really it came down to two things. One goes back to the possible contract extension he could have got earlier this year, in which nothing happened. I was told, by this agent, who is pretty much in the know, that Jennings wanted the maximum amount."
After indicating that would fall somewhere in the $14 - $14.5 million per year range, Woelfel continued:
"When he saw what Steph Curry got, what (Ty) Lawson got, and what (Jrue) Holiday got, it was more in the $11 to 12 million. Jennings thought he should be maxed. Who takes the hit for that? His agent.
Now along comes the All-Star game, and Jennings is snubbed. Again, according to this agent, he was upset ... quite a bit that he was snubbed and he believes it was because he's playing in a small market. Hence, he would like to go to a bigger market. Further hence, he fires Bill Duffy and hires Jeff Schwartz in the hope of course that he will someday play in a bigger market and someday play in an All-Star game."
Those quotes were followed by eight seconds of silence befitting something we've speculated, but never really confirmed. Whether you trust the unnamed agent or choose to file these comments under the "agent-speak" label, they're just another wrinkle in the already-unfolding saga that is the Milwaukee Bucks' 2013 trading deadline and offseason.
With that said, the most disconcerting part of this isn't so much that Jennings wants to get paid and play in a big city (what NBA player doesn't?). Rather, he views himself as an All-Star talent worthy of All-Star cash. The problem is he isn't. Curry, Lawson, and Holiday have leapfrogged Jennings on the NBA point guard hierarchy, and still none are making close to $14 million annually. Holiday was reportedly also seeking max numbers last summer, but reality eventually set in and Holiday to his credit has responded with dramatically improved play and all-star berth to show for it.
The Bucks wanted another season to see what they had in Jennings, and for the most part, they look smarter for it. Jennings is playing a career high 36.9 minutes per game, and hitting threes at a rate not seen since his rookie season (37.3% 3fg). However, his overall shooting numbers are the same or worse than last year's lockout-shortened campaign (and just as inconsistent), and he remains a very limited distributor. Given those benchmarks and Jennings' lack of obvious improvement, new agent Jeff Schwartz presumably doesn't expect to find a max offer waiting for him this summer. Then again stranger things have happened in the bizarre universe known as NBA free agency.
So is Jennings worth what was paid to his three 2009 draft classmates? We still don't know, and neither do the Bucks. Jennings apparently does, though.