Extending Brandon Jennings is as complicated as solutions in the movie Child’s Play are obvious

I was listening to the Adam Carolla Podcast the other day when Jay Glazer, the Fox football guy, touched on something that always puzzled me and that he couldn’t quite understand either.

In those Chucky movies, Child’s Play 1, 2 and 3 were the actual names, why didn’t the characters just kick the doll in the head? How difficult would that have been? I understand getting over the hump of understanding the reality of the situation. It’s hard to fathom a serial killer’s soul existing in the doll that you’ve purchased from some homeless dude on the street, but if you even suspect that doll capable of doing anything that a doll wouldn’t typically be capable of doing, just take it apart. Punt the thing, find it and put its arms and legs in different rooms. It’s made of plastic! Do something, do anything.

YOU’RE SO MUCH BIGGER THAN THE DOLL. JUST PHYSICALLY DOMINATE IT, KID! QUIT GETTING VOODOO’D!

Yeah, sometimes he got ahold of a knife and maybe he could stab you if you weren’t looking or if you were asleep or something, but were people really not quick enough to maneuver around a 24 inch doll? And how hard could one of those stabs be anyway? It’s not like he could really get a good windup going or have that much strength. I was always amazed they were even capable of penetrating the skin.

It’s difficult to think of a horror movie with more obvious solutions than the Child’s Play movies.

Obvious solutions are nice. The Milwaukee Bucks surely wish there was an obvious solution to extending the contract of Brandon Jennings. WHAT A SEGUE!

But seriously, at least with most horror movies, you can understand how the situation is difficult. It isn’t always so obvious what the solution is. That’s what this Jennings situation is like. At this point, without the upcoming season to allow them to try and properly value him, what are the Bucks basing their Brandon Jennings decision on? He’s had two fairly mediocre seasons and one above average one. That indicates he’s getting better, which allows for the hope that he’ll become a great player. They know he’s a hard worker. They know he’s happy enough living in Milwaukee. Those things are givens at this point. But the most pressing issue is a big one: How good is he and how good can Brandon Jennings be?

Right now, he’s a fairly middle of the pack point guard.

Does everything fall into place for Jennings this year? If it does, the Bucks could be spending quite a bit more in the summer than they would if they extended Jennings now. (AP Photo/David Richard)

Steve Nash, Deron Williams, Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, Kyrie Irving, Tony Parker, Rajon Rondo and Russell Westbrook are pretty clearly superior players. That’s eight right there.

Then there’s a second tier of point guards where Jennings exists. John Wall, Stephen Curry, Mike Conley, Ty Lawson, Kyle Lowry, Jeremy Lin (probably, who knows with that guy), Jrue Holiday – these are Jennings’ direct peers. Some are better than him right now, some are worse. And he could leap any or all of them with a strong enough season. There’s incredible fluctuation among these middle of the pack, still developing point guards.

But few of those direct peers have been tasked with being the face of their franchise over the past three years like Jennings has. That could be a factor that’s boosting the worth of Jennings. At the very least, I’m sure it’s a factor in the eyes of his agent.

Jennings has the charisma and sense of duty of your average franchise player, but thus far, he’s demonstrated the game of only an almost All-Star at his best. This could be the year where we see him take another step forward, but the Bucks don’t exactly have the luxury of time. If Milwaukee doesn’t extend Jennings by October 31, he’ll be a restricted free agent come July 1. Then his worth will be dictated by the league, not Jennings and the Bucks alone.

Maybe that wouldn’t be such a bad thing. If Jennings makes it clear he’s a big time player this season, worthy of a max contract from another team, the Bucks will have the opportunity to match and almost certainly will. If Jennings struggles or regresses a bit this season, those big time offers won’t come pouring in because NBA general managers are too smart for that.

WHAT?! THEY AREN’T TOO SMART FOR THAT!? Well that’s where this thing could REALLY get tricky then. A middling year from Jennings and a max type offer from some crazy other general manager is the Bucks worst nightmare. Especially if the team is coming off a playoff birth and tasked with keeping that momentum alive. Try explaining letting Jennings go to the fans then. Yikes.

The upside of working out a deal before Halloween exists if the Bucks sign Jennings and he improves. Lawson has reportedly received a $44 million, four year extension offer from the Nuggets (though the link suggests it make take more to actually sign him). I’d suggest that Lawson is a little bit better than Jennings, but hasn’t had quite the same responsibilities as Milwuakee’s point guard over the last few years. They’re probably pretty even. That offer sounds mighty reasonable for the Bucks point guard. And if Jennings has a very successful season it starts to look like a bargain.

Anything much higher than that, and it’s not so clear what the upside is for the Bucks. They could wait and match any offer that would be reasonable if Jennings and the Bucks do all the things together they’re hoping to do this season.

This isn’t a very black and white issue. It isn’t as simple as laying down a max offer in front of a superstar like Rose or Paul. Surely the Bucks realize that and that’s why we haven’t seen this thing get done yet. Figuring out the market for a player whose career could head in as many different directions as Jennings’ could is a pretty delicate task for a franchise like the Milwaukee Bucks. Max out a player who isn’t really a star and … well, we’ve seen that before, haven’t we? The Bucks could end up back in 2005 awfully quick, with Jennings in the role ofMichael Redd. Now that would be a horror movie scenario right there.

But a playoff birth and 20 efficient points every night and Jennings could be the new Ray Allen by the time this season is done. THAT’S WHAT MAKES THIS SO TOUGH! The most obvious solution in a scenario that really lacks one, is letting Jennings play out this season if he doesn’t agree to a sub-$50 million deal.

If Team Jennings is into the idea of sub-$50 million, it’s tough to tell. But I suppose we’ll know on October 31.

Categories: Contract Stuff

I watch the Milwaukee Bucks often and write about what I see…

12 Comments

  1. Of the elite PG, only Parker and Rondo have Championships (Nash may later this year). 2nd tier PGs offer zero Championships so this should first tell you that the value of the PG is somewhat diminished when compared to the importance of having a dominant athletic wing-type player to carry the team. It’s important for Brandon to continue to develop where money and happiness are a match for him–that place could and might as well be Milwaukee. While not elite, he certainly is every bit the player that anyone on that 2nd tier list is and signing him to an extension keeps the Bucks relevant in terms of playoff contending and possible trade value/ scenarios. Short answer–Yes. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to continue to draft BPA and if we land a stud PG down the road, then he becomes a nice affordable trade piece for a contender.

    Really the Bucks should tank the whole season and go after that #1-2 pick in the upcoming draft. Have you seen Shabazz Muhammad? Talk about the next Kobe…

  2. Yeah, I’m definitely with the thinking at the end of the article. Try to get it done under $50 million before Halloween. If he doesn’t take that, then just ride the season out and see what happens. I’d like to see him play hungry for a bigger contract anyway.

  3. Kyrie Irving is not an elite point guard, nor is the Steve Nash of the present. I think that Jennings is the 6th or 7th best pg in the league. The Bucks would have to be intentionally dumping all talent to sell and move the team if they do not extend his contract.

  4. I strongly agree, those damn GM’s and their crazy contracts inflate everyone’s salary. Max money for Jennings sounds insane right now.

  5. BJ shot himself in the foot last year when he was palling around with terrorists…I mean SJax…and took a leave of absence from the game. His most outstanding attribute has always been his willingness to take responsibility and carry the team every way he could. His moxy has been priceless. His fans felt his pain around All-Start break and so he gets a pass, but he did sow the seeds of doubt.

    I think he has shown a renewed commitment to his team and Milwaukee since that bit of soul searching, and I see no more risk to giving a contract to BJ than anyone else in the NBA.

  6. Very nice article Jeremy. I completely agree with you on your biggest, that is Jennings has an average year but receives a ridiculous deal. I would like to extend Jennings now because I think this is the cheapest he will be but I know the chances of that aren’t very high right now.

  7. A very similar situation arose this summer with Roy Hibbert. Indiana let him test free agency and Portland offered him a max deal. Indiana bit the bullet and matched, but I think they overpaid. Max contracts should be reserved for max talent guys, but how do you tell your fans you’re letting your starting center walk after making such a deep run in the playoffs? If Milwaukee waits to resign Jennings, they should at least be prepared for the possibility of not having him back next year.

  8. Pingback: It sounds like Brandon Jennings won’t be extended before October 31 : Bucksketball – A Better Milwaukee Bucks Blog