Well, it took roughly a month and a half before the first Brandon Jennings trade rumor dropped. No, there isn’t a specific rumor out there, but speculation began over the weekend as Marc Stein listed Jennings as apart of The Field when reviewing top trade targets. So he’s not necessarily a top target, he’s more of a regular target. But Stein threw an important caveat in there (emphasis is mine):
Other names that dribbled out this week as likely candidates to be dealt this trade season include Milwaukee’s expiring-contract backcourt duo of Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings, based on the premise that the Bucks, if they start drifting out of playoff contention, won’t want to risk losing their smallish scorers for nothing in free agency.
Stein’s statements were a bit more conservative in nature than CSN Bay Area’s Rich Bucher’s:
Neither Tyreke Evans, nor Brandon Jennings, were given extensions this fall — so which one is more likely to be dealt before the February trade deadline or play somewhere else next season? Put your money on Jennings. Now, I have no one from the Bucks saying that they’re ready and willing to move Jennings, but a source indicated he’s more inclined to make his way elsewhere than Evans is.
Back to Stein’s qualifier – “if they start drifting out of playoff contention.” Realistically, the Bucks aren’t going to fall out of playoff contention this season. They don’t have a roster that lends itself to the monumental collapse it would take for the team to fall out of playoff contention in a poor record playoff friendly Eastern Conference. Even two seasons ago, a season regarded as a tremendous failure of chemistry and consistency after horrible seasons from the likes of Corey Maggette and John Salmons, saw the Bucks finish just two games out of the final playoff spot.
If THAT team can contend all season, is there much doubt that this one can in a conference that’s been struck with numerous significant injuries?
If it’s going to take the Bucks naturally falling out of the playoff picture for the organization to trade Jennings or Ellis, it isn’t going to happen. But if it takes the organization seeing that this team is obviously not one that can consistently put together quality performances, well, then we can have a conversation about this.
Because this team has done everything but put together quality performances consistently. After limping through a four game winning streak, Milwaukee ran into a Clippers team that had strewn together a legitimate winning streak. Packed with strong performances behind stellar players. What happened? Milwaukee played about as well as it had against the Kings and Cavs in the previous two games, two wins, and lost by 26 points.
Scott Skiles said he was concerned about the quality of play after Milwaukee’s win over the Kings, not just the win or the loss, and that was an issue again against the Clippers as it has been against a number of solid teams this season. The Knicks, the Grizzlies, the Spurs, all these teams have disposed of the Bucks with ease.
While the Bucks have had a few solid wins of their own, they’ve hardly been predictable when it comes to really standout games. They’ve been as likely to beat a team like the Cavs by three points as they’ve been to beat them by 10. Not exactly the sign of a team that’s prepping to do some serious damage come later in the season. But they’ve still found a way to beat the dregs of the league more often than not. There’s little reason to think that won’t continue.
So there’s little reason to think this season won’t carry on the same way it has through 22 games, for most of the 82.
If that’s the case, there’s also little reason to think Jennings is going anywhere. Unless this franchise is prepared to take a drastically different course than it has over the past few seasons and forego the hope of a playoff birth for the ultra-rare hope of a bright future for Milwaukee Bucks basketball, get ready for a lot more of the same this season.
Same cast. Same struggles. Same results.