MILWAUKEE — As if Brandon Jennings’ recent lack of production weren’t alarming enough, the third-year point guard made some interesting comments Thursday regarding his future in Milwaukee.
Jennings told ESPN.com’s Chris Broussard that he will look into any and all options when his rookie contract expires. He will be eligible to sign a long-term deal with the Bucks this summer, but even if he does not, the earliest he can become an unrestricted free agent will be at the end of the 2013-14 season.
“I am going to keep my options open, knowing that the time is coming up,” Jennings told Broussard in an email. “I’m doing my homework on big-market teams.”
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But he didn’t rule out staying in Milwaukee: “I’m not saying I won’t (sign an extension with the Bucks) and I’m not saying I will. I’m just keeping my options open.”
Jennings insisted to Broussard that he had no problem playing in Milwaukee, one of the smallest markets in the league. Jennings is a native of Compton, Calif.
“It has nothing to do with the city of Milwaukee or anything like that because that’s where I started my career,” Jennings told Broussard. “They’ve been nothing but good to me. (Coach) Scott Skiles and (general manager) John Hammond have been good to me. It’s just that I’m understanding the business of basketball now.”
Jennings, 22, was Milwaukee’s first-round selection (10th overall) in the 2009 draft and made an immediate impact, scoring 55 points in his seventh NBA game and averaging 15.5 points and 5.7 assists as a rookie.
The Bucks went 46-36 that year and advanced to the playoffs for the first time since 2005-06. During a seven-game first-round series against Atlanta, Jennings led the Bucks with 18.7 points per game.
Milwaukee, though, fell out of the playoff chase last season amid injuries and won just 35 games. Jennings’ inside-out running mate, center Andrew Bogut, wasn’t healthy all season, and he has fallen to a broken ankle during the team’s 10-14 start this season. Jennings, 22, had been an unequivocal bright spot — averaging 18.9 points and 5.3 assists — until the past week.
After getting outscored 26-8 by Bulls league MVP Derrick Rose in a highly touted point guard matchup last Saturday, Jennings took only four shots and scored just three points in a Tuesday loss to the Suns. After that contest, the normally affable Jennings was short with the media and seemed to avoid questions about his performance.
“I mean, I just didn’t have the shots that I usually have. That’s about it,” Jennings said.
He followed that up with 10 points in the Bucks’ 105-99 victory Wednesday night in Toronto but went just 3-of-12 from the field and didn’t look much like the player who had been generating buzz as a potential All-Star candidate.
In his conversation with Broussard, Jennings insisted that he’s not mailing it in, waiting for a bigger and better deal to come along.
“I’m going to keep playing hard every night for the Bucks as long as I’m there,” Jennings said. “I’m not promising that’s where my future will be. I will make sure me and (agent Bill Duffy) look at all the best options.”