Should the Milwaukee Bucks Even Want Brandon Jennings Anymore?

Jordan RodewaldContributor IIMarch 5, 2013

To ensure future success, it's best that the Bucks say goodbye to Jennings.
To ensure future success, it's best that the Bucks say goodbye to Jennings.Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

With the Milwaukee Bucks in the midst of a playoff race—and attempting to jockey for a better seed—point guard Brandon Jennings seems more intent on positioning himself for the future.

While the Bucks were in town to play the Dallas Mavericks last week, Jennings seemingly gushed over the idea of donning a Dallas uniform (via Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News):

“Yeah, of course,” Jennings said when asked if he could see himself fitting in Dallas. “Who wouldn’t want to play in an environment like this every night?

“You’ve got an owner [Mark Cuban] who’s so into his team. Every time you see the Mavs, you see him cheering or going crazy. They won a championship. They’re about winning.”

In fairness to Jennings, it appears he was just answering a question with honesty. However, the last thing the Bucks need is a distraction, and clearly he could have formulated a better response.

With that not being the case, the Bucks should turn their attention elsewhere and bid farewell to Jennings.

Despite averaging 18.4 points, 6.4 assists and 3.4 rebounds per game this year, Jennings isn't a player they should worry too much about losing.

Those numbers might look impressive on their own, but after factoring in a field-goal percentage of 39.9 and a three-point percentage of 36.9, they've come at the expense of efficiency.

The recent addition of J.J. Redick has also meant Jennings would share minutes with a third guard, something that likely wouldn't be appealing due to its potential effect on his production.

Over the past five games Jennings plunged to 11.6 points per game, rocketed his assist output to 10.6 and stayed roughly the same in terms of rebounding.

The surge in assists can be largely attributed to the past two contests, which saw Jennings record a career-high 19 assists Saturday against the Toronto Raptors and 17 last night against the Utah Jazz.

His recent dime-dropping frenzy comes with a jolt of excitement and a sense of frustration. Where has this play been all season? Is he just trying to show potential suitors he can be a team player?

And therein lay the problem.

Jennings is inconsistent and unpredictable both with his play and personality. His relationship with the franchise itself hasn't always been great, with flip-flop behavior on display for the past year.

In February 2012 he fired his agent and began exploring his options for this summer. He aimed his focus toward big-market teams, and it seemed as though his time in Milwaukee was dwindling. Then, several weeks ago, Jennings denied reports that cited him wanting out due to "irreconcilable differences" with the organization.

Trying to gain leverage by boasting the successes of the Mavericks has to be the final straw, and the back-and-forth game must now end.

The Bucks can't afford to keep Jennings, Redick and Monta Ellis anyway, so re-signing the latter two players should be considered top priority.

Ellis has averaged 24 points, eight assists, 4.4 rebounds and 4.2 steals per game while shooting 50.5 percent since the trade, showing the ability to score, defend and distribute at high levels.

And while Ellis—who has an $11 million player option for next season—is also likely playing for a new contract, according to HoopsRumors, Milwaukee's half-court offense has seemed to function much better when he runs the point with Redick at shooting guard.

Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel seems to agree, noting:

One combination Boylan has used effectively puts Dunleavy, Redick and Ellis with center Larry Sanders and power forward Ersan Ilyasova. In that lineup Ellis is playing the point and Redick and Dunleavy are spacing the floor.

"They both move around the floor really well," Boylan said of Redick and Dunleavy. "J.J. is a really quick, fast guy along the baseline. Mike is smart about what he does. He moves the ball.

"He shoots when he should. He passes when he's covered. The ball movement those two guys create for us usually leads to some kind of good opportunity when they're out on the floor."

Truthfully, the Bucks risk overpaying either Jennings or Ellis. If they want to ensure future success though, they'll need to find a way to keep one of the two.

Logic would suggest they go with Ellis, a guy who hasn't expressed a love for other franchises to the media.

The recent efforts put forth by Jennings might be too little, too late. Re-signing him comes with a bag of unknowns, and it's possible the Bucks could find themselves in the same situation several years from now.

That's something they should avoid.