Monday night, Brandon Jennings looked like he was his old self. After missing the start of the season recovering from a ruptured Achilles, Jennings scored 17 points, dished six assists, and the Pistons were + 25 points when he was on the court (18 minutes). The Pistons bench has dragged that team down all season, but the past week or so with Jennings running the show the bench has outperformed the starters.
That kind of play plus an expiring contract sparks trade rumors.
The buzz around the league since before the season tipped off is that Jennings would be available once healthy. Jennings told David Mayo of Mlive.com he’s heard the rumors, but he doesn’t want to go anywhere.
““We’ll see,” he said. “I don’t know. I hope so. So we’ll see….
“I can’t really get away from (the rumors) because it’s all on my Twitter feed every time I tweet something,” Jennings said. “But it’s rumors. It’s something that I’m not worried about. I just want to play basketball and I’m just blessed to be healthy again.””Our plan, right now, is that Brandon can help us make a playoff push, and that’s what we’re going to do,” Van Gundy said. “That’s our plan right now. If something happens in the next five weeks, we’ll look at it. But right now, he’s a very good player who can help us, and that’s the only way we’re looking at him.”
“Our plan, right now, is that Brandon can help us make a playoff push, and that’s what we’re going to do,” (Pistons’ coach/GM Stan) Van Gundy said. “That’s our plan right now. If something happens in the next five weeks, we’ll look at it. But right now, he’s a very good player who can help us, and that’s the only way we’re looking at him.””
Jennings makes $8.4 million this season in the final year of his contract. This past summer, Van Gundy gave starting point guard Reggie Jackson a five-year, $80 million to be the man at the point in Detroit. It’s easy to see why the rumors start: With Jennings being a free agent this summer and the Pistons not being able to pay him and Jackson plus max out Andre Drummond, and add some shooting and defense to the roster. It’s logical for the Pistons to consider moving Jennings for whatever they can get.
The Knicks are rumored to have interest, although it’s hard to envision a deal that works. (Arron Afflalo? Can’t see it.) Other teams will have interest as well.
There are going to be a lot of trade rumors around Jennings between now and the February trade deadline. But if he keeps playing like this leading the second unit, if the Pistons are in position to make the playoffs, and if every other team is throwing lowball offers at the Pistons, why wouldn’t Van Gundy just keep him and make a postseason push?