The NBA’s free agency period is winding down, but there are three players whose future is still up in the air: Brandon Jennings, a restricted free agent with Milwaukee; Nikola Pekovic, the same status as Jennings with Minnesota; and Greg Oden, who hasn’t played in the NBA since fracturing his left patella in December of 2009, and who is now an unrestricted free agent. One Eastern Conference player is wondering where they’re headed, and so are we.
The Indiana Pacers have significantly upgraded their bench this offseason with Luis Scola and Chris Copeland replacing Tyler Hansbrough and Sam Young on the second team while C.J. Watson replaced D.J. Augustin for backup point guard duties.
The changes have made them possibly more talented than Miami in the East. Perhaps because of the significant upgrades they’ve made to their bench, Roy Hibbert, wants to know about the top remaining free agents.
Still wanna know when Brandon Jennings, Greg Oden n Pek are gonna sign.
— Roy Hibbert (@Hoya2aPacer) July 30, 2013
Lets take a brief look at these three and where they’re likely to play next season as of this writing.
Pek is a restricted free agent who bizarrely hasn’t attracted an offer from a competing team. According to the Star Tribune, new ‘Wolves GM, Flip Saunders, is supposed to fly to New York early this week to meet with Pekovic’s agent, Jeff Schwartz.
The ‘Wolves have an offer on the table for a four-year $50 million deal, and Schwartz has made a counter-offer. Rather than negotiate by phone, Saunders is coming to meet Pek’s reps in New York. Most observers feel this deal is just a formality with Minnesota consistently reiterating they want their big Balkan back. Perhaps that’s why no one else has tendered an offer for Pek despite him becoming one fo the most efficient scorers in the block last season, and a tough presence underneath. We see a deal happening any day now, with Pekovic returning under a four-year deal that will pay him close to max money.
Poor Brandon Jennings. He feels like he’s a max player, but his team already tried to lure Jeff Teague to Milwaukee with an offer sheet the Hawks eventually matched; they’ve also already signed O.J. Mayo with a three-year $24 million contract to replace Monta Ellis while bringing on Luke Ridnour from the ‘Wolves as a possible starting point guard should Jennings get an offer from another team.
No one can really figure out what the Bucks are doing this off-season, since they have roughly four centers and more front court players than they know what to do with. They also own Jennings’ Bird rights, so they can pay him max money without worrying about salary cap issues. There is a qualifying offer Jennings could elect to take, paying him $4.5 million next season, and it would allow him to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.
If the Bucks don’t offer him a multiyear deal he thinks he deserves (e.g. four years $40 million plus like Jrue Holiday, Stephen Curry or Ty Lawson), then he’ll be forced to sign the QO since no other teams appear interested in forcing the Bucks’ hands with a big offer. The new CBA has forced teams to consider even those offers to restricted free agents from different teams.