MILWAUKEE, WI (LEARFIELD-WSAU) The Milwaukee Bucks got rid of a potential headache yesterday, and traded point guard Brandon Jennings to Detroit for guard Brandon Knight and two other players. It was a sign-and-trade deal, in which Jennings signed a three-year contract for 24-million dollars.
The 21-year-old Knight, from Kentucky, was Detroit’s starting point guard for his first two pro seasons. He averaged 13 points and four assists in those campaigns. The Bucks also received small forward Khris Middleton and center Viacheslav Kravtsov. Middleton had six points and two rebounds in his rookie season with Detroit last year. Kravtsov averaged three points and almost two boards in 25 games with the Pistons.
Thus ends a productive but sometimes tumultuous four years in Milwaukee for Jennings – who scored 55 points in only his seventh pro game and had averages of 17-and-a-half points and a career-high six-and-a-half assists last season.
He shot less than 30-percent in the Bucks’ season-ending playoff series with Miami in April. In his final couple years, Jennings expressed desires to move to L-A or New York. He changed agents in the middle of last season, and was later at odds occasionally with former Bucks’ coach Jim Boylan.
Jennings was a restricted free agent this summer but received no offers. Milwaukee gave Jennings a one-year, four-and-a-half million-dollar qualifying offer a month ago.
The Bucks signed their first-round draft choice yesterday. Small forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (yah-niss an-teh-toe-koom’-po) from Greece signed a rookie contract which pays him three-point-six million dollars in his first two seasons.
The 18-year-old Antetokounmpo was the youngest player taken in the June N-B-A Draft, and was the 15th overall pick. He averaged eight points and seven-and-a-half rebounds in 10 games for his native Greece in the recent Under-20 European Championships.
Also, the Bucks signed shooting guard Gary Neal yesterday. The free-agent is getting a two-year deal worth six-and-a-half million dollars. Neal was a key backup for San Antonio the past three seasons, and he hit six three-pointers in Game-Three of the N-B-A Finals against Miami. The Spurs made him a qualifying offer, but later withdrew it when they signed Marco Belinelli.
Bucks’ general manager John Hammond has changed two-thirds of his roster in the past month. The only five players who are still around from last season are Larry Sanders, Ersan Ilyasova, Ekpe Udoh, John Henson, and Ish Smith.