Detroit Pistons trade for point guard Brandon Jennings

July 31, 2013

Two Eastern Conference squads looking to climb out of mediocrity swapped their young point guards in a sign-and-trade deal today in which Brandon Jennings was sent from the Milwaukee Bucks to the Detroit Pistons in exchange for Brandon Knight, forward Khris Middleton, and center Viacheslav Kravtsov.

Jennings, a restricted free agent, reportedly will sign a three-year deal for approximately $24 million.

The trade is Detroit's third major deal of the offseason, following the team's signings of free agents Chauncey Billups and Josh Smith. The team also added shooter Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, a lottery pick, via the draft.

“We are pleased to welcome Brandon (Jennings) to the Pistons family,” said Joe Dumars, Pistons President of Basketball Operations. “We believe Brandon’s talent and skill-set will complement the core group of players we have assembled on our roster in a positive way.”

Jennings, 23, is an athletic and explosive lefty who averaged 17.5 points, a career-high 6.5 assists, 3.1 rebounds, and 1.6 steals in 80 games last season.

However, the 6-1, 170-pound California native has been criticized for being too much of a shoot-first lead guard, and a streaky one at that.

Nevertheless, Jennings, when hot from outside, can carry a team with his shooting and his ability to get his own shot.

An example of that talent was seen during the 2010-11 season when he scored an NBA-best 55 points (21-34 FG, 7-8 3FG) against Golden State, becoming one of just two players in NBA history (along with Elgin Baylor) to score 50-plus points and record a triple-double within their first 100 NBA games.

At this stage in his career, Jennings is more of a finished product than the still-developing Knight -- one that the Pistons were able to nab at far less than max dollar prices.

With the veteran Billups able to impart his wisdom from time to time, Jennings may also show improvement in his ball distribution on a team with a talented frontline.

Knight, drafted eighth overall by the Pistons in the 2011 NBA Draft, averaged 13.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 31.5 minutes in 75 games last season (all starts).

He is an athletic point guard with good size who is still being paid under his rookie contract.

For the Bucks, who earlier saw Monta Ellis walk away and sign with Dallas after opting out of his deal, the trade means that they will not be burdened by any expensive, long term deals at the point guard position.

It also means that they will receive some return value for the loss of Jennings, as Knight has steadily shown growth in his game. He will share backcourt duties with free agent acquisition OJ Mayo.

Middleton, essentially a throw-in along with Kravtsov, was drafted 39th overall in the 2012 NBA Draft, and averaged 6.1 points, 1.9 rebounds, and 17.6 minutes in 27 games last season.

Kravtsov, acquired as a free agent, averaged 3.1 points, 1.8 rebounds and 9.0 minutes in 25 games last season, his first with Detroit.

By Staff of The Daily Sports Herald and news services

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