Brandon Jennings has been involved in a lot of trade rumors, but the Detroit Pistons should think twice about dealing him.
The Pistons need Jennings to stay in their uniform for at least the rest of the season, and should take a hard look at extending him after his contract expires. Due to his expiring deal, Jennings is an appealing trade target for teams to go after.
However, it is going to be difficult to get enough in return for Jennings to fill the void that he would leave on the roster.
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There have been multiple reports that the New York Knicks are interested in trading for Jennings. The Knicks have played surprisingly well, and are in contention for a playoff birth. However, their point guard situation is erratic at best, causing trade rumors connecting them to Jennings.
The Pistons’ biggest need for most of this season has been quality point guard play when Reggie Jackson is on the bench. Steve Blake had a couple miserable months shooting the ball before finding his stride in December. Spencer Dinwiddie also received some opportunities, but he was unable to capitalize outside of a 17-point outburst against the Lakers.
Jennings’ return was desperately needed; his explosiveness and playmaking ability make the bench unit a more formidable on offense. While all the bench players are capable scorers, none of them exceed at creating their own shot, which is where Jennings comes in. He offers a starter’s skill level off the bench and creates opportunities for his teammates to score.
Van Gundy could also roll out more lineups featuring Jackson and Jennings in the same lineup, which would provide Kentavious Caldwell-Pope with more opportunities to rest. KCP has played the third-most minutes in the NBA this season, which could run him into the ground if he continues to play at this pace.
Between guarding the other team’s best perimeter player and shouldering some of the offensive load, Caldwell-Pope has a lot on his plate. In order for him to keep up his elite level of defense and remain consistent on offense, he will need his legs under him when April rolls around.
Jennings is a career 35 percent shooter from deep, and Jackson is shooting at a career best 34.9 percent from the long-line, so a lineup featuring both point guards would still provide adequate spacing. A two-pronged point guard attack would help generate more opportunities for Andre Drummond to score at the rim and create open looks for both Ersan Ilyasova and Marcus Morris.
The Pistons would have a very difficult time getting adequate value in return for Jennings, especially from the Knicks. New York’s roster does not have enough quality assets to get a return worth Detroit’s loss.
Derrick Williams has played well as of late, and he could be a quality addition to the Pistons’ bench. The Knicks also have a couple promising prospects in Langston Galloway and Jerian Grant, but it is unlikely that they would be willing to part with them to acquire Jennings.
Basically, the Knicks don’t have enough valuable assets to replace the value that BJ has to the Pistons. When a team makes a trade, the winner is almost always decided on who receives the best player in the deal. In this case, it would be Jennings, so the Pistons have lost the trade before making it.
It is too early for the Pistons to give up on Jennings. He is only 26-years-old and entering the prime of his career. If he is able to put all of his skills together, he could be a huge part of Detroit’s success moving far into the future.