March 11, 2013
We broke down the contract situation of Brandon Jennings earlier, and discussed the fact that despite what he may want in terms of a big-money deal before next season, he's not likely to get it just yet.
Jennings' situation is largely out of his control, considering the fact that by making a small one-year qualifying offer, the Bucks can match any multi-year offer he receives from anyone else in restricted free agency.
The opposite is true for Jennings' back court partner, Monta Ellis.
Ellis has a player option for next season that would pay him $11 million, should he decide to take it. Up until now, it's been widely assumed that Ellis would opt out of that deal, however, and test the waters as an unrestricted free agent instead.
It appears to some around the league that Ellis terminating his current deal may not be as foregone a conclusion as it once was.
From Marc Stein of ESPN.com:
The Bucks have a number of financial decisions to make with Brandon Jennings headed for restricted free agency, newly acquired J.J. Redick soon to be an unrestricted free agent and Monta Ellis expected by many teams to give strong consideration to opting in for next season at $11 million despite the longstanding presumption in Brewtown that he's determined to opt out. So there are a lot of variables in play at season's end, since paying all three — as well as they've been playing together — would figure to be a serious stretch for the small-market Bucks.
Ellis opting in would affect the Bucks' cap situation, of course, but only for a single season.
There are two ways to look at this. One, leaving $11 million on the table to pursue a multi-year deal immediately may be a smart decision financially, if in fact Ellis could command in the neighborhood of that figure as an unrestricted free agent; it's likely that he could.
The other side of that decision involves opting in for the final year of the deal, and seeing if the Bucks add pieces to improve the team — thereby making it more desirable to sign a long-term contract there the following summer, and one that could potentially be more lucrative if Ellis is viewed as the team's key piece.