Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis are an explosive combination, but the Milwaukee Bucks may not be able to keep their dynamic backcourt duo together beyond this season. On Monday, CBSSports.com reported that Jennings let go of his agent Bill Duffy in anticipation of signing with New York-based agent Jeff Schwartz. Much to the chagrin of Bucks’ fans, this move could offer more hard evidence that Jennings, who will be a restricted free-agent this offseason, is aiming to take his talents to a larger market.
Schwartz, who reps the likes of Deron Williams, Blake Griffin, and Paul Pierce, has been outspoken about the benefits his clients reap from playing in the NBA’s major media markets.
“In the last eight or nine months, Deron has signed national deals with Audi, Red Bull and Metro PCS,” Schwartz said in an interview with Kenn Berger of CBSSports last year during the Dwight Howard saga (via BehindtheBuckPass.com). “He’s also done a number of regional deals with other companies. Being in a larger market, there’s always more opportunities, and coupled with the fact that the Nets are moving to Brooklyn, there’s going to be a lot of corporate interest in both the team and its star players.”
Schwartz’s Excel Sports Management has office in New York and Los Angeles, and the firm’s client list is reportedly second only to superstar agent Arn Tellem’s. The timing of Jennings’ switch to Schwartz is also worth mentioning. Since players have to wait 10 days to sign with a new agent, Jennings will be repped by Schwartz before this month’s February 21st trade deadline.
While Milwaukee certainly has a shot at keeping Jennings this offseason since he is a restricted free agent, Bucks management may not want to slug it out with Schwartz. If that’s the case, Milwaukee’s best chance to get the deal that they want for Jennings instead of being bullied this summer may be to trade Jennings before the deadline.
Needless to say, with names like Brandon Jennings and Josh Smith linked to trade rumors, we appear to be in for a very interesting February on the NBA front.