NBA free agency rumors roundup: The Brandon Jennings saga ends in Detroit, Dejuan Blair joins Mavs


Brandon Jennings will be traded to the Detroit Pistons in exchange for Brandon Knight, Khris Middleton and Slava Kravtsov.

Brandon Jennings' offseason didn't go quite as planned. The Milwaukee Bucks' free-agent point guard hit restricted free agency hoping to sign a multi-year contract worth around $12 million per year, but the market price wouldn't allow it. A point guard whose inefficiency simply wouldn't garner that much interest at that price, there sat Jennings as the free agency pool dried up.

On Tuesday, Jennings finally saw the future ahead and will join Detroit in a sign-and-trade deal that will send the Pistons' Brandon Knight, Slava Kravtsov and Khris Middleton to the Bucks.

Jennings received a three-year deal worth between $24 and $25 million, which is far from what he was asking for previously. It's not the worst deal for Detroit, and for Jennings it's more guaranteed money than he would've earned taking Milwaukee's qualifying offer that next season would pay him $4.5 million.

The saga of Jennings' offseason has finally ended. He saw Milwaukee allow Monta Ellis to sign with Dallas and he saw the Bucks sign Hawks point guard Jeff Teague to an offer sheet before Atlanta matched. Detroit general manager Joe Dumars played the Jennings rumors coy but finally the truth came out, writes Detroit Bad Boys.

Though the Bucks appeared willing to welcome Jennings back, the hold-out has now earned them a 21-year-old point guard in return, writes Frank Madden of Bucks blog Brew Hoop.

The upside? Milwaukee avoided overpaying Jennings and salvaged something from a difficult situation by acquiring Knight, who will earn just $6.3 million combined over the next two seasons and still has the potential to develop into a solid two-way combo guard. The downside? The 23-year-old Jennings could still figure out how to be a really good basketball player, while Knight was unconvincing during his two-year audition in Detroit.

Thankfully, time is on the Bucks' side with Knight, as they effectively reset the clock on their point guard position by getting a player who is two years younger than Jennings and also has two more years before he hits restricted free agency

Whether Jennings fits with an odd Pistons roster is another story. He and free agent signing Josh Smith will need to shed their affinity for chucking to team with a young core that includes big men Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond.

Blair agrees to deal with Mavericks

San Antonio Spurs forward DeJuan Blair has agreed to a one-year deal with the Dallas Mavericks after his worst of four NBA seasons.

The undersized power forward averaged 5.4 points and 3.8 rebounds last season and started 16 games after starting more than 60 in his previous two seasons. The emergence of Brazilian big man Tiago Splitter didn't help Blair's case for minutes, and Splitter's re-signing this offseason in part set Blair's future elsewhere in motion.

Dallas lost big men Elton Brand and Chris Kaman in free agency, signed center Samuel Dalembert and brought back Bernard James and Brandan Wright. But the added depth won't hurt. With the length across Dallas' front line, Blair's lack of defensive ability will be somewhat covered -- his rebounding will be the key, according to Mavs Moneyball.

Blair's minutes dropped from 21 to 14 last year, and his numbers from 9.5-5.5 to 5.5-4 but this would probably be a solid pick-up for the Mavs. Blair is only 6'7" and has no ACLs, but he is a very solid rebounder for a team that's likely to be lacking in that category, and he has some mid-range touch. He's especially good on the offensive boards, and offensively, around the basket.

D'Antoni doesn't understand Dwight's decision

Might it be that Mike D'Antoni is resenting Dwight Howard's decision to spurn the Los Angeles Lakers for the Houston Rockets? Maybe. What's more likely is D'Antoni is defensive after reports surfaced about Howard not liking D'Antoni's system.

On Tuesday, D'Antoni went on ESPN 710 radio in Los Angeles and said the free agent big man's decision to leave for Houston was "mind-boggling."

"It's hard for me to sit here and criticize or even to understand why he left a place like L.A.," D'Antoni told "ESPN L.A. Now" hosts Mark Willard and Mychal Thompson on Tuesday. "That's kind of mind-boggling a little bit, but that's in his DNA and what he wants to do."

Silver Screen and Roll: More on the Lakers

Fault probably lies on both D'Antoni for failing to utilize Howard and on Howard for failing to quietly move away from a situation he apparently didn't like.

Howard might be gone from Hollywood but the drama hasn't ended.

Israeli national team coach not happy with Mavs

The Dallas Mavericks signed Israeli point guard Gal Mekel and were clear about pushing him to stay in the United States. With the Israeli team playing in the 2013 Eurobasket competition, they said working out with the other Mavs would help him become comfortable enough to challenge for playing time as a rookie.

Israeli coach Arik Shivek doesn't like it and told The Jerusalem Post that Dallas executive Donnie Nelson forced Mekel to stay off the national team this summer.

Mekel and fellow Israeli NBA player Omri Casspi, however, weren't placing blame. They both said it will help the 25-year-old point guard succeed with the national team down the road, giving him the tools to stick in the league this season.

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