The Bucks made perhaps the most high-profile acquisition at a subdued trade deadline, bringing J.J. Redick into the fold as a third guard. He’s bolstered the team’s scoring punch off the bench, but he, like starting guards Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis, could sign elsewhere in free agency this summer.
Each member of Milwaukee’s backcourt trio has a different contractual route out of town. Redick’s is the simplest, since his deal is up this summer, and he’ll be an unrestricted free agent. There have been indications that the team is prepared to offer him a five-year, $40MM contract to stick around.
Ellis can also elect to become an unrestricted free agent if he invokes the early-termination option on his contract to turn down the $11MM he’s due next season. Marc Stein of ESPN.com explained last night how there are conflicting opinions on which way he’ll go with that option.
Jennings is in the final year of his rookie-scale contract and is set for restricted free agency this summer. The Bucks can match any offer for Jennings as long as they extend him a one-year, $4.531MM qualifying offer, but Jennings has threatened to sign that qualifying offer, taking much less than market value in return for unrestricted free agency in 2014.
The Bucks have Bird rights for all three players, and they can give them all more money over more years than other teams can offer. Milwaukee has only about $30MM tied up for next season, and Ersan Ilyasova, in the first season of a five-year, $40MM contract, is their only major long-term commitment. The Bucks will have a potential extension for Larry Sanders to worry about this summer, but they appear to have plenty of payroll flexibility.
So, assuming Ellis invokes his option to get out of his deal, giving Milwaukee a decision to make regarding all three of its premier guards this summer, let us know which of them you think they should push to re-sign.