August 01, 2013
By LARRY LAGE (AP Sports Writer)
DETROIT (AP) -- The Detroit Pistons officially announced the next step in their win-now plan Wednesday, acquiring point guard Brandon Jennings from the Milwaukee Bucks for guard Brandon Knight and two other players.
''We believe Brandon's talent and skill-set will complement the core group of players we have assembled on our roster in a positive way,'' Pistons president of basketball operations Joe Dumars said in a statement released by the team.
The Pistons also gave up two seldom-used players, forward Khris Middleton and center Viacheslav Kravtsov.
Detroit has signed free-agents Josh Smith, Chauncey Billups and Luigi Datome this offseason after drafting shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope with the No. 8 overall pick, but it didn't have a standout point guard until agreeing to a deal with Milwaukee. The Pistons seem to have improved their chances of ending their four-year postseason drought with a series of moves this summer.
The 23-year-old Jennings averaged 17.5 points and a career-high 6.5 assists last season, ranking among the league's top 20 in both categories, and 2.5 turnovers. The restricted free agent has agreed to a $24 million, three-year contract with the Pistons.
Milwaukee drafted Jennings 10th overall in 2009 out of Oak Hill Academy and he averaged 17 points, 5.7 assists and 2.4 turnovers over four seasons with the Bucks, who could've matched any offer made to the restricted free agent this offseason.
''We evaluated all of our options and we determined this was the best one for us at this time,'' Bucks general manager John Hammond said in a telephone interview.
Detroit drafted Knight eighth overall in 2011 out of Kentucky. He averaged 13.1 points, 3.9 assists and 2.7 turnovers over the last two seasons.
''We're excited about being able to add a young point guard, who we expect to have a long and successful career with us,'' Hammond said.
Middleton, a second-round pick last year, averaged 6.1 points in 27 games with the Pistons.
''This is going to be a great opportunity for Khris because he's going to have a chance to earn viable minutes and we hope he takes advantage of it,'' Hammond said.
The 6-foot-11 Kravtsov averaged 3.1 points in 25 games last season as a rookie, and might not end up being on the opening-day roster with the Bucks.
Milwaukee, coming off its first postseason in three years, signed free agent combo guard Gary Neal to a two-year deal worth just under $6 million on Tuesday. Neal will help add some scoring to a backcourt that will be without Monta Ellis and J.J. Redick next season.