- Tim MacMahon, ESPN Staff Writer
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Could Brandon Jennings fulfill his potential in Dallas? The Mavericks are apparently intrigued by the possibility.
Sources tell ESPN.com’s Marc Stein that the Mavs have a “level of interest” in Jennings if the Milwaukee Bucks make the restricted free agent-to-be point guard available before the Feb. 21 trade deadline.
Jennings, 23, is averaging 18.5 points and 6.1 assists in his fourth NBA season. He arguably fits Mark Cuban’s description given for potential trade targets: a young talent who would immediately be a top-three player on the Mavs’ roster with the potential to develop into an All-Star.
“I’ll analogize it to Steve Nash,” Cuban said Monday, speaking in generalities about the type of player the Mavs would target. “Whatever we saw in Nash and (Michael) Finley with Donnie (Nelson]) back then, same type of thing. There’s been lots of players we picked up over time that weren’t All-Stars that turned into cornerstones. We’d take those.
“They don’t have to be proven. They’d have to be someone we think it’s just a question of time or system or coaching or whatever.”
Darren Collison has put up decent numbers for Dallas this season, averaging 12.8 points and 5.4 assists while shooting 48.2 percent from the floor, but it’s been evident that the Mavs don’t see him as their point guard of the future. After all, they demoted him to start Derek Fisher during the 37-year-old’s nine-game stint with the Mavs and had 37-year-old Mike James close a few games when he was fresh out of the D-League.
Jennings, however, comes with a couple of red flags. Like Collison, his size (6-foot-1, 169 pounds) often puts him at a significant disadvantage defensively. Jennings is also a volume scorer who shoots a poor percentage, hitting less than 40 percent of his shots from the floor this season and throughout his career.
The Bucks would likely want to dump power forward Drew Gooden in a deal, but that’d be a steep price for the Mavs to pay for a player who has fallen out of Milwaukee’s rotation. Gooden, who played 46 games for the Mavs in 2009-10 before being included in a blockbuster deal with the Washington Wizards, is due $6.7 million in each of the next two seasons.