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NBA PM: Jennings Open to Sixth-Man Role

Brandon Jennings updates his status and says he’s open to coming off the Pistons’ bench.



Jennings Open to Sixth-Man Role

When the Detroit Pistons acquired Reggie Jackson from the Oklahoma City Thunder and then followed up the move by giving him a five-year contract worth $80 million this summer, it made it abundantly clear that Jackson is the organization’s point guard of the future.

One thing that hasn’t been discussed much: where does that leave Brandon Jennings? The 25-year-old had been Detroit’s starting point guard, but he suffered a season-ending ruptured his left Achilles tendon in January.

Jennings has started 409 of the 412 games he has played in during his six-year NBA career, and he was averaging 15.4 points, 6.6 assists and 1.1 steals in his second season with the Pistons prior to the injury.

However, in a recent appearance on “The Point Game Podcast,” Jennings was positive about the acquisition of Jackson and made it clear that he’s open accepting a bench role for the first time in his career.

“Bringing in Reggie Jackson was smart,” Jennings said, as transcribed by Steve Schrader of the Detroit Free Press. “I’m supposed to be out, really, for nine months, and they need a point guard.

“My main thing is just to get healthy. Hey, if I have to come off the bench and be the sixth man or whatever, I’m fine with that. Man, I just want to play basketball again. I just want to get back on the court and have fun.”

During the interview, Jennings also provided an update on his status and when he may be making his return to the court.

“Basically, I’m just taking my time,” Jennings said. “I’m going to come back when I’m ready.

“I don’t know if I’ll be ready for training camp. I don’t know for sure. But I’m definitely going to take my time through training camp and also through the preseason. I probably won’t be back to myself until at least around December. That’s a for sure. You know, I haven’t played in seven months.”

While he obviously hasn’t been able to do on-court work as he recovers from the injury, Jennings has been able to watch film and study other players. He’s hoping his film work will allow him to add aspects of each player’s game to his own once he’s healthy again and able to play.

“I actually had time to sit back, and I really started studying other players’ games,” Jennings said. “I got this highlight tape on Kenny Anderson, Tim Hardaway, and I’ve been studying a lot on James Harden lately, how he just gets to the free throw line easily.”

Jennings has averaged 16.6 points, 6.2 assists and 1.4 steals throughout his NBA career. He’s set to earn $8,344,497 in the 2015-16 season (second-most on the Pistons, trailing only Jackson), and then he’ll become an unrestricted free agent next offseason.

Bryant, O’Neal Discuss Their Feud

This Monday, Kobe Bryant will be joining Shaquille O’Neal on “The Big Podcast With Shaq.” Today, a number of snippets were released to hype up the conversation between the two NBA legends, who famously feuded during their time together on the Los Angeles Lakers.

When the podcast’s co-host John Kincade asked if there are any comments they wish they could take back, O’Neal and Bryant both seemed to regret aspects of the public feud.

“A lot of things [were said], you just played the clip where I said I wanted to be traded; I definitely did not want to leave L.A.” O’Neal said in a snippet played during Mason and Ireland’s radio show on ESPN Los Angeles and transcribed by Serena Winters of Lakers Nation. “But you know that’s how you’ve got to talk when you’re in business, especially when you think you’re in control. Definitely didn’t want to leave L.A. A lot of stuff was said out of the heat of the moment. I guarantee I don’t remember a lot of stuff that they said because I changed my thought process of, you know what we won three out of four, what the hell are you all talking about, this is not really even a story.”

“Here’s the thing though, when you say it at the time you actually mean it and then when you get older you have more perspective and you’re like holy s—, I was an idiot when I was a kid,” Bryant added. “To me, the most important thing was really just keep your mouth shut. You don’t need to go to the press with stuff. You keep it internal and we have our arguments and our disagreements, but I think having our debates within the press was something I wish would’ve been avoided, but it did kind of create this whirlwind around us as a team with myself and Shaq and the press and the media that just put so much pressure on us as an organization.”

The duo won three straight championships from 2000 to 2002, but they had trouble sharing the spotlight.

Bryant, while admitting his was “an idiot” kid, did try to explain his view on the situation at that time.

“Philosophically, could you imagine how many years would Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain be playing together with Wilt in his prime and Michael wanting to come up?” Bryant said in audio provided to Bleacher Report. “How long is that going to last before Michael says ‘You know what, it’s time for me.'”

The full podcast will available on Monday through Podcast One.

Alex Kennedy is the Managing Editor of Basketball Insiders and this is his 10th season covering the NBA. He is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

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