Bucks plan to keep Brandon Jennings

The Milwaukee Bucks have made re-signing point guard Brandon Jennings a priority, according to a report by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

The newspaper reported that general manager John Hammond plans to be aggressive in trying to sign Jennings to a long-term contract when free agency opens Monday. Teams are allowed to discuss contracts from Monday through July 10 when the moratorium ends and contracts can be signed.

Milwaukee already has made a $4.3 million qualifying offer to Jennings and retain the right to match any offers for the restricted free agent.

"It's our intention for Brandon Jennings to remain a Milwaukee Buck," Hammond told the paper. "We're hoping to negotiate with him fairly through the July process.

"At the conclusion of our negotiations, if we have not reached a deal and they choose to go out and seek an opportunity in the open market, our intention then would still be to match."

The club's starting point guard since he was selected 10th overall in 2009, Jennings averaged 17.5 points and a career-best 6.5 assists in 80 games this past season. The 23-year-old has started 289 of 291 over four seasons, averaging 17 points.

"I don't think we should ever negate what Brandon has done for us over the last four years," Hammond said. "In his four years in the NBA he's been on two playoff teams. He's made tremendous efforts for us.

"He's been a warrior. It would be very unfair to us to underrate his prominence within our team."

In addition to Jennings, the Bucks also have unrestricted free agents in Monta Ellis, J.J. Redick and Mike Dunleavy. Ellis is expected to depart after rejecting a two-year extension last fall and opting out of his contract earlier this month.

The Bucks, who have a new coach in Larry Drew, were swept in the first round of the playoffs this past season by the eventual champion Miami Heat.