Free-agent point guard Brandon Jennings is headed back overseas. The 27-year-old signed a $1.5 million deal on Friday to play for the Shanxi Brave Dragons of the Chinese Basketball Association, as first reported by The Undefeated’s Marc J. Spears.
This will be Jennings’ second stint overseas after famously becoming the first high school player to play abroad in order to satisfy the NBA’s draft eligibility requirement. After spending a tumultuous year in Italy, Jennings declared for the draft in 2009 and was selected 10th overall by the Milwaukee Bucks.
Jennings has had an up-and-down NBA career, playing for five franchises over an eight-year span. Most recently, he served as a role player for the New York Knicks last season before being waived and signing with the playoff-bound Washington Wizards. Jennings struggled in D.C., shooting 27.4 percent from the field in 23 regular-season appearances and watching his minutes dwindle due to ineffectiveness in Washington’s seven-game second-round playoff defeat at the hands of the Boston Celtics.
The former NBA All-Rookie First-Team selection was a bona fide starting lead guard for the Bucks and Detroit Pistons through his first five and a half NBA seasons, but a devastating Achilles’ tendon injury during his 2014-15 campaign has somewhat derailed a once-promising career. Still, the veteran holds solid career averages of 14.3 points and 5.7 assists per game.
This has been an especially difficult free-agent period for experienced point guards. Proven players such as former All-Stars Derrick Rose and Rajon Rondo have signed modest one-year contracts with the Cleveland Cavaliers and New Orleans Pelicans, respectively. Another veteran point guard and former All-Star, Deron Williams, remains unsigned.
Jennings, who expressed interest in returning stateside before the end of the NBA season, will have another opportunity to latch on with an NBA team once Shanxi’s season concludes.