After watching the Milwaukee Bucks lose again to the injury-ravaged Boston Celtics last night, one thing was certain– this team needs to make some moves in the off-season. The second thing I thought of was where the hell is Jabari Parker? Parker played a meager 10 minutes, and has now played a total of 24 minutes through two games. I know the Bucks fired Jason Kidd, but did they actually get worse at head coach with Joe Prunty at the helm? They’ve looked lost in their first two games, and their rotations have been terrible. So yes, they did get worse, but that is a discussion for another day.
Back to Parker. This is the same guy who was the second pick in the NBA Draft and was supposed to be a cornerstone of their team along with Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Of course Parker had a huge setback when he tore his ACL, but even after returning, his future in Milwaukee is not looking good. I think Parker himself knows he’s gone in the off-season. Check out the quote he gave to Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post when asked about his upcoming free agency:
"“Honestly, it’s uncertain,” Parker said after a recent practice, in regards to his future in Milwaukee and his restricted free agency this summer. “I know that, just looking from afar, [the Bucks] will be fine."
"“But I just have to see what’s going to happen with my future, and that’s uncertain. But I know for them, they’ll be fine regardless. They’ve been doing well.”"
Does that sound like a guy that is coming back? And that quote was before this playoff debacle, ouch! Parker gambled on himself when he turned down the Bucks offer, and from a financial aspect, it looks like the right move. There are going to be several bad teams with cap space this summer. Parker will only be 23, and young, restricted free agents rarely change teams, so there will be plenty of interest. Parker showed some of his upside after coming back, putting up 35 points and 10 rebounds in a loss to Denver, 25 points and 5 boards in a loss to the Sixers, and has had some nice poster dunks as well:
With Parker and the Bucks likely headed for divorce, let’s take a look at some of the teams that have money to throw at a young free agent. After looking through some cap situations, the Atlanta Hawks, Sacramento Kings, and Chicago Bulls all come to mind:
1. Atlanta Hawks:
The Hawks have tons of cap space and are desperate for a star to build their team around.
2. Sacramento Kings
- Cap space, and they would have a plethora of young guys to build around, including this year’s draft pick (should be #7)
3. Chicago Bulls(personally I don’t see him being a good fit for Fred Hoiberg’s offense, or defensively next to Lauri Markkanen):
- Parker is a Chicago native, and the Bulls should have the cap space, even if they keep Zach LaVine (depending on the deals).
- Parker is doing big things for the community. I had the pleasure of meeting Parker at an ESPN event last year, and was truly impressed with the initiatives he has started to improve our city. He is a very well-spoken and polished kid who would have a major impact on Chicago off the court.
The biggest issue for Parker: is he is a good fit for the new NBA that spaces the floor and bombs 3’s? His defensive issues will always be brought up, but being a career 35.5% 3PT shooter does not help his cause. Of course it is a small sample set, and he still needs time to develop his game after the injury, but it is definitely something teams will take into account before throwing big dollars at him.