The odds are almost insurmountable Jabari Parker will be donning a Milwaukee Bucks uniform at the start of the 2018-2019 season.
Whether its Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer or general manager Jon Horst, Parker’s name is seldom, if ever, mentioned in conversations about next season. Even Bucks rookie Donte DiVincenzo didn’t mention Parker’s name when talking about his teammates for next season.
Rumors have circulated in Las Vegas that Parker, the Bucks talented 22-year combo forward, could be on the cusp of signing a free-agent deal.
“This could happen sooner than later,’’ said an official attending the NBA Summer League
Of course, the Bucks are hoping a sign-and-trade deal can be worked out in order to recoup a player or two for Parker, whom they made the No. 2 overall selection in the 2014 NBA draft.
According to a source with access to NBA payrolls, Atlanta has, by far, the most money available at approximately $24 million. However, the Hawks are in a full-fledged rebuild and, barring a last-second change of heart, won’t pursue any high-ticket players like Parker.
The Hawks would then be in the enviable position of having a blockbuster 2019 summer, when they’ll have two likely lottery picks—their own and Dallas, which is protected through the top five picks – while having a ton of money to spend on free agents.
Besides Atlanta, the two other teams with a substantial amount of money to pursue Parker are the Chicago Bulls and Sacramento Kings. The Bulls and Kings each have roughly $20 million lat their disposal for Parker, who is believed to be seeking a contract in that range.
Some NBA observers speculate Chicago would be the ideal spot for Parker, who was born and raised there and become a local legend after a phenomenal prep career which included four straight state championships.
More importantly, Parker could give the Bulls a big-time scoring threat and give the Bulls arguably the best young frontcourt in the game, joining Wendell Carter and Lauri Markkanen, the Bulls’ lottery selections the last two years, respectively.
An NBA executive claims the Bulls “most definitely’’ are interesting in acquiring the 6-foot-8 Parker.
As for Sacramento, the Kings are trying desperately to upgrade their starting lineup and acquire a top-flight scorer. The Kings recently made Chicago restricted free-agent shooting guard Zach LaVine a lucrative offer that the Bulls subsequently matched.
A Kings official, who requested anonymity, said the team was interested in Parker, adding “He’s a viable option.’’
If either Chicago or Sacramento offers a large contract to Parker, it may be difficult for the Bucks to match. The Bucks, according to several sources, have been feverish trying to trade one of their higher-paid players –most notable John Henson or Matthew Dellavedova – but haven’t any success.
Parker, who has undergone two ACL surgeries, played impressively down the stretch last season for the Bucks, averaging nearly 9 points and seven rebounds in the final three weeks of the season.
Ready to roll
Former Bucks coach George Karl was in Las Vegas this week for the NBA Summer League.
Karl, who had been battling cancer, looked terrific and his spirits were high. In other words, he looked like he’s ready to get back into basketball.
“Right now, I’m trying to find my niche,’’ Karl said.
Karl, the fifth winningest coach in NBA history with 1,175 wins, said he was open to any position with a team, adding, “I would be willing to be an assistant coach in the right situation.’’
Son of ex-Bucks player playing for Knicks
Luke Kornet is playing the New York Knicks in the NBA Summer League.
Kornet, who averaged 6.7 points and 3.2 rebounds off the bench as a rookie for the Knicks last season, is the son of former Bucks forward Frank Kornet. The latter was the Bucks’ second-round pick in the 1989 draft and played two seasons for the Bucks. He is now the girls varsity basketball coach at Harpeth Hall in Nashville, Tenn.
For those keeping track, former Bucks coach Jerry Stackhouse and former Golden State head coach Mark Jackson both said they weren’t interviewed for the Bucks head coaching job, which went to Mike Budenholzer.
Stackhouse acknowledged he did interview for the then vacant Toronto and New York head coaching jobs, but didn’t interview with Orlando, even though there was a report that Stackhouse’s interview with the team didn’t go well.
— Photo by Bill Tennessen