Former Bucks give ex-Buck Jabari Parker a hand

It was a Milwaukee Bucks summer reunion of sorts.

Over the last three months, former Bucks forward Jabari Parker has gotten together and worked out with two other past Bucks players and intends on working with another former Bucks coach next week.

Parker, who left the Bucks during free agency in July to sign a two-year, $40 million contract with the Chicago Bulls, began the summer by working out with Ray Allen in New York.

Allen, who starred for the Bucks from 1996-2003, was recently inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Allen, one of the greatest shooters in NBA history, spent four days working with Parker and, as one might assume, offered up shooting tips to Parker.

Allen came away suitably impressed with the 23-year-old Parker.

“He’s a very good, humble, down-to-earth guy,’’ Allen said of Parker. “As a player,  he reminds me of Paul (Pierce) but bigger. His potential is so great.’’

After spending time with Allen, Parker trained for several weeks with another former Bucks standout guard: John Lucas. Parker worked out twice a day with Lucas, first in Houston and then in Chicago.

Parker is now expected to fly to Phoenix, where he’ll meet with Frank Johnson, who had been an assistant coach for the Bucks last season. Parker had a good rapport with Johnson, who helped him come back from his second anterior cruciate ligament surgery.

Even after Johnson was dismissed – as part of the Jason Kidd firing — Parker continued to stay in contact with him.

“Yeah I’m looking forward to  working with Jabari,’’ Johnson said in a telephone interview from his home in Phoenix. “I watched some of his games after I left there (Milwaukee); I watched the playoffs and he had some very good moments.

“Jabari is a very gifted player. Offensively, he can do things not many people can do in our league. But there are things he can work on and he knows that.’’

Knicks, Nets also courted Parker

While the Bulls wound up getting Parker, several other teams expressed interest in landing him during free agency or in a sign and trade scenario.

A league source said the Sacramento Kings offered Parker a deal for just more than $18 million a season and that the Brooklyn Nets were prepared to offer around $16 million.

Also, a Knicks source said the team gave Parker a physical – just days after Parker went through a physical for the Nets. The source said the Knicks were “highly interested’’ in landing Parker in a sign-and-trade deal with the Bucks. One of the Knicks who was mentioned in a potential sign-and-trade transaction was veteran shooting guard Courtney Lee.

But Parker, who had some significant games late in the regular season (35 points versus the Nuggets and 25 points versus Philadelphia, along with two, 17-point outings off the bench in the playoffs against Boston) ended up in Chicago after young Bucks general manager Jon Horst and management grossly miscalculated Parker’s value and didn’t set aside nearly enough money (reportedly around $14M) to match the Bulls’ offer.

 

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