Former second overall pick Jabari Parker will be eligible for restricted free agency this offseason, and given his underwhelming play down the stretch and the Bucks’ lack of cap flexibility, his future in Milwaukee isn’t a lock. Still, Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo fully expects his teammate to be back, as Matt Velazquez of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel details.
“Jabari ain’t going nowhere,” Antetokounmpo said. “He’s going to be here and he’s going to be ready for next season. And we will be all excited and playing in the new arena. And everyone is going to be having fun.”
While Antetokounmpo seemed “totally confident” about Parker’s status, the RFA forward’s future will ultimately hinge on whether he and the Bucks can reach a deal that both sides are happy with. If another suitor swoops in and makes Parker an offer he can’t refuse, Milwaukee would face a difficult decision on whether or not to match that offer sheet.
It has been a rough year for Parker, who missed more than half the season as he recovered from a second ACL tear. He showed flashes of his old self upon returning, but his role (24.0 MPG) was modest, and he struggled to make an impact in the postseason (10.0 PPG on .452/.316/.615 shooting). A winter report suggested that the Bucks offered Parker an extension worth $18MM per year last offseason during his ACL rehab process, but the 23-year-old said earlier this month that he “wished” that offer had been on the table.
Despite his comments on Parker, Antetokounmpo downplayed the idea that he has – or wants to have – a significant role in influencing roster decisions, writes Velazquez. The Bucks star would like to remain in the loop when the team makes major moves, but says he prefers to trust the front office on those decisions.
“I just want them to do the right moves for us to be successful, that’s it,” Antetokounmpo said. “That’s what I care about. I care about coming back and winning games, that’s it. At the end of the day, you’ve got to draw a line … ‘Can you help me? Can you not?’ Overall, our goal is to be one the best teams in the East, win a championship.”