Jabari Parker

Central Notes: Nance, Parker, Booker

Larry Nance Jr. has never been a prolific three-pointer shooter, evidenced by his 12 career treys, but he is not scared to shoot the ball from the perimeter, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com writes. Nance has made just one triple in seven attempts this season but he has impressed the Cavaliers in practice with his range.

Primarily known for his athleticism and defense, Nance did not bring a known mid-range game to Cleveland. Head coach Tyronn Lue admitted that he was not aware that Nance could shoot threes. With Tristan Thompson out for a while, Nance will see time at center and he is comfortable shooting from beyond the arc if he is given space.

“If they sag off me I will shoot it,” Nance told Cleveland.com this past Monday. “Obviously I’m not going to be K-Love with it or anything. But if they sag off me and don’t respect me as a shooter I feel completely comfortable (making them pay) and shooting it now.”

In a separate story, Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com writes that Nance will start until Thompson is healthy. Lue was encouraged by Nance’s contributions off the bench after he traded from the Lakers.

“I was just letting (Nance) get a chance to figure out our offense, our defense and what we want to do,” Lue said. “I liked what he did off the bench because we need that spark and that energy.”

Check out other Central Division notes below:

  • Jabari Parker‘s career has hit two major snags, both of them being torn ACLs that cost him significant playing time. He was reportedly close to an extension with the Bucks that would have paid him $18MM annually — while recovering from the second ACL injury — but it didn’t happen. As he approaches free agency, Parker’s future with the Bucks remains a dilemma in the short- and long-term, NBC Sports’ Dan Feldman writes.
  • Trevor Booker was waived by the Sixers and while he had other options, he chose to sign with the Pacers. Booker’s defense and rebounding is something the Pacers have been looking to add, Clifton Brown of the Indianapolis Star writes. “I had a few other choices,” Booker said. “I factored in everything. I thought I could come to this team and bring something positive.”
  • The Pistons have been hampered by injuries all season, primarily in the backcourt. Those injuries have impacted the team’s perimeter shooting, but head coach Stan Van Gundy does not want to use injuries as an excuse, Rod Beard of the Detroit News writes.  “I’m not going to make an excuse on that. We’ve got good players and we should be playing better. We’re capable of playing better and I think we will play better,” Van Gundy said. “Nobody wants to be without guys for long periods of time, but injuries are a fact of life in the NBA and you have to play through them.”

2018 Free Agent Stock Watch: Milwaukee Bucks

For the first time in over a decade, the Bucks have an enviable core with an ambitious ceiling. That they’re on track for a second consecutive playoff berth with one of the game’s hottest young stars is a testament to the principles put in place under the franchise’s new regime.

Of course the Bucks didn’t win the lottery over night. The club that they’ve assembled – a merry band of overachievers who have overachieved so much they may actually just be regular achievers we’ve been underestimating all along – is deep and talented.

The small-market Bucks have committed to guys who work for them and necessarily so, but while that’s all fun and games when your team has Khris Middleton and John Henson locked into team-friendly contracts because they saw value, it stings a little when there’s $20.1MM tied up between Matthew Dellavedova and Mirza Teletovic, with the luxury tax looming large.

Don’t get it twisted, the Bucks have tactfully leveraged their organization’s strength while minimizing environmental challenges outside of their control. The only downside? Now that the Bucks have a core worth hanging onto – players that they’re committed to and reliant upon – managing finances becomes that much more important.

Sean Kilpatrick, SG, 28 (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $0.8MM contract in 2018
Kilpatrick showed that he could put points on the board in an extended stay with the Nets between 2015 and 2017. While he hasn’t had much of an opportunity to showcase his scoring skills so far in Milwaukee, you can bet the organization knows what he’s capable of when given a chance to fill reserve minutes out of the backcourt. Given the team’s financial constraints, it would be wise to lock in an affordable depth piece like Kilpatrick when given the opportunity.

Jabari Parker, PF, 23 (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $22.2MM contract in 2014Jabari Parker vertical
A pair of ACL injuries have cast doubt on Parker’s value as a pending restricted free agent. While once it seemed extremely plausible – if not borderline inevitable – that the forward would draw a max contract out of somebody, that’s no sure thing in 2018. We wrote earlier this month that the Bucks seemed reluctant to offer Parker any more than $18MM per year. If Parker’s play from now until the end of the 2017/18 campaign justifies more than that, the franchise would need to get creative in order to bring him back in a scenario that’s financially palatable for ownership. Expect Parker to land an offer sheet from one of the few teams with cap space this summer, and for the Bucks to shed salary in order to comfortably match it and avoid the tax, even if it costs them an asset to do so. While Parker can’t be credited for much of Milwaukee’s recent success, he’s a big reason why they have such an intriguing ceiling.

Jason Terry, SG, 40 (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $2.3MM contract in 2017
There’s no doubt that having veteran leadership in the locker room is beneficial to young players. Still, while Terry could conceivably present as an affordable option for rounding out the depth chart next summer, his on-court value is minimal.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Trade Rumors: Hernangomez, Bucks, Hawks, Raps

Word broke on Monday that Willy Hernangomez‘s representatives have asked the Knicks to trade the young center, though as Marc Berman and Zach Braziller of The New York Post note, that trade request was hardly shocking news. Hernangomez had publicly said several times already this season that he’d welcome a move to another team if that’s what it took for him to receive more playing time.

According to Ian Begley of ESPN, more than a dozen teams have expressed some level of interest in Hernangomez, and several of those clubs have put specific offers on the table for the Knicks. Still, New York’s front office won’t give Hernangomez away — the team is seeking a significant return for the 23-year-old, per Begley.

One source who has spoken to Knicks higher-ups expects the team to hang onto Hernangomez through the deadline unless a deal returns better long-term assets than the young big man, according to Berman and Braziller. Meanwhile, Begley notes that the Knicks are confident they’ll be able to reintegrate Hernangomez if they don’t trade him by Thursday.

As we wait to see what Hernangomez’s future holds, here are more trade-related notes and rumors from around the NBA:

  • Even after acquiring Tyler Zeller, the Bucks remain interested in Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, tweets Gery Woelfel of The Racine Journal Times. However, according to Woelfel, Milwaukee is unwilling to give up a key piece like Malcolm Brogdon, Khris Middleton, or Jabari Parker in exchange for Jordan.
  • While the Hawks are ready to deal, GM Travis Schlenk tells Michael Cunningham of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he doesn’t feel pressure to make moves, since the club has already stockpiled a number of extra draft picks. “We are willing to use our (cap) flexibility if we can get assets we want,” Schlenk said. “But I feel like we’ve done enough early on (that) we have the flexibility to sit back and not take too much (salary) on because we have so many picks. We don’t feel pressure to do anything because of that, but if there is an opportunity that makes sense for us we are certainly going to take a hard look at it.”
  • Michael Grange of Rogers Sportsnet (Twitter link) is hearing “more and more” that the Raptors will be minor players at the trade deadline, if they’re active at all. Toronto has no interest in Tyreke Evans and views RFA-to-be Rodney Hood as too pricey, says Grange.
  • Daryl Morey and the Rockets view the buyout period as just as likely to result in a roster addition as the trade market, per Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. The Rockets still may complete a deal this week, with an emergency backup guard atop their wish list, but they want to hang onto their 2020 first-round pick, says Feigen. Houston’s 2019 first-round pick can’t be moved, since the team has already traded its 2018 first-rounder.

Bucks Rumors: Parker, Kidd, Giannis, Trades

The Bucks made headlines last week by parting ways with head coach Jason Kidd, and another major event for the franchise is right around the corner, as Jabari Parker is set to return on Friday from last year’s ACL injury. With Parker poised to get back on the court, ESPN’s Zach Lowe takes a look at the situation in Milwaukee, sharing a couple interesting tidbits on the 22-year-old’s contract situation.

According to Lowe, the Bucks and Parker discussed an extension last offseason that would have been worth $54MM over three years. The former No. 2 overall pick wasn’t willing to accept that offer, so the two sides discussed other possible deals, including shorter- and longer-term scenarios. However, Milwaukee’s per-year limit was always right around $18MM, says Lowe.

Parker – who views himself as a max player, per Lowe – will now have at least a couple months to prove that he’s worth a massive investment, though it remains to be seen how high the Bucks will be prepared to go this summer when Parker reaches restricted free agency.

Here’s more from Lowe on the Bucks:

  • Providing a few more details on Kidd’s ouster, Lowe says that the former Bucks head coach had a “sometimes strained” relationship with the team’s medical staff, and that some players wanted more communication and support from Kidd.
  • Although there were reports indicating that Giannis Antetokounmpo was “devastated” as a result of Kidd’s firing, the move isn’t expected to result in a lingering rift between the club and its star player, writes Lowe.
  • Prior to acquiring Eric Bledsoe from the Suns, the Bucks discussed a similar deal with the Hawks for Dennis Schroder, league sources tell Lowe.
  • The Bucks continue to be active in trade discussions, but talks with the Clippers for DeAndre Jordan haven’t gotten anywhere near serious, according to Lowe. The ESPN scribe suggests that Derrick Favors might be a decent fit for Milwaukee, but isn’t sure whether the team has the right assets to appeal to the Jazz.

Kyler’s Latest: G. Hill, Kings, Mavs, Randle, Parker

In the wake of this week’s massive Blake Griffin trade, Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders assessed the trade market in an effort to determine which teams may be the next to make moves. We covered some of Kyler’s Clippers-related items on Tuesday, and a Rodney Hood/Stanley Johnson note from his article was reported elsewhere, but there are plenty more tidbits worth rounding up. Let’s dive in…

  • The rumored deal involving George Hill between the Cavaliers and Kings isn’t dead yet, but both teams are exploring the market in search of trades they might like more, per Kyler. The two teams could revisit a Hill swap on or before February 8.
  • The Kings still appear willing to move a young player or two for a first-round pick, with Skal Labissiere and Malachi Richardson among those trade candidates, Kyler writes.
  • The Mavericks‘ preferred target is Julius Randle, but they may start to seriously consider Labissiere if the Lakers don’t engage in Randle talks, says Kyler. Still, Mavs sources tell Kyler that they place a lot of value on first-round picks, so it sounds like they’ll be reluctant to move one.
  • Bucks sources have “aggressively downplayed” the idea that the team will trade forward Jabari Parker, who is returning this week from an ACL injury. However, the team acknowledges that its cap situation could complicate contract talks with the former No. 2 overall pick this offseason. Bucks ownership appears willing to commit to Parker if management wants to lock him up, according to Kyler, who notes that the forward would be a prime trade chip if Milwaukee wants to make a splash for a big-name center.

Jabari Parker Cleared To Play Friday

Bucks forward Jabari Parker has been medically cleared to play and is scheduled to make his season debut Friday, the team tweets.

Parker has made steady progress throughout the season to get to this point. He suffered the second ACL tear of his career last February.

Parker was expected back before the All-Star break and this confirms the timetable. “Within these couple weeks. I think it’s in the air for now,” Parker told the Associated Press last week.

Parker was averaging a career-best 2o.1 PPG, 6.2 RPG and 2.8 APG last season before he was sidelined. Parker’s rehab included several G League assignment to get in extra practices.
Parker will likely have a minutes restriction as he works his way back into game shape. Parker, who is making $6.8MM this season, is still on his rookie deal. He’ll become a restricted free agent this summer if the Bucks extend an $8.85MM qualifying offer.

Central Notes: Parker, Turner, Wade

Injured Bucks forward Jabari Parker is still expected back in the lineup the week before the February 18 All-Star Game, Genaro Armas of The Associated Press writes. The 22-year-old is already practicing with the team without restrictions.

Parker’s return will come weeks after the Bucks fired the only NBA coach he ever knew. While there are conflicting accounts about Parker’s relationship with Jason Kidd, there’s no denying that he had a close one with assistant coach Frank Johnson, who was let go after Kidd was.

It was kind of really hard for me to accept,” Parker told Matt Velazquez of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, noting that he saw Johnson every day and looked forward to their time together. “Not having him by my side is really going to be hard for me.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • After a nine-game absence, Pacers big man Myles Turner needs to shake some rust off and work his way back into game shape, Clifton Brown of The Indianapolis Star writes. “You could see that he was a little hesitant,” head coach Nate McMillan said. “He had an open look that I’ve never seen Myles pass up. We knew he would be a little rusty. We wanted to be patient with him and really watch him.
  • The Cavaliers expect Dwyane Wade back in the lineup on Tuesday, Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com writes. The guard has been out of action for two games following the death of his agent Henry Thomas. Thomas is said to have served as a father figure for Wade.
  • The Bulls have seen their offense stagnate without Kris Dunn, Mark Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago writes. The sophomore guard’s absence has really driven home the impact that he has on the team when healthy.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 1/24/18

Here are Wednesday’s G League assignments and recalls from across the NBA:

  • The Bucks have recalled Jabari Parker from the G League, the team announced today (via Twitter). The former No. 2 overall pick, who continues to rehab his ACL injury, practiced with the Wisconsin Herd on Monday and again on Tuesday.

Bucks Notes: Parker, Walker, Williams

Scrapping for their spot in the Eastern Conference playoff picture, the Bucks know they need to rally around one another in the wake of the franchise’s recent coaching change, Matt Velazquez of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes.

Velasquez writes that young players like Thon Maker, who haven’t gone through a coaching change before, have been seeking advice from veterans who have. Considering that Jason Kidd was at the helm in Milwaukee for three and a half seasons there are a number of players like Maker for whom Kidd was the only, or at least the longest-tenured, coach they had had.

I think for the most part the message was, ‘It’s on us,’ ” Bucks veteran Jason Terry said of a team meeting after the news was announced. “Once they make the decision — which was a tough one — that they did, they put the onus on the players. We understand it’s going to take us as a group collectively.

There’s more out of Milwaukee:

  • Sidelined forward Jabari Parker rejected the notion that there was tension between he and Jason Kidd, Matt Velazquez of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes. “He was my coach for four years and it’s always been a good relationship,” Parker said. “Any coach in a head position, we’re going to have disagreements, but most importantly he helped me.”
  • The Bucks were among the teams that contacted the Hornets about Kemba Walker prior to Michael Jordan saying that he’s not looking to deal the point guard unless he gets a marquee player in return, Marc Stein of The New York Times tweets.
  • Among the frontrunners to land the full-time head coaching gig in Milwaukee is Monty Williams, Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports writes. The well-respected former Pelicans coach is currently part of the Spurs’ front office and could be available to take over right away.
  • The G League affiliate of the Bucks has obtained the rights to both Gary Neal and Ricky Ledo, the team announced. Ledo is a former second-round pick of Milwaukee’s while Neal suited up for the big league club in 2013/14.

Kyler’s Latest: Magic, Walker, Kawhi, Bucks, Blazers

Teams that have been in contact with the Magic believe that Orlando’s front office is looking to shed some salary and trade players that don’t fit the club’s direction, Steve Kyler reports in his latest piece for Basketball Insiders. However, draft picks don’t appear to be atop the Magic’s wish list, with the team preferring to acquire expiring contracts and/or players on rookie contracts. Kyler suggests that Orlando would prefer to acquire players that are a little further along, rather than rebooting its rebuilding process by focusing on future picks.

While the Magic have “seriously” gauged potential trade interest in Elfrid Payton, Evan Fournier still looks like the player most likely to be moved at the deadline, according to Kyler. Fournier is enjoying a career year, posting a career-best 18.0 PPG through 38 games this season, and he seems to be generating the most interest from rival teams.

Here are a few more highlights from Kyler’s latest look at the trade market:

  • League sources that have engaged the Hornets in Kemba Walker discussions believe that Charlotte is gathering facts and information, but is unlikely to move the star point guard at the February 8 deadline, according to Kyler. An offseason trade involving Walker may be more viable.
  • There’s a belief that the Hornets tried to engage the Spurs about a trade idea involving Walker and Kawhi Leonard, which may have been how the Walker rumors started, writes Kyler. Leonard was named specifically in Rick Bonnell’s recent Charlotte Observer story as the type of All-Star the Hornets would want to get back for Walker, so there may be something to that theory. However, league sources tell Kyler that the Spurs have immediately shut down any inquiries they’ve received on Leonard.
  • It’s not out of the question that Jabari Parker could become a trade chip for the Bucks if the right deal arises, says Kyler. League sources tell Basketball Insiders that the Bucks are “weighing where they are” with the former No. 2 overall pick, who will be a restricted free agent this summer. According to Kyler, Milwaukee continues to eye noteworthy bigs like DeAndre Jordan and Hassan Whiteside, dangling John Henson and some young players as potential bait.
  • In the wake of news that Damian Lillard met with Paul Allen last week, Kyler hears that the Trail Blazers owner has taken a “more hands-on approach” recently. That includes having top-level staff members gauge the general opinion around the NBA on president Neil Olshey and head coach Terry Stotts.