Jabari Parker

Jabari Parker Out At Least Two More Weeks

After being re-evaluated by the team, Hawks forward Jabari Parker has been cleared to move onto the next stage of his rehab process, but his return from a shoulder injury still isn’t imminent, according to the team.

The Hawks announced in a press release that Parker’s next steps will include “controlled movement and gradual reloading of his rotator cuff.” The former No. 2 overall pick will be re-evaluated in two weeks, the club said.

Parker, who had been Atlanta’s third-leading scorer this season, has been limited to just 15 total minutes since Christmas due to his shoulder ailment, which will now sideline him into February. When healthy, he has been a solid contributor for the Hawks, averaging 15.0 PPG and 6.0 RPG on 50.4% shooting in 32 games (26.2 MPG).

With Atlanta out of the playoff race and headed for a top spot in the lottery, Parker looked like a potential trade candidate. Now that there’s no guarantee he’ll be back on the court in time for the February 6 deadline, the odds are against him being involved in a deal.

Assuming he finishes the season with the Hawks, the 24-year-old will face a decision this offseason on whether to remain in Atlanta, since he holds a $6.5MM player option for the 2020/21 season.

Jabari Parker Out At Least Two Weeks With Shoulder Injury

Hawks forward Jabari Parker underwent a non-surgical procedure on his right shoulder and will enter a period of rehab and treatment, the club announced today (via Twitter). According to the Hawks, Parker will be re-examined in two weeks, so he’ll be sidelined for at least the team’s next seven games.

A former No. 2 overall pick, Parker has had a solid season in Atlanta so far, averaging 15.0 PPG and 6.0 RPG on 50.4% shooting in 32 games (26.2 MPG). With John Collins having missed 25 games this fall due to a suspension, Parker has been Atlanta’s second scoring option behind Trae Young for much of the season.

The 8-29 Hawks are certainly lottery-bound, so Parker’s status won’t have any real effect on the Eastern Conference playoff race. However, it could impact the NBA’s race for the bottom — Atlanta currently has the league’s worst record by a half-game, as our reverse standings show.

Additionally, Parker looks like a possible trade candidate leading up to next month’s deadline. While it’s unclear if the Hawks will try to move him by February 6, the odds of a deal would shrink if the 24-year-old isn’t able to return to the court and pick up where he left by then.

Southeast Notes: Bertans, Wizards, Parker, Heat

Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard recently declared that the team fully intends to keep sharpshooter Davis Bertans beyond this season, and it appears that interest is reciprocated by the Latvian Laser and his camp. Bertans tells Fred Katz of The Athletic that he’s happy with the Wizards and that his family has been enjoying D.C.

“(D.C.) is just more something closer to home, like a little international, European style,” Bertans said. “There’s some history that not a lot of cities in the States have. And then when you’re downtown, everything is walking distance. That’s about it. My family loves it here. So, that’s a big part. … Happy wife, happy life.”

Bertans has, of course, been enjoying a career year on the court, emerging as one of the NBA’s best three-point shooters in terms of both accuracy (46.2%) and volume (4.0 made threes per game). According to Quinton Mayo of NBC Sports Washington, longtime agent Arturs Kalnitis said his client has appreciated the opportunity to “showcase his abilities” and has had an “all-around great experience” in Washington. Still, Kalnitis noted that Bertans figures to draw plenty of interest in free agency next July.

“This will be an interesting summer for Davis as many teams are high on him,” Kalnitis said. “Every team needs players like him to win a championship.”

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • Former first-round pick Anzejs Pasecniks, who signed a two-way contract with the Wizards this week, made his NBA debut on Wednesday, marking the first time two teammates from Latvia played together in the same game. Both Pasecniks and Bertans spoke about how much they valued that opportunity, as Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington writes. “You can’t even imagine what kind of a small possibility that is,” Bertans said. “It’s an amazing feeling. It just shows that basketball in Latvia is growing very rapidly.”
  • In addition to being the first team to reach out to Jabari Parker in free agency, the Hawks also promised the most regular playing time, which was a major factor in the forward’s decision, as he tells Michael Pina of SB Nation. “Forget the contract and whatever. I’ve made a lot of money other places,” Parker said. “So it’s not just for the money. It’s just so I can enjoy the game. As long as I’m playing, that’s all I care about. It’s not about anything else.” Parker is averaging 27.4 minutes per game in Atlanta this season, his highest mark since 2016/17.
  • As a result of the offseason trade that sent Josh Richardson to Philadelphia, he and Justise Winslow are no longer teammates after spending the first four years of their respective NBA careers with the Heat. Still, Winslow claims the trade actually brought him and Richardson even closer. Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel has the story and the quotes.

Eastern Notes: Bertans, Free Agency, Parker

As we reported earlier this week, it may be difficult for the rival teams to pry Davis Bertans from Washington, as the Wizards are strongly considering keeping the big man through the season and re-signing him this summer.

GM Tommy Sheppard believed that Bertans was “one of the top 3-point shooters in the league last season” when he dealt for the big man this past offseason, Jackson Filyo of NBA.com relays. The team thought that Bertans was someone who would add depth to the frontcourt with his “shooting ability, basketball IQ and work ethic.

It’s turned out to be one of better under-the-radar moves as Bertans has been pacing the NBA in threes. Over his past six games, the Latvian Laser has 36 triples, which tops the league over that stretch. Washington doesn’t play again until Saturday. Perhaps time away is the only thing that can cool Bertans off.

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • One executive tells David Aldridge of The Athletic that the Wizards‘ game plan has increased Bertans’ stock as a trade chip and a 2020 free agent. “The way Washington is using him will certainly increase his value,” a longtime NBA front office executive, currently unaffiliated, said via text. “The [3-pointer] in today’s game is a huge commodity now. I think he is a mix between [Kyle Korver and [Ryan Anderson].”
  • One former front office executive (in that same piece) tells Aldridge that Bertans could make a substantial raise on his current $7MM salary in free agency this summer. “He will get between $15M and $20M (per year) this summer.” the former executive said. “Most likely for a two-year deal. Don’t see him getting a four-year deal.” It’s worth noting that one current GM thought that valuation was high, given how few teams will have cap space this summer.
  • Hawks forward Jabari Parker has no hard feelings toward the Bulls despite his tenure in Chicago not working out as planned. “I just had to move on, but that never changed about how I feel about my city because I have more street cred than that organization period,” Parker said this week, per Eric Woodyard of ESPN.com (Twitter link).
  • Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel wonders if Bam Adebayo is the second star the Heat have been looking for. The center is having his most efficient season as a professional and is a top contender for the Most Improved Player award.

NBA Trade Candidate Watch: Southeast Division

Over the course of the 2019/20 NBA season, up until February’s trade deadline, we’re keeping an eye on potential trade candidates from around the NBA, monitoring their value and exploring the likelihood that they’ll be moved. Each of these looks at possible trade candidates focuses on a specific division, as we zero in on three players from that division.

We’re still more than two weeks away from December 15, the date when most of this past offseason’s free agent signees become trade-eligible, so the NBA’s 2019/20 trade season hasn’t really begun yet. But with the regular season nearing the one-quarter mark, we’re getting a better sense of which teams might be buyers and which non-contenders will end up being sellers.

Having gone through all six divisions once as we examine potential trade candidates, we’re starting our second go-round today. Here are three more possible trade candidates from out of the Southeast:

Davis Bertans, PF
Washington Wizards
$7MM cap hit; UFA in 2020

Bertans, who would likely still be a Spur if Marcus Morris had never agreed to sign with San Antonio over the summer, has played a crucial role in helping the Wizards post some of the NBA’s best offensive numbers. One of the most dangerous frontcourt shooters in the league, Bertans is making a career-high 44.3% of his three-pointers on 7.6 attempts per game and has increased his scoring average off the bench to 13.3 PPG.

The Wizards might try to lock up Bertans long-term, but the 27-year-old will be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, giving the club little leverage in contract talks. If Washington falls out of the playoff hunt in the East, Bertans will be one of the team’s best trade chips, based on his affordable cap hit ($7MM), his expiring contract, and his ability to provide instant offense.

One scout who spoke to ESPN’s Bobby Marks earlier this month suggested that it wouldn’t be a surprise if there’s a team willing to surrender a late first-round pick for Bertans at the trade deadline.

Jabari Parker, PF
Atlanta Hawks
$6.5MM cap hit; $6.5MM player option for 2020/21

Like the Wizards, the Hawks probably won’t shift into selling mode until their playoff hopes are all but extinguished. And it may take a while for that to happen in an Eastern Conference where the 8-12 Hornets currently hold onto the No. 8 seed.

Still, at 4-15, the Hawks are already 3.5 games out of the postseason picture, so unless they start winning some games soon, they’ll have to consider shopping some veteran players. Although Parker is only 24, the sixth-year forward qualifies as one such veteran.

With 17.8 PPG on 51.8% shooting through 18 games (28.1 MPG), Parker has been the Hawks’ best scorer not named Trae Young this season. And it’s not as if he’s been putting up numbers against second-stringers — he has been a starter since John Collins was hit with a 25-game suspension early in the season.

With a $6.5MM player option for the 2020/21 season, Parker could be a one-and-done in Atlanta, so if a team in need of frontcourt scoring wants to make a play for him before the deadline, the Hawks would be wise to listen.

Aaron Gordon, F
Orlando Magic
$19.9MM cap hit; descending guaranteed salaries through 2021/22

By all accounts, Gordon isn’t a trade candidate right now. Shams Charania of The Athletic reported two weeks ago that teams were monitoring the former No. 4 overall pick in case he becomes available, but said that Orlando has shown no interest in such a move.

Still, the Magic (7-11) have been disappointing so far and their offense has been disastrous. Jonathan Isaac, not exactly a dynamic scorer himself, nonetheless looks like a franchise cornerstone due to his versatility, defensive ability, and upside, and Sean Deveney of Forbes recently suggested there may be some concern within the organization about the long-term fit of an Isaac/Gordon frontcourt.

Gordon is just 24 years old and still has intriguing potential, despite his lack of improvement so far this season. He also has a contract that declines in value each year, eventually dipping to $16.4MM in 2021/22. That makes him a valuable trade chip.

I think the Magic front office will be patient in giving the current group every opportunity to make things work, and a trade for scoring help wouldn’t necessarily have to include Gordon. But moving the young forward is a possibility the team should at least consider if its struggles continue.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jabari Parker Won’t Rule Out Return To Bucks

The Bucks had high hopes for Jabari Parker when they selected him with the No. 2 overall pick back in 2014, but injuries robbed him of much of his time in Milwaukee. Parker, who recently signed with the Hawks, wishes things had worked out differently.

“It’s real special, man, how they were able to build this building,” Parker told Eric Woodyard of ESPN. “I haven’t played here but just seeing like the growth of the city, I really like the way that it’s developing.”

“It’s just so sad that I’m not able to share it with them and that they moved on, but that’s fine, that’s business. But I do have like a little homesickness from being here. I just miss being here.”

Parker’s deal is for two seasons, though the second year is a player option. The forward wouldn’t rule out a return to Milwaukee.

“Never. I would never rule out a possible return here,” Parker added. “I would never do that. It’s just so sad how it ended and I wish I could’ve stayed.”

Southeast Notes: Walker, Jordan, Parker, Wizards

Despite leaving the Hornets in free agency this past summer, Kemba Walker still holds a positive relationship with owner Michael Jordan and the city of Charlotte.

Walker, who spent the first eight seasons of his career with the Hornets, opted to sign a four-year, maximum-salary deal worth $141MM with the Celtics in early July.

“MJ is always going to be a special guy in my life,” Walker said last week after his return to Charlotte, as relayed by Steve Reed of the Associated Press. The Celtics wound up winning the game 108-87. “He’s one of the reasons I am where I am today.”

Jordan drafted Walker No. 9 overall in the 2011 draft, starting his professional career in a Hornets uniform. Walker has rapidly improved since his rookie season and is currently known as one of the league’s elite point guards, holding per-game averages of 24.5 points and 4.5 assists with Boston on the season.

“He gave me the opportunity to flourish as a basketball player,” Walker said of Jordan. “He gave me the opportunity to grow as a man in this community. So, MJ definitely has a special place in my heart for sure.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division tonight:

  • Count Jordan and former Hornets head coach Steve Clifford among those who aren’t jumping on the NBA’s “load management” bandwagon, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News writes. “Our guys aren’t used to sitting on the second game of a back-to-back.… We’re not sitting guys just to sit,” said Clifford, who currently coaches the Magic. “For me, my background frankly, it all goes back to expectations. Being with Michael in Charlotte, Michael used to tell them every year, you’re paid to play 82 games.”
  • K.L. Chouinard of NBA.com profiles Hawks forward Jabari Parker, labeling the sixth-year player as “the NBA’s oldest 24-year-old.” Parker has displayed a respectable amount of maturity in recent seasons and has interests typically shared by his elders, including older music and cars, Chouinard explained. Parker has averaged 16.4 points and five rebounds per game for the Hawks this season, starting in three of his eight contests.
  • The Wizards are working to find a difficult balance between developing young players while still competing in today’s league, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington notes. Washington has young players with high potential such as Rui Hachimura (21) and Thomas Bryant (22), along with established veterans such as Bradley Beal (26), Isaiah Thomas (30) and others.

Kevin Huerter Talks Hawks’ Draft, 2019/20 Goals

Culture and locker-room fit were important considerations for the Hawks as they made roster moves this offseason, second-year shooting guard Kevin Huerter tells Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype. As Huerter explains, head coach Lloyd Pierce talked on multiple occasions about not bringing in anyone who would be detrimental to the culture the team is trying to build in Atlanta.

“I think every player we brought in has some sort of relationship with one of our coaches or [executives], so they know that we’re bringing in really good guys,” Huerter said. “I think that was really important, first and foremost, especially with a team that could still go through a lot of ups and downs. You don’t want someone in the locker room who is making everyone miserable.”

While Huerter is optimistic about what Allen Crabbe, Jabari Parker, Evan Turner, and Chandler Parsons can contribute on the court, he views those incoming veterans as guys who will “contribute off the court as well,” as he tells Kennedy.

Huerter spoke to Kennedy about many more topics, including the Hawks’ draft, their future free agent outlook, and their expectations for the 2019/20 season. The Q&A is worth checking out in full, but here are a few highlights from the former Maryland standout:

On the Hawks drafting De’Andre Hunter, Cam Reddish, and Bruno Fernando:

“I thought our draft was great. There are very few teams that can come out of the draft saying they got exactly who they wanted, but those three guys are literally the exact players we wanted going into the draft. Anytime that happens, it’s an extremely successful draft.

“I think those guys bring a different dynamic to our team that we didn’t have. De’Andre is a 3/4 and he’s a really good defender, so he was a great pick for us. Cam just has so much potential on the offensive end and what his ceiling could be makes him great for us as well. Bruno is NBA-ready. I think it can be tough for some bigs as they enter the NBA because of how physical it is, but Bruno is physically NBA-ready. Again, I thought it was a really good draft for us.”

On whether free agents will seriously consider the Hawks as they continue to improve:

“Hopefully. Any team that wins becomes pretty attractive to free agents. You see that happen a lot. But for me, our core group of guys could – and should – be enough for us. That’s the way that winning teams are built, at least in the old days. When you want to want to build something that lasts, it’s homegrown guys. But, again, hopefully if we win, [players will want to sign here] and we can figure out which positions we need moving forward. Adding free agents down the line won’t be a bad thing, but first you need to win and then everything else comes with it.”

On whether the Hawks have discussed a goal of making the playoffs in 2019/20:

“Honestly, no. Playoffs, for us, isn’t really a word we talk about – all we talk about is winning more than 29 games. We know how honestly close we were last year – we weren’t too far off from that eighth seed – but we’re probably not going to talk about it for most of the year. It’s not something we talk about in the locker room, trying to sneak in [to the playoffs]. It’s literally just, ‘We’re going to win more than 29 games and continue to get better.’ Then whatever happens, happens.”

Southeast Notes: Parker, Carmelo, Heat, Hornets

Former No. 2 overall pick Jabari Parker expressed confidence in his decision to sign with the Hawks last month, explaining to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune why Atlanta appeared to be the best situation for him in free agency.

“It’s never promised that things are going to go well, but just from the energy that I’m feeling, it’s a good situation for me,” Parker said. Trae Young is someone who can not only score but distribute. John Collins is a very, very good player.

“I know the expectations. I can fulfill my role accordingly. I’m young, but they’re younger. One thing I take pride in is I’ve now been every player — from the first to last guy on the team. And I’m grateful for those experiences.”

Parker, who held per-game averages of 14.5 points, 6.6 rebounds and 26.9 minutes last season with Chicago and Washington, has had a rocky start to his professional career. He’s played with four different teams since being drafted in 2014, unable to find a consistent role with a franchise.

In addition to adding Parker, the Hawks will enter the 2019/20 season with new players Evan Turner, Allen Crabbe, Damian Jones and Chandler Parsons, along with first-round picks Cam Reddish and De’Andre Hunter.

There’s more from the Southeast Division today:

Hawks Notes: Carter, Roster, Parker, Spalding

The Hawks have left open a roster spot for Vince Carter but it’s still unsure whether the 42-year-old will rejoin them, as Chris Kirschner of The Athletic details.

Carter doesn’t want to just ride the bench if he plays a 22nd season, which would be an NBA record. However, lottery picks De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish and free agent signee Jabari Parker will all see significant action, which would cut into Carter’s minutes. Carter is taking a wait-and-see approach.

“Just waiting for the right opportunity, and nothing has changed as far as that goal, and that dream of mine is to still play,” Carter said. “It’s just a patient thing. I get it. I’m older. Teams are going younger. Hopefully, within the coming days, we’ll have something figured out.”

We have more on the Hawks:

  • The Hawks plan to keep one roster spot open entering next season in order to facilitate trades, Kirschner reports in the same piece. They plan to use their approximate $5MM in remaining cap space to help make a trade before February’s deadline to collect future draft picks.
  • Parker used his abbreviated stay with the Bulls as a learning experience, as he told Alex Kennedy of Hoops Hype. Parker signed with the Bulls last offseason on a two-year, $40MM deal that included a team option. He lost his rotation spot and was traded to the Wizards, who declined the option this summer. He then signed a two-year, $13MM contract with the Hawks. “It was really good because now I can relate to every kind of player,” Parker said of playing for Chicago. “When I talk to kids, I can talk to them about everything – from being the best player on a team to being the player who isn’t even playing. I’m just grateful for that experience. It allowed me to see things differently.”
  • Forward Ray Spalding said the Hawks sought him out after the Suns declined to sign him after summer league play, as he told Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal Constitution“Phoenix set up different contracts with different players. My agent thought maybe it would be time to look elsewhere,” Spalding said. “So we did that and the Hawks reached out. He really liked what the Hawks said about me and offered me so I felt like this would be a safe place to start.” Spalding signed an Exhibit 10 contract.