Jabari Parker

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.

Hawks Notes: Jones, Roster, Parker, Minutes

Former first-round pick and newly-acquired Hawks big man Damian Jones is looking to show off his talent in a way he wasn’t able to on a loaded Warriors’ roster, writes Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Jones, who says he is 100 percent recovered from last season’s injury, sees himself being able to provide Atlanta with rim protection, defense and a lob option around the basket.

“I haven’t really gotten a chance to show what I can do,” Jones said Friday at his introductory news conference. “… I still have more to prove.”

There’s more news out of Atlanta this afternoon from Vivlamore:

  • After waiving point guard Jaylen Adams, the Hawks now have a roster of 13 players and will look to sign another veteran to the roster and a second two-way player alongside Charlie Brown, per Vivlamore (link). Because Trae Young is now the lone point guard on the team, one of those signings will almost certainly be a point guard. As for the final standard roster spot, Atlanta plans to leave that vacant for the start of the season.
  • One of those 13 players is former No. 2 overall pick Jabari Parker. Parker, who saw his $20MM team option declined by the Wizards earlier this summer before signing with the Hawks on a two-year, $13MM deal earlier this week, says one the reasons he signed with Atlanta is because of the team’s medical staff and Parker’s confidence in them working with his twice surgically repaired left knee (Twitter link from Vivlamore).
  • As we relayed earlier this weekend, Young, big man John Collins , and rookie lottery selections De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish will all see “a lot” of playing time during the 2019/20 season, per general manager Travis Schlenk.

Hawks Sign Jabari Parker To Two-Year Deal

JULY 11: The Hawks have officially signed Parker, the team confirmed today in a press release.

“Jabari is a highly skilled offensive player and proven scorer, and we’re looking forward to incorporating him into our group,” Hawks GM Travis Schlenk said in a statement. “We think he will fit well on the court and in the locker room, and we’re excited to welcome him to Atlanta.”

JULY 8: The Hawks and forward Jabari Parker have agreed to terms on a two-year contract, his agency Priority Sports announced today (via Twitter). According to Shams Charania of The Athletic (via Twitter), the two-year pact will be worth $13MM, with a second-year player option.

The No. 2 overall pick in the 2014 draft, Parker averaged 20.1 PPG in 51 games with the Bucks in 2016/17. However, that season ended early due to a torn ACL and the 24-year-old hasn’t made the same impact since then for Milwaukee, Chicago, and Washington.

Last year, Parker signed a two-year, $40MM contract with the Bulls, which featured a second-year team option. He was traded to the Wizards in a deadline deal and averaged 14.5 PPG, 6.6 RPG, and 2.4 APG on .493/.313/.712 shooting in 64 total games for the two teams. Washington turned down his 2019/20 option, allowing him to reach the open market as an unrestricted free agent.

It took Parker more than a week to find a new home, which made him a match for the Hawks, whose GM Travis Schlenk had stated this spring that the club would likely wait out the first wave of free agency to see who slipped through the cracks. Parker, the only unrestricted free agent still on the board from our top-50 list, fit that bill. He could become a starting forward in Atlanta, though he may slot in better as a second-unit scorer.

The Hawks were one of the few NBA teams with cap room still available, so no exception will be required to sign Parker. They still project to have about $6.2MM in space left after the signing, per Jeff Siegel of Early Bird Rights (Twitter link).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Free Agent Rumors: Mavs, Morris, Knicks, Wizards, Wolves

The Mavericks have interest in free agent forward Marcus Morris, tweets Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News, confirming a report from Mike Fisher of DallasBasketball.com (Twitter link). However, Dallas has “a few [players] ahead” of Morris on their wish list, according to Townsend.

Danny Green is one of those names believed to be ahead of Morris. The Mavericks have been linked to the veteran sharpshooter since the start of free agency, and a tweet from the account for Green’s podcast today listed the Mavs, Raptors, and Lakers as the teams still in play for the veteran shooting guard. The Mavs aren’t expecting an answer from Green until tomorrow at the earliest though, says Townsend.

Here’s more on the NBA’s remaining free agents:

  • The Knicks project to have one slot open on their 15-man roster for next season, and Lance Thomas is the favorite to fill it, a source tells Marc Berman of The New York Post (Twitter link). New York recently waived Thomas to avoid guaranteeing his 2019/20 salary, but could bring him back on a more modest deal.
  • The Wizards haven’t circled back to free agent forward Jabari Parker so far, according to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington (Twitter link), who says that the market is “still developing” for the former No. 2 overall pick.
  • The Timberwolves have kicked the tires on free agent forward Jake Layman, tweets Darren Wolfson of SKOR North. Layman received a qualifying offer from the Trail Blazers, so he’s a restricted free agent.

Free Agent Notes: Harris, Leonard, Portis

Tobias Harris is meeting with the Sixers to begin free agency, The Athletic’s David Aldridge tweets. Harris is seeking a full, five-year max deal.

Jimmy Butler is in Miami to begin his free agency tour and is expected to tell the Heat that he wants to sign with them. The Sixers will likely get a chance to speak with Butler before he signs elsewhere, as Miami doesn’t have the cap space necessary to offer Butler a max contract.

Here’s more from the start of free agency:

  • Magic Johnson said he has spoken to Kawhi Leonard and Dennis Robertson (Leonard’s uncle) after Leonard’s camp contacted him, Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times relays (Twitter link). No meeting between the parties has been set up yet.
  • Bobby Portis and Jabari Parker are both operating as if they will not be back with the Wizards, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports reports on Twitter. Both players were brought to Washington in the mid-season deal that sent Otto Porter Jr. to Chicago.
  • Julius Randle is on the Knicks‘ radar, a source tells Marc Berman of the New York Post (Twitter link). New York missed out on Kevin Durant, watching him sign with the Nets.
  • The Knicks are meeting with Reggie Bullock tonight, Aldridge tweets. Bullock is ready to commit to a “strong offer,” Aldridge adds. The Lakers would like to keep him, though New York will be among the teams which will have a chance to steal him away from Los Angeles.

Wizards To Decline $20MM Option On Jabari Parker

The Wizards won’t exercise their $20MM team option on Jabari Parker, but they may try to re-sign him, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

The move has been expected, dating back to when Washington traded for Parker in February, Haynes adds. But he cites “mutual interest” between Parker and the team in working out a longer arrangement once he becomes an unrestricted free agent next weekend. The Wizards view him as a player with potential whose development has been slowed by ACL tears in 2014 and 2017.

Parker’s asking price will start at $15MM per year, sources tell Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington, and that number could rise or fall depending on the market. He adds that the Wizards will probably need Parker to relax that demand, especially after drafting Rui Hachimura, who has similar talents. Re-signing Thomas Bryant, Tomas Satoransky and possibly Bobby Portis will be higher priorites, according to Hughes.

Parker, 24, had a difficult time in Chicago after signing a two-year, $40MM deal last summer, especially once Jim Boylen replaced Fred Hoiberg as head coach. However, Parker was much better after the trade, averaging 15 points and 7.2 rebounds in 25 games with Washington.

Multiple Teams Interested In Bobby Portis

The man that bet on himself this season is in position to cash in. The Lakers, Clippers, Jazz, Bucks, Magic and Knicks are among the teams expected to have interest in Bobby Portis, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports reports.

Portis turned down an extension with the Bulls earlier this season and was rumored to be seeking a deal worth $16MM annually. While it’s not clear what kind of deal Portis receive in restricted free agency, it will certainly be a raise on his 2018/19 salary of approximately $2.5MM.

The Wizards are likely to extend a qualifying offer to Portis, which will be worth about $3.6MM.

The Bulls—the franchise that drafted Portis with the No.22 overall pick in the 2015 draft—traded him to the Wizards along with Jabari Parker for Otto Porter Jr. prior to the trade deadline. Washington is expected to decline Parker’s $20MM team option for next season, though even if both players signed elsewhere, the Wizards will have trouble carving out cap room.

[RELATED: 2019 NBA Offseason Salary Cap Digest: Washington Wizards]

The franchise is looking at approximately $89MM in guaranteed salary on the books for next season. The team will have a version of the mid-level at its disposal (the taxpayer’s MLE if over the projected $132MM) and the bi-annual exception will be available if it can stay below that tax line.