Jabari Parker

Central Notes: Love, Van Gundy, Pistons, Parker

The Cavaliers lead the Raptors in their Eastern Conference Semifinals matchup, 2-0, as the series shifts to Cleveland. Kevin Love helped his case with 31 points in a Game 2 victory after struggling for most of the playoffs. As the postseason progresses, the Cavaliers’ coaching staff will need to monitor Love’s play at the center and power forward position, Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com writes.

“We’ve been very successful with Kev at the 5, but we have to listen to what Kev needs as well,” teammate LeBron James said. “If there’s times throughout the postseason or a game where he’s feeling a little worn down because he’s battling with a lot of bigs, then we’ve got to make the substitution properly. I think Coach Lue has done that, obviously with the start of Game 7, being able to start Double T at the five and allow Kev to play his natural position.”

Check out more Central Division notes:

  • The Pistons would like to bring back Stan Van Gundy, but with an adjusted role. After missing the playoffs for the past several seasons, it may be time for both sides to part amicably, Bob Wojnowski of The Detroit News opines.
  • There were 12 teams that had the chance to draft Donovan Mitchell before he fell to the Jazz and had a historically great rookie season. Looking back, the Pistons not selecting Mitchell is right up there with the Darko Milicic blunder from 2003, Shawn Windsor of the Detroit Free Press writes.
  • After two torn ACLs and a frustrating showing in the postseason, Jabari Parkers value is not at an all-time high heading into the summer. As a restricted free agent, it’s possible Parker’s tenure with the Bucks is over. Frank Urbina of HoopsHype breaks down Parker’s four best choices in free agency.
  • As the Lakers enter the summer with major cap space and an eye on the NBA’s premier free agents, Mark Schanowski of NBC Sports Chicago examines the possibility of the Bulls pursuing Brandon Ingram in a trade.

Central Notes: Bucks, Doncic, Pacers

As we relayed yesterdayBucks’ interim head coach Joe Prunty is still a candidate to retain Milwaukee’s head coaching position. However, as we also indicated, former Hawks’ coach Mike Budenholzer is just one name circulating as a possible replacement for Prunty, with the Bucks planning to conduct an open and active search for their next head coach.

According to Sean Deveney of Sporting News, the Bucks would be wise to move on from Prunty and seek a head coach who can do a better job of inserting franchise cornerstone Giannis Antetokounmpo into a superstar role. Per Deveney, the Bucks have failed to do so to this point in Antetokounmpo’s young career, and it is negatively affecting both Antetokounmpo and the team.

Deveney mentions Budenholzer, former Grizzlies coach David Fizdale, and former Cavaliers coach David Blatt as worthwhile candidates for the position, but ultimately opines that whoever the Bucks hire, he needs to be able to formulate an offense that runs through Antetokounmpo, creating mismatches and finding options for when teams double team him.

Deveney also touches on what he deems disappointing seasons from role players Tony Snell, Thon Maker, and Matthew Dellavedova, as well as the upcoming free agency of former No. 2 overall pick, Jabari Parker. Deveney feels that the best case scenario for the Bucks, although highly unlikely, is a total lack of suitors for Parker, thereby opening the door for the Bucks to potentially sign Parker to a one-year deal at the value of his qualifying offer.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Regardless of how the Bucks plan on approaching Parker’s free agency, at least one teammate is extremely confident that the former Duke star is not leaving Milwaukee (story).
  • As one part of a 10-part series focusing on the upcoming 2018 NBA Draft, Marc Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago argues that the Bulls should select Luka Doncic if he is available when Chicago makes its selection in June, as his elite-level passing ability is a perfect fit for today’s fast-paced NBA game.
  • Fresh off a heartbreaking loss to the Cavaliers in Game 7 of the teams’ first round series, the Pacers should be excited about their promising future, writes Michael Marot of The Associated Press. As Marot notes, the Pacers could have their top eight players all back next year if Thaddeus Young and Cory Joseph exercise their player options and the Pacers exercise their team option on fan favorite Lance Stephenson.

Giannis Confident Parker Will Remain With Bucks

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.”

Central Notes: Parker, Love, Jennings, LaVine, Leonard

Jabari Parker has played a total of 24 minutes in two postseason games as the Bucks return to Milwaukee trailing the Celtics 2-0 in their first-round series. Parker has struggled to produce, and attributed his lack of playing time to not being on Bucks interim head coach Joe Prunty’s good side, tweets Stephen Watson of WISN 12 News.

Parker, who has torn the ACL in his left knee twice, has missed significant time over the last several seasons. He noted that not playing much after missing a lot of time to injury has compounded his frustration, tweets Matt Velazquez of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

 “I am human. I have a right to be frustrated. I’ve waited two years for this,” Parker, 23, said.

For his part, Prunty denied that Parker is on his bad side and said that he is unsure why the forward feels that way. Prunty added that Parker — and the rest of bench — can help the team and find playing time by rebounding and playing defense. With free agency looming, after two major knee surgeries, a lack of playing time in the postseason will not help Parker’s case for a lucrative deal.

Check out more Central Division notes:

  • Cavaliers forward Kevin Love suffered a partial tear of a ligament in his left thumb during the team’s Game 2 win over the Pacers, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. While head coach Tyronn Lue elected to rest Love after the injury, Love said that he will play through it going forward. “It’s not going to feel great tomorrow, but throw some ice on it, tape it up and be ready to go,” Love said.
  • Brandon Jennings did not play in the NBA for most of last season before he joined the Bucks‘ G League affiliate and eventually returned to Milwaukee last season. As Jennings tells David Yapkowitz of Basketball Insiders, he’s glad to be back. “It’s good, it feels good just being back in the NBA in general,” Jennings said. “A lot has changed since I left, but for the good. I’m just excited.”
  • In his latest mailbag, K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune answered several questioning pertaining to Zach LaVine‘s impending contract talks, Kris Dunn, and the Bulls‘ plans entering the draft.
  • Mark Schanowski of NBC Sports Chicago writes that overpaying to acquire Kawhi Leonard, whose injury status and relationship with the Spurs make him a possible trade candidate, is not the way to rebuild the Bulls.

Central Notes: Oladipo, Parker, Korver, Bulls

Despite Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweeting that Pacers guard Victor Oladipo was not the primary object of Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert’s frustration over the failed trade that sent Paul George to Oklahoma City last summer, Oladipo implied that Gilbert’s comments add some extra motivation for Indiana in its first round series against Cleveland, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

“You could say it added fuel to the fire, I guess you could say,” Oladipo said after the Pacers win in Game 1. “But that was so long ago. It came up recently, obviously, because we were playing the Cavs in the series, but I’m aware of what he said. Can’t control his opinion. All I’m focused on is myself and becoming the best Victor Oladipo possible.”

As for the series itself, many observers declared Oladipo to be the best player on the floor during Game 1, even with LeBron James on the other sideline. Oladipo credits his team’s effort – something seemingly often lacking for Cleveland – for his and the Pacers’ success this season.

“We’ve been playing like this all year,” he said of the Pacers. “Been playing hard on both ends all year. It just hasn’t been magnified. So it’s the playoffs now, we’ve been doing this all year. Now everybody sees, so it’s like, it’s kind of shocking to everybody, I guess you could say. But we’ve been playing hard. We’ve been playing our butts off on both ends of the floor all year.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Bucks almost pulled out a victory against Boston in Game 1, but forward Jabari Parker wasn’t much of a factor in his first career playoff game, going 1-for-5 with two points in just 15 minutes of action. Per Nick Friedell of ESPN, Milwaukee is confident Parker will bounce back in Game 2.
  • It’s been a tough last couple of months for Cavaliers sharpshooter Kyle Korver, writes Joe Vardon of The Plain Dealer. Korver tragically lost his younger brother Kirk due to complications from a sudden illness in March, then missed additional games with a right foot injury upon his return to the team. The 37-year-old veteran is ready for Game 2 though, saying “I feel like it’s been a very complicated month in my mind, but I feel like I’m in a good spot right now and I’m ready to play.”
  • Vincent Goodwill and Mark Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago take a stab at grading the 2017/18 Bulls backcourt and frontcourt in two separate articles. Lauri Markkanen and Bobby Portis, both frontcourt players, received the best grades on the team.

Central Notes: LaVine, Parker, Pistons

Comments from Bulls vice president John Paxson suggest that the franchise is keen on letting the market decide pending restricted free agent Zach LaVine‘s value and, as Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun Times writes, the 23-year-old’s fate remains a dicey topic.

Cowley writes that a source of his claims that LaVine’s camp regards him as a max or close-to-max player but that the Bulls may not be so sure.

The Bulls, he adds, have been passive in restricted free agency negotiations in the past, “lowballing” Jimmy Butler back in 2015 and letting the market dictate Nikola Mirotic‘s value last summer.

Well, the market dictates a lot and how things go,” Paxson said. “I think the market has tightened up a little bit the last couple of years since the spike. [The Bulls] obviously value Zach a lot, and we think he’s a part of our future, but he has the opportunity to explore things.

There’s more from the Central Division:

Potential 2018 RFAs Whose Qualifying Offers Will Be Impacted By Starter Criteria

The NBA’s rookie scale, which dictates how much first-round picks earn during their first four NBA seasons, also dictates how much the qualifying offers will be worth for those players when they reach restricted free agency after year four. However, the value of those qualifying offers can fluctuate depending on whether or not a player has met the “starter criteria.”

Here’s how the starter criteria works: A player who is eligible for restricted free agency is considered to have met the starter criteria if he plays at least 2,000 minutes or starts 41 games in the season before he reaches free agency. A player can also meet the criteria if he averages either of those marks in the two seasons prior to his restricted free agency. For instance, if a player started 50 games in 2016/17 and 32 in 2017/18, he’d meet the starter criteria, since his average number of starts over the last two seasons is 41.

A player’s ability or inability to meet the starter criteria can affect the value of the qualifying offer he receives as a restricted free agent, as follows:

  • A top-14 pick who does not meet the starter criteria will receive a qualifying offer equal to the amount the 15th overall pick would receive if he signed for 120% of the rookie scale.
  • A player picked between 10th and 30th who meets the criteria will receive a qualifying offer equal to the amount the ninth overall pick would receive if he signed for 120% of the rookie scale.
  • A second-round pick or undrafted player who meets the criteria will receive a qualifying offer equal to the amount the 21st overall pick would receive if he signed for 100% of the rookie scale.
  • For all other RFAs, the standard criteria determine the amounts of their qualifying offers.

Extending a qualifying offer to a player eligible for restricted free agency officially makes that player an RFA, ensuring that his team has the right of first refusal if he signs an offer sheet with another club. It also gives the player the option of signing that one-year QO.

Generally, the value of a restricted free agent’s qualifying offer isn’t hugely important, since very few RFAs accept those offers outright. There are exceptions though. Last offseason, for instance, both players who signed their one-year QOs – Suns center Alex Len and Mavericks center Nerlens Noel – failed to meet the starter criteria heading into restricted free agency, reducing the value of their QOs to approximately $4.2MM (from $6.4MM and $5.85MM, respectively). Had Len and Noel met the starter criteria and been eligible for those larger QOs, their free agencies could have played out differently.

Top-14 picks who failed to meet starter criteria:

With that in mind, let’s check in on how this year’s RFAs-to-be will be impacted by the starter criteria. Listed below are the former top-14 picks on track for restricted free agency who have not met the starter criteria. These players will be eligible for qualifying offers worth $4,333,931.

No player was hit harder by missing out on the starter criteria than Parker, whose torn ACL made him fall short. If he’d stayed healthy, the former No. 2 overall pick likely would’ve been in line for a qualifying offer worth about $8.851MM. Instead, his QO will be worth less than half of that.

Major injuries also prevented Exum and LaVine from meeting the starter criteria, while Celtics guard Marcus Smart stayed just healthy enough to meet the necessary benchmarks — he totaled 4,013 minutes played over the last two seasons, barely averaging more than 2,000 per year.

First-round picks between 10-30 who met starter criteria:

The players listed below were picked between No. 10 and No. 30 in the 2014 draft and will meet the starter criteria. That will make each of them eligible for a qualifying offer worth $4,749,591.

Anderson is the biggest winner here, with his projected qualifying offer of $3.23MM set to increase by more than $1.5MM. However, Anderson, Capela, and Nurkic shouldn’t have any issue landing long-term deals, making the value of their QOs somewhat irrelevant. I wonder about Payton though — he didn’t exactly finish this season strong in Phoenix and could be a candidate to accept his increased QO.

Rodney Hood, the 23rd overall pick in 2014, can blame injury luck and lineup decisions for missing out on the starter criteria. He started 78 of 119 total games for Utah and Cleveland over the last two seasons, averaging 27.0 minutes per contest during that span. Without health issues, he almost certainly would’ve logged 82+ starts or 4,000+ minutes during those two years.

Second-round picks and UDFAs who met starter criteria:

Only one player falls into this group this year.

Initially signed to a 10-day contract in 2017, Ferrell parlayed that audition into a multiyear deal and has become an integral part of the Mavericks‘ rotation this season. He has appeared in all 81 games for Dallas, averaging 28.1 minutes per contest — that’s good for 2,274 total minutes, boosting his qualifying offer from $1,699,698 to $2,919,204.

The rest of this year’s restricted free agents won’t have their projected qualifying offers impacted by the starter criteria.

Bucks Notes: Parker, Brogdon, Dellavedova, Baker

Jabari Parker and the Bucks may both have a better future if he signs somewhere else this summer, writes Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post. Parker will face an unpredictable market as a restricted free agent after averaging 11.9 points and 4.3 rebounds in 27 games since returning from an ACL tear.

The Bucks offered an extension in October worth about $54MM over three years, but Parker turned it down, hoping for a better deal on the open market. He realizes that his time in Milwaukee may be ending soon.

“Honestly, it’s uncertain,” he said. “I know that, just looking from afar, [the Bucks] will be fine. But I just have to see what’s going to happen with my future, and that’s uncertain. But I know for them, they’ll be fine regardless. They’ve been doing well.”

The Bucks have the option to match any offer Parker receives, but doing so would cut into their free agency plans for next summer, Bontemps adds. Milwaukee will have about $30MM in cap space in 2019, plus $19MM in expiring contracts for John Henson and Matthew Dellavedova that shouldn’t be hard to move if more room is needed.

There’s more news tonight out of Milwaukee:

  • Before he moves onto free agency, Parker will focus on his first trip to the playoffs, relays Genaro C. Armas of The Associated Press. Milwaukee clinched a spot tonight, marking the first postseason in which Parker will be healthy enough to participate. “I’m just grateful to get to get the opportunity,” he said. “That’s what means the most [in] the NBA. It’s not the regular season. It’s the postseason, and that’s where you want to end up.”
  • Malcolm Brogdon was a limited participant in practice today as he tries to bounce back from a partially torn his left quadricep tendon, tweets Matt Velazquez of The Journal Sentinel. Brogdon was projected to miss six to eight weeks when the injury was discovered in early February. Interim coach Joe Prunty said Brogdon is making progress, but there still isn’t a return date for him or Dellavedova, who is recovering from a grade 3 right ankle sprain.
  • Vin Baker has been sober for nearly seven years and is enjoying his new role as an assistant coach for the Bucks, writes Tim Van Vooren of Fox 6 News in Milwaukee. Baker was added to the staff in January when Jason Kidd was ousted as head coach. “I couldn’t imagine, at the age of 46, a more perfect opportunity, a more perfect place to be given my story and given the fact that this is where it all started for me,” Baker said.
  • Gery Woelfel offers a look inside the Bucks’ new arena on Woelfel’sPressBox. The facility is expected to be ready in time for the start of next season.

RFA Rumors: Parker, Gordon, Exum, Smart, Randle

Only about a quarter of the NBA’s teams are expected to have meaningful cap room this summer, so restricted free agents hoping for a major payday could have a tough summer, writes Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. Last week, we identified eight RFAs we believe have positioned themselves well for long-term contracts, and while we’re still bullish on those players, the RFA market may not be as active overall as it has been in some previous offseasons.

Within his latest piece, Kyler took a closer look at a few specific 2018 restricted free agents, so let’s round up some highlights from his breakdown…

  • Most NBA insiders believe the Bucks will ultimately retain Jabari Parker, according to Kyler, who suggests that – with a new arena on the way – Bucks ownership may not be as worried about the rising cost of team salary as you’d expect.
  • The Bucks and Magic may let the market drive the respective prices on Parker and Aaron Gordon, according to Kyler. With Orlando’s new management group looking to shed cap dollars, the team will be wary of overpaying Gordon. Kyler also notes that the Magic could be open to the possibility of a sign-and-trade if Gordon wants to play elsewhere. However, sign-and-trades can be particularly tricky to pull off for RFAs getting big raises due to the Base Year Compensation rule, so that may be a long shot.
  • The prevailing thought on Dante Exum is that he’ll be back with the Jazz, though likely not on a long-term deal, says Kyler.
  • In order to pry Marcus Smart away from the Celtics, it might take an offer sheet at least in the range of $12-14MM per year, per Kyler.
  • The Kings are worth watching as a possible suitor for Lakers big man Julius Randle, though many people expect the Mavericks to be the team “on Randle’s doorstep” when free agency opens on July 1, Kyler writes.
  • Clint Capela (Rockets), Zach LaVine (Bulls), Jusuf Nurkic (Trail Blazers), and Rodney Hood (Cavaliers) are among the RFAs considered more likely than not to stay with their current teams, according to Kyler. For more details on those players – along with an item on Suns guard Elfrid Payton – be sure to check out Kyler’s full piece.

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.”