Here's some welcome news for Bucks fans: nine months removed from surgery on a torn left ACL, Jabari Parker practiced in an official capacity for the first time on Tuesday.
Parker wasn't sure on Monday how much of the team's opening practice in Madison he'd be able to participate in, but by Tuesday afternoon he'd done it all, completing a marathon three-hour practice to kick off Jason Kidd's second season as head coach. Charles Gardner of the Journal-Sentinel reports:
Kidd said the coaches have a plan for Parker during the first week of camp. The Bucks will have two practices Wednesday and Parker hinted he would try to do both sessions.
"If I'm able to get through it, so be it, but if I'm not we'll judge it from there," Parker said.
"It's been really good. It gives me something to build off, a chance to get some confidence."
The Bucks haven't provided any timetable for Parker's return to game action, though it's clearly great news that he was able (and allowed) to go through a full practice on day one of camp. Kidd and John Hammond made it clear that they wouldn't rush Parker's return, so if he's practicing now it's a good sign that he'll be ready to play some kind of role when the season starts. That likely won't mean playing 30 minutes a night right away, but the goal is to make sure Parker is doing that long-term, not four weeks from now.
You can check out pictures from the first day of practice at Bucks.com, and NBA TV is running a special Bucks Real Training Camp feature Wednesday at 10 am and 12:30 pm CT. Meanwhile, fans in Milwaukee can see the Bucks up close for free on Saturday, October 3 at the team's annual Fan Fest and open scrimmage at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
John Henson "close" to extension? | Racine Journal-Times
We first heard news of a possible extension for John Henson way back in mid-July, though news has been fairly sparse on that front since then. Still, with the October 31st extension deadline still more than four weeks away, Henson sounded optimistic that a deal would get done at media day on Monday. Gery Woelfel reports:
"We're close,'' Henson said of contract talks. "We're just trying to work out some details. It's a process; we'll see what happens. But I definitely want to be here for a long time.''
If Henson and the Bucks can't reach a deal he'd be a restricted free agent next summer, when the NBA's new TV deal is expected to boost the salary cap from its current $70 million to something in the $90 million range. With 90% of the league's teams projected to have significant cap space and many of them struggling to hit the minimum cap number, expect a spending bonanza that would likely earn Henson an eight figure deal next summer even without appreciable improvement this season. As a result, even an extension in the $11-12 million per year range could be cheap compared to what he'd fetch next summer.
Rod Thorn hired as special consultant | Bucks.com
Somewhat lost in the media day frenzy: the Bucks' announcement that they had hired long-time NBA executive Rod Thorn as a special consultant to the team. It's not entirely clear what that will mean, though Thorn's credentials as a GM of the Bulls (where he drafted Michael Jordan), Nets (where he traded for Kidd) and Sixers (OK, not so remarkable) make him a well-known commodity in NBA circles. His connection to Kidd and former Nets investor Marc Lasry also makes him a rather familiar face to at least a couple of key players in the Bucks' power structure.
"Rod Thorn is an extremely respected and accomplished NBA executive at both the league and team levels," Bucks owner Wes Edens said. "He will serve as a terrific resource to our ownership group, as well as John and Jason, as we build our organization into a championship contender. We're thrilled to add a person of his caliber, with his basketball knowledge and expertise, to the Bucks family."
Bulls, Bucks among teams that could under or overperform future power ranking | ESPN Insider
Bradford Doolittle's follow-up to last week's future power rankings tabs the Bucks (who jumped from #26 to #13) as his pick to most likely outperform their FPR ranking.
Milwaukee's ownership group has done nothing but exhibit a willingness to ensure their team has all industry best practices in place, secure top-flight facilities for the future, and keep a firm eye out for angles in which to innovate. Instead of Kidd's presence and "interest" in front office moves being a problem, it might have already paid major dividends in the form or Monroe, who cited Kidd as at least part of his decision to sign with the Bucks.
Media Day Roundup
For more on media day, check out our StoryStream here and some more goodies below:
The Bucks want to get better every day and whatever that leads to is what it leads to: http://t.co/SdBHnD5Xa5
— Jeremy Schmidt (@Bucksketball) September 29, 2015