We’ll see you next summer Mark Bartelstein. Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that the Milwaukee Bucks failed to reach a contract extension with Jabari Parker today. The deadline to reach a deal before Parker entered restricted free agency came and went, and now Milwaukee will potentially play the match game next summer.
Jabari Parker and Milwaukee Bucks ended talks, no deal. He'll enter restricted free agency in July, league sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 16, 2017
Parker entering restricted free agency always seemed like the likely outcome for this situation. Barring some sort of miraculous cheapening of his expectations, it didn’t seem like Jabari was likely to take the pay cut Milwaukee would’ve preferred if signing him to a longer-term deal now. The Bucks have the best idea of where Parker is at athletically at this point, and their trepidation to sign him now is a wise one. Letting him get some regular season legs back underneath him, not to mention potentially his first playoff basketball, will give them at least a modicum more tape to go from.
Realistically though, the 25-30 odd games that he’ll play upon returning won’t even be indicative of the player he could be. He didn’t really hit his stride into the following season he returned from his first ACL tear, and that will be the likely scenario here. All of that comes without the fact that while Jabari flashed the advanced offensive skillset we hoped for last year, his defense remained suspect. What sort of value Jabari may’ve deserved already seemed a point of contention for Bucks fans before this second injury, and this latter tear has only made those discussions muddier.
Teams will now be able to give Parker’s camp an offer sheet next year and Milwaukee will have the right to match it. Given the expiring contract of Greg Monroe and Milwaukee’s ability to go over the salary cap with Jabari’s bird rights, their potential wiggle room to retain Jabari is actually quite significant. With Milwaukee’s projected guaranteed money for next year at over 92 million, and the projected cap of 102 million and a tax level of 124 million, Milwaukee has roughly $32 million dollars to work with.
That 92 million figure fails to account for the contract of their 15th guy and whoever may replace Jason Terry, but it also presumes Milwaukee picks up Rashad Vaughn’s 2.9 million dollar contract. Regardless, Milwaukee would be able to match just about any likely offer sheet thrown Jabari’s way, not to mention the fact potential suitors like the Nets tied up their money in guys like Allen Crabbe and Timofey Mozgov. The question then is if the price is right for Milwaukee, and only time will tell whether a team tries to screw them over by inking Jabari to a huge deal. Milwaukee would certainly have the means to match it, but should they? That will be the lingering question as we approach next offseason. In the meantime though, we can finally turn our attention to real basketball.