It is officially official: Jabari Parker's tenure with the Milwaukee Bucks has come to a rapid close. The facts on the ground show that Parker, a Chicago native, will be on his way southwards to join the Chicago Bulls on a two-year, $40 million deal.
I'm not going to go too deep into analysis about what the sequence of events says about the Bucks, the front office, the team's basketball philosophy, etc. Instead, I'd like to take a moment to reminisce on the start of Jabari's tenure in Milwaukee and all the hope his arrival seemed to foretell for the team.
The 2013-2014 season was not one to remember for the Bucks except for one thing: Milwaukee, a team renowned for its refusal to bottom out, did so anyhow and seemed to luck their way into one of the top-heavy drafts in recent memory. Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Joel Embiid, even Dante Exum all seemed to have a chance to be real difference makers. After only a bit of uncertainty, the Bucks selected Parker, the score-from-everywhere freshman out of Duke. In the era before Peak Giannis, it seemed the team had found their surefire star.
And, hell, I believed too. I was so excited by the possibility of Jabari's being a Buck that me and my brother took off of work to attend Parker's introductory press conference in Milwaukee the day after the draft. You could feel the excitement in Milwaukee's Public Market. Jabari Parker soon arrived to the cheers of fans long deprived of hope. Here, after so much pain and malaise, was a player who would make a difference.
His early rookie year had Parker ready to deliver on that promise. Sure, there were rough spots, but for the most part Milwaukee had a forward who could do everything athletically, and had a scoring acumen to go with it.
Then he tore his ACL. Then it all went downhill.
Since that first catastrophic injury, it has been mostly a series of negatives for Parker: a lost rookie and part of a sophomore year, a new head coach who stoked “us against Jabari” flames, and of course another torn ACL. All the while, Giannis Antetokounmpo's star shone ever brighter, and there began open questions about whether Jabari was a player worth paying to play next to Giannis.
And so now that journey that began with so much promise comes to an ignominious end. Jabari Parker's time as a Milwaukee Buck was many things: highlight-reel dunks, community engagement, heartbreak and multiple long roads back, but above all, his time here, and the way it worked out, was a shame.
Mike Budenholzer joined Adrian Wojnarowski this past week on Woj's eponymous podcast to discuss his time coaching in San Antonio and Atlanta, what it is he sees in the Bucks these upcoming seasons, and his philosophy as a basketball coach.
Really, you can't find a better opportunity to get to know coach Bud than a long-form interview like this, so please give it a listen!
Sterling Brown’s mindset during arrest: ‘Get home’ (The Undefeated)
It is a story that won't be going away any time soon, and one that will continue to resonate beyond basketball for years to come. Since Sterling Brown's arrest earlier this year, there have been a number of twists and turns, most of them decidedly in the negative as further information trickles out to the public.
Brown is unwilling to shy away from the situation, and so he's taken the mantle of an advocate for those who suffer maltreatment at the hands of authorities. I can only wish him the best in his endeavors and hope that, though his experience was awful in every sense, some modicum of positive change can be affected from fresh pains.
I'll have you know the Bucks made this list, or at least some members of the Bucks did. Namely, new signing Ersan Ilyasova for #GettingPaid by our hometown team.
With the departure of Jabari Parker, the Ilyasova signing makes a little more sense as a very poor man's cover for the now opened forward minutes. Ersan can shoot consistently from deep, plays competent team defense, and of course can rebound. Sure, his ceiling continues to get lower by the day while Jabari's is yet unclear, but this team isn't in a place to be taking chances with Jabari at his current price tag.
Way to win the off-season, Ers.
You read that right. According to * squints at notes * renowned news-breaker DJ Wilson, Donte DiVincenzo was, as of last week, down to his last $3.71 between both his checking and savings accounts at Wells Fargo.
How Donte was able to afford all the trappings of a Las Vegas visit before he signed his contract is beyond me. Yes, his “groin injury” magically healed when he signed, and it would have been nice to get any Ragu action during Summer League, but I'm surprised the Bucks didn't try to play a bit of contract hardball with their first-round pick. After all, four dollars isn't going to get you very far in Sin City.
The local restaurants, brands serving food and drink at the new Milwaukee Bucks arena (Milwaukee Business Journal)
I omitted a story last week about Chick-Fil-A opening a stand in Milwaukee's new arena, so I have to rectify my mistake by highlighting all the local food purveyors who will also be serving up eats next season.
And boy are there some heavy hitters: Klement's Sausage, The Laughing Taco, and who could forget Gold Rush Chicken? They, among numerous others, form the backbone of local ties the Bucks continue to cultivate with the move from the Bradley Center.
From the Social Media Realm
Jabari's swan song in Milwaukee. Godspeed, ‘Bari:
Love seeing stuff like this! @JabariParker surprises some local @Bucks fans with a game of pickup. Jabari has always been incredibly active in the Milwaukee community.— Scott Grodsky (@ScottGrodsky) July 13, 2018
"I just want to say I love the city, I love Milwaukee and I love the people" pic.twitter.com/nitKUaRK5E
Sterling Brown doesn't for the Summer League Spurs’s feelings:
Did SB call game on that three ?!? Lol legend— John Henson (@Johnhenson31) July 13, 2018
Oh, hey there off-season Tony Snell!
Bucks' Tony Snell knows 'preparation is the key to life'. pic.twitter.com/60ZJmLnYQU— HoopsHype (@hoopshype) July 10, 2018
One final shout out to Jabari:
As I am taking the next step in my journey and going back to my home of Chicago, I want to thank Bucks Nation for all of the incredible, unconditional support I have received over the past four years. I’ve come across some adversity in the young stages of my career, and I know my recoveries would not have been possible without the care and passion of such a strong fan base and community. You always stood by me and infused me with so much inspiration to persevere. I want to thank the Bucks organization and ownership for believing in me and providing me and my family with nothing but love since they welcomed me into their franchise. I also need to thank my teammates who have always been a source of strength for me. While I am so excited to return to Chicago, I also know that I have been incredibly blessed to realize I will always have a second home in the great city of Milwaukee #FearTheDeer
I don't have too much else to say after my little speech at the beginning of this week's piece. The Bucks, somehow, blew an eight-point lead in the closing minutes of their last game against the Philadelphia 76ers, so we're now robbed of any further Donte DiVincenzo low-lights. Actually, when I think about it, maybe getting eliminated was the best option for everyone involved.
But, for now, I leave you with encouragement to watch some Jabari highlight videos and remember some of the limited good times he had while in Milwaukee.
I hope the Bucks crush the Bulls every single time the two meet this coming season.