Milwaukee Bucks small forward Jabari Parker will be a restricted free-agent once July 1 hits and his future with the club is up in the air.
Parker played in 31 games during the regular season after coming back from his second ACL tear and averaged 12.6 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.9 assists while shooting 48.2 percent from the field and 38.3 percent from three.
When the Bucks selected Parker with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2014 draft, the franchise envisioned him as being the face of the organization for years to come. His injuries, however, coupled with the emergence of Giannis Antetokounmpo, changed Parker’s role and his relationship with management.
The Bucks tried to trade Parker at the February trade deadline and came very close to doing so. Parker’s camp is aware the Chicago native was almost moved and that has caused some friction between Parker and the Bucks’ front office.
After a practice near the end of the season, Parker admitted he was uncertain about his future in Milwaukee.
“Honestly, it’s uncertain,” Parker 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. You just have to be prepared. Prepare for the worst. Anything can happen. I’ve seen it happen a lot of times. So I just would like to keep that mentality because you never want to be comfortable in this business.”
Strange words from a guy who is still on the team.
Then during the postseason, Parker complained about the lack of minutes he was getting from coach Joe Prunty, saying you have to be on the coaches “good side” to get playing time.
Parker played roughly 24 minutes a game against the Boston Celtics during the seven-game first-round series and put up 10.0 points per contest.
Parker’s injury history will likely cost him some money on the open market. As a restricted free-agent, Parker can sign an offer sheet with another team and then the Bucks have to decide if they want to match the offer or not.
Count Antetokounmpo as one member of the Bucks who is not worried about Parker’s free-agency, as the Greek Freak is confident Parker will be back next year.
“Jabari ain’t going nowhere,” Antetokounmpo told Boston.com after the Game 7 loss to the Celtics. “He’s going to be here and he’s going to be ready for the next season and we are going to be all excited — playing in a new arena and everyone is going to be having fun.”