As cap space quickly disappears around the NBA, is Milwaukee Bucks’ restricted free agent Jabari Parker running out of options?
Jabari Parker’s free agency and the decision it left the Milwaukee Bucks facing was never going to be simple.
Parker’s future was never likely to be resolved in the first couple of days of free agency, yet as we reach that point in proceedings, it’s fair to say he may have fewer options than most would have anticipated.
The Bucks’ decision to secure a deal with Ersan Ilyasova shortly after free agency opened limited Milwaukee’s potential offers to Parker, and may even have signaled that the former second overall pick doesn’t rank near the top of the franchise’s offseason priorities.
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Of course, that could always be a leverage play on Milwaukee’s part, yet it was a high risk one that certainly opened up a clearer route for a rival to steal Parker away.
The problem for the 22-year-old and his agent is the apparent lack of teams positioning themselves to make such a deal.
The Brooklyn Nets, Indiana Pacers, Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers all stood out as teams with significant cap space who could have had interest in Parker’s services heading into free agency, yet through a variety of transactions it would now seem increasingly unlikely that any of those teams would have the salary or the will to extend a meaningful offer.
The Sacramento Kings were reported as having interest in Parker less than a week ago, but concerns over his potential cost and positional fit are said to have turned them off the idea in the time since.
More recently, Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype suggested that the Bulls could be interested in a deal for the Chicago native, yet with a decision over Zach LaVine‘s future still hanging over proceedings in the Windy City that may not come to pass either.
Of course, there’s still a possibility that a team without obvious salary space to add Parker could approach the Bucks about a potential sign-and-trade, but that’s just one example of how Milwaukee’s control over Parker’s future as a restricted free agent has possibly even further increased in the past 48 hours.
The Bucks could still choose to re-sign Parker to a deal, but with a hard cap in place since using the mid-level exception on Ilyasova, Milwaukee can’t stretch as far as they once could have and may not even have a desire to do so.
A greater possibility may even involve Parker signing the qualifying offer extended to him by the Bucks. That scenario would see Parker return to the Bucks next season before entering unrestricted free agency next summer.
As much as there’s still time for things to change and it will only take one team to make an offer, the first 48 hours of free agency haven’t provided Parker with the kind of leverage he likely hoped for.