Milwaukee Bucks: Has Jason Terry’s time with the team come to an end?

MILWAUKEE, WI - APRIL 26: (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI - APRIL 26: (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

After two seasons as a cult hero and useful bench contributor, all signs point to Jason Terry‘s stay with the Milwaukee Bucks having come to an end.

As the summer has wound on, it’s become increasingly unlikely that Jason Terry will be returning for a third season with the Milwaukee Bucks in 2018-19.

A veteran of 19 NBA seasons, the past two of which have come in Milwaukee, Terry has proved to be an incredibly popular figure with both teammates and fans throughout his time with the Bucks, with his vibrant personality and competitive streak frequently coming to the fore.

Even more importantly, in spite of his advancing years, Terry frequently proved his worth on the court too.

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Between the regular season and playoffs combined, Terry played in 134 games across the last two seasons with the Bucks. In those minutes on the floor, Terry acted as a calming influence capable of bringing the best out of his young teammates, one of Milwaukee’s more consistent three-point marksmen and floor spacers, and surprisingly as a solid defender who plugged up the Bucks’ porous scheme better than most.

Terry’s good work in Milwaukee is highlighted by the team’s positive net rating with him on the court in both of his seasons as a Buck. In 2016-17, the Bucks outscored opponents by 4.7 points per 100 possessions with Terry on the floor, while they were 1.7 points better per 100 possessions with him in 2017-18 too.

In theory, all of that would seem to point to a player who the Bucks would be determined to bring back for the upcoming season, but with Terry set to turn 41 in September, that decision is a lot less straight forward.

The former Arizona Wildcat has made no secret of his desire to play next season in what would be his 20th campaign in the NBA, but as the Bucks continue to build a team they hope can compete for years to come, justifying a roster spot for a player at such an advanced stage of his career is by no means easy.

Speaking in his exit interview following the Bucks’ playoff loss to the Boston Celtics, Terry revealed he’d already communicated to the front office that not only was he looking to play for one more season, but that his preference was to do so in Milwaukee.

"“I’m going to play another year. I can honestly stand here before you and tell you that all my efforts will be to come back with this organization. Obviously, I know my impact. I’ve been here two years now, and I want to see the finished product. Because I know the potential, I know where this organization is headed, and this year was another step — though we didn’t get the result we wanted — it was another step in the right direction.I know management, I’ve already had my discussions with them, and we’ll continue to talk throughout the summer. My intention is to come back here and finish it out here. I’m not saying it will be my final season, but I want to do 20 [seasons in the NBA] and then I’ll re-evaluate after that.”"

Looking at the moves made by the Bucks this summer, it’s not unreasonable to wonder whether the Bucks had already decided against Terry returning for another season shortly after the season wrapped up, as the decision to draft Donte DiVincenzo with the 17th overall pick swallowed up a lot of the backcourt minutes that could otherwise have gone to Terry.

Of course, it’s still possible the Bucks opt to bring the veteran leader back. Tyler Zeller‘s non-guaranteed contract would offer an easy path to doing so, and who knows, there could still be trades in store that would open up further roster spots too.

As things stand, the fact Terry isn’t even among those on training camp contracts makes it seem like his time with the Bucks has come to an end, though.

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If that turns out to be the case, Terry’s twilight years in Milwaukee will be fondly remembered, but in playing for this long in the first place, it may be unwise to completely write off a comeback from JET just yet.