Bucks Rumors

Central Notes: Love, Middleton, Perkins, Pistons

Earlier tonight, we heard talk of the Cavaliers sending Kyle Korver to Philadelphia in exchange for Jerryd Bayless. While we wait to see if anything materializes in Cleveland, let’s take a look at some notes from the Central Division:

  • The Cavaliers are not shopping Kevin Love, though he could be on the move if the right offer presents itself, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst mentions on the Lowe Post podcast. The scribe adds that Khris Middleton is in the same boat with the Bucks not deeming him untouchable nor looking to deal him.
  • Cleveland waived Kendrick Perkins to “do right” by the big man and allow him to pursue training camp deals, a source tells Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. The Cavaliers signed Perkins on the final day of the 2017/18 regular season back when LeBron James was still on the roster. The team had hoped to use Perkins’ contract as part of an offseason trade.
  • The Pistons have added Tim Grgurich and Micah Nori as assistant coaches to Dwane Casey‘s staff, Ansar Khan of Mlive.com relays.
  • Alex Boeder of NBA.com examines what Brook Lopez will bring to the Bucks. Lopez should be able to help the team stretch the floor with his three-point shot, as over 40% of his shots from the field last came from behind the arc.
  • FIBA has banned Bucks center Thon Maker for three games in international play for his part in a brawl during a game in the Philippines earlier this month, according to an ESPN report. Maker said he disagreed with the decision in a written statement that was released on his Twitter account.

Bucks Sign Center Brook Lopez

JULY 17, 7:30pm: The signing is official, per team press release.

JULY 8, 2:13pm: The Bucks will sign Lakers free agent center Brook Lopez, Jordan Schultz of Yahoo Sports tweets.

Lopez will sign a one-year deal for the team’s bi-annual exception, which is worth $3.382MM, Schultz adds in another tweet.

Milwaukee already has three centers on the roster in John Henson, Thon Maker and Tyler Zeller. This will likely end Zeller’s stay with the club, as his $1.93MM salary for next season is not guaranteed.

Lopez’s NBA career began in 2008/09 with the Nets but he’s still just 30 years old. He’s developed a 3-point game in his last two seasons, first with Brooklyn and then with the Lakers. He averaged 13.0 PPG and 4.0 RPG while making 34.5% of his long-range attempts. Lopez, who started 72 of 74 games last season, averaged 20.5 PPG the previous year as a bigger part of the Nets’ attack.

His ability to space the floor should open up more driving lanes for Giannis Antetokounmpo.

The Lakers moved on from Lopez by getting a free-agent commitment from JaVale McGee and drafting Michigan big man Moritz Wagner.

More Reactions, Notes On Jabari Parker’s Bulls Deal

In the latest episode of The Lowe Post podcast, ESPN’s Zach Lowe and Brian Windhorst discuss Jabari Parker‘s move from Milwaukee to Chicago at length, suggesting that if Giannis Antetokounmpo badly wanted the Bucks to keep Parker, the team would have found a way to do it.

Despite Parker’s end-of-season dismissal of the idea that the Bucks ever offered an extension in the range of $18MM per year, both Lowe and Windhorst insist that was the case, though they acknowledge that a handful of scenarios were discussed, and Milwaukee’s multiyear offers from last fall may not have been fully guaranteed. In any case, Parker managed to exceed that annual salary on his new deal with the Bulls, albeit on a shorter-term contract.

Before he signed with the Bulls, Parker received interest from the Kings and the Nets, according to Windhorst, who suggests that Brooklyn kicked the tires on the veteran forward after lining up the Jeremy Lin trade with Atlanta. However, the Nets ultimately decided Parker’s price was too high and used their remaining cap room to take on unwanted contracts and draft picks in a deal with Denver, helping clear the path for Parker to land in Chicago.

Here’s more on Parker’s move back to his hometown:

  • Parker “means more playing for the Bulls than he ever could anywhere else,” according to Jeremy Woo of SI.com, who suggests that the former No. 2 overall pick is already “the most recognizable face on the team.” The on-court fit may not be as strong as the optics, but the Bulls are at a stage in their rebuild where it makes sense to take a chance on Parker, says Woo.
  • There’s reason to believe that Parker isn’t yet a finished product, since his development has been slowed by multiple knee injuries, writes K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. Still, Johnson acknowledges that the Bulls may have to “win some shootouts” next season, since Parker won’t improve a mediocre defense.
  • According to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, it will be important for the Bulls to limit Robin Lopez‘s minutes in 2018/19. As O’Connor explains, Lopez isn’t part of the “future equation” in Chicago, and there are only so many minutes to go around in the team’s frontcourt. The less Lopez plays, the more minutes Parker could see at the four, which is probably his best position.
  • Parker tells Nick Friedell of ESPN.com that Chicago native and former Bulls MVP Derrick Rose is “still a hero for a lot of people, including myself.” However, Rose’s time as a Bull didn’t end well, prompting Friedell to explore whether Parker could have more success with his hometown team.

Marshall Plumlee, Two Others Become UFAs

Three players who finished the 2017/18 season on two-way contracts and received qualifying offers from their respective clubs have now become unrestricted free agents. According to RealGM’s transactions log, the Bucks, Bulls, and Rockets rescinded qualifying offers for Marshall Plumlee, Ryan Arcidiacono, and Markel Brown, respectively.

Plumlee, who turned 26 on Saturday, signed a two-way deal with the Bucks in January and appeared in just eight games for the NBA club. He averaged 11.8 PPG and 8.2 RPG in 13 games for the Wisconsin Herd, Milwaukee’s G League affiliate. Plumlee posted a farewell Instagram message to the Bucks on Monday, suggesting he won’t return to the club.

Arcidiacono appeared in 24 games for the Bulls last season, but wasn’t expected to be part of Chicago’s point guard picture in 2018/19 with Kris Dunn and Cameron Payne both healthy. As for Brown, the former second-round pick appeared in only four games for Houston, but averaged 15.9 PPG and 5.0 RPG in nine games for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.

As our tracker shows, the Bulls and Rockets are each believed to have one two-way contract slot open, while the Bucks have two open slots — one may be filled by Xavier Munford, whose two-way qualifying offer remains on the table.

Players whose two-way contracts expire can be tendered qualifying offers that are equivalent to a one-year, two-way contract offer, with $50K guaranteed. Those QOs make them restricted free agents. Munford, Jabari Bird (Celtics), Tyrone Wallace (Clippers), and Darrun Hilliard (Spurs) are the only two-way RFAs still on the market.

Bucks Sign Forward Ersan Ilyasova

JULY 16, 7:25pm: The signing is official, per team press release.

JUNE 30, 11:04pm: Veteran forward Ersan Ilyasova has reached agreement on a three-year, $21MM contract with the Bucks, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The third year is non-guaranteed, league sources tell ESPN’s Zach Lowe (Twitter link).

The move represents a homecoming for the 31-year-old, who began his career in Milwaukee in 2006. Apart from two seasons in Spain, Ilyasova remained with the Bucks until they traded him to Detroit in 2015.

He started the 2017/18 season in Atlanta before agreeing to a buyout in late February and signing with the Sixers to provide shooting help in the playoffs. He averaged 9.3 points and 7.6 rebounds in 10 postseason games for Philadelphia.

Milwaukee will probably use its mid-level exception to add Ilyasova, unless it can arrange a sign-and-trade with Philadelphia or swing some other deals to clear cap room. Assuming Ilyasova’s first-year salary exceeds the taxpayer’s mid-level exception ($5.337MM) and he’s acquired via the MLE or a sign-and-trade, the Bucks would be hard-capped for the 2018/19 league year.

That hard cap could be a factor if another team makes an aggressive offer for restricted free agent Jabari Parker, as cap expert Albert Nahmad notes (via Twitter).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Notes & Reactions On The Jabari Parker Signing

The Bucks felt that the organization and Jabari Parker were trending in different directions, league sources tell Jordan Schultz of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). The team let Jabari Parker become an unrestricted free agent, allowing him to sign a two-year, $40MM deal with the Bulls.

Schultz notes that GM Jon Horst didn’t have to rescind the qualifying offer which kept Parker as a restricted free agent, but he did so to allow Parker the ability to negotiate the best possible deal with Chicago.

Here are more notes and reactions from around the league:

  • For Parker to provide good value at $20MM per season, he’ll have to develop into an All-Star caliber player, Kevin Pelton of ESPN.com writes. Pelton can envision a scenario where Parker continues to be limited defensively and becomes what amounts to a high-scoring sixth man. The scribe sees that value to be comparable to Will Barton‘s deal, one that will pay the wing an annual value of $13.5MM.
  • The Bucks would have had to part with either a productive player or attach an asset in order to dump one of their players with larger, unfriendly contract if they intended to sign Parker and stay under the luxury tax, Pelton notes in the same piece. Pelton evaluates Milwaukee’s roster and finds that it didn’t have any smaller contracts that provided poor value, meaning the franchise would have had to find takers for either Matthew Dellavedova, Tony Snell or John Henson, something that’s easier said than done.
  • The Bucks are set to have $116MM on the books this season after the signings of Ersan Ilyasova and Brook Lopez, ESPN’s Bobby Marks notes (ESPN now link). Milwaukee’s future cap space will be dependent on what Khris Middleton does with his $13MM player option next season. If he opts out and Eric Bledsoe does not return, the team could have upwards of $28MM in cap space.

Jabari Parker Signs Two-Year Deal With Bulls

12:43pm: The Bulls have officially announced their new deal with Parker, issuing a press release to confirm the signing. As detailed below, it’s a two-year, $40MM agreement, but it’s only guaranteed for the first year.

11:09am: The Bulls have agreed to a two-year, $40MM deal with Jabari Parker, who became an unrestricted free agent after the Bucks rescinded their qualifying offer, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. It was reported that the Bucks did not unilaterally withdraw their qualifying offer ahead of Friday’s deadline, but the team did so today with Parker’s consent.

Bucks general manager Jon Horst said to ESPN that the organization wasn’t going to match an offer sheet and decided to let Parker negotiate a deal as an unrestricted free agent.

“Jabari and I felt it was in the best interest of both he and the team to rescind our qualifying offer, making him an unrestricted free agent,” Horst said in a statement. “We appreciate everything Jabari has brought to our team and our community over the last four years and we wish him well.”

While Parker was reportedly interested in joining his hometown Bulls, earlier reports suggested he wanted to return to Milwaukee. Instead, Parker departs Milwaukee for a chance to prove he can stay healthy for a full season.

“I am extremely grateful to the Bucks and the incredible fans of Milwaukee for showing me so much love and encouragement,” Parker said in a statement. “Specifically, I’d like to thank Jon, Marc, Wes and Jamie for giving me my start in the NBA and supporting me throughout my career.”

Parker, 23, is a former second overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft who has shown flashes of his potential but has seen his career impacted by two ACL tears in his left knee.

After missing the start of the 2017/18 season, Parker returned to play in 31 games, averaging 12.6 PPG and 4.9 RPG in 24.0 minutes per contest. A year prior, Parker was in the midst of a career season, averaging 20.1 PPG and 6.2 RPG before tearing his ACL a second time. As Hoops Rumors wrote earlier this year, Parker is one of 97 NBA players to tear an ACL since 1970 and is one of nine players to do so twice.

With the troubled injury history, the second year of Parker’s new deal with the Bulls is a team option, Wojnarowski tweets. This lowers risk for the Bulls if Parker’s left knee fails to hold up and also gives him the option to pursue a long-term deal with Chicago if he can stay healthy and productive.

Since 2010, 33 players have torn their ACL and none of them have gone on to make an All-Star team after the injury. For Parker, this significant guarantee signals the chance to prove his left knee is capable of handling a full season and worth a more significant investment.

Image courtesy of USA Today Sports.

Bulls, Jabari Parker Discuss Possible Offer

JULY 14: The Bucks did not rescind their qualifying offer to Parker by Friday’s deadline, tweets Matt Velazquez of the Journal Sentinel. While Parker remains a restricted free agent, it remains unlikely that he returns to Milwaukee given Chicago’s expected offer, Velazquez adds.

JULY 13, 6:49pm: Chicago is close to signing Parker on a short-term deal, according to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune.

5:17pm: The Bulls are progressing on an offer sheet to Bucks restricted free agent forward Jabari Parker, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets. A number of topics are still been discussed by Chicago’s front office and Parker’s representatives, Wojnarowski adds.

The Bucks would have 48 hours to match any offer that Parker might receive. However, it appears that if Chicago truly wants Parker, Milwaukee won’t go to great lengths to keep him. The Bucks are unlikely to match an offer sheet for Parker, according to a follow-up story by Wojnarowski. In fact, Milwaukee has mulled the possibility of pulling Parker’s qualifying offer and making him an unrestricted free agent.

This would go a long way toward explaining the Bulls’ recent moves. Chicago has been clearing cap space in recent days by trading Jerian Grant, waiving Sean Kilpatrick, and withdrawing David Nwaba‘s qualifying offer. The Bulls could open up as much as $20.6MM in cap space if they also renounced Noah Vonleh‘s rights and waive Paul Zipser and Julyan Stone, ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets.

The Bucks would have to clear salary in order to avoid moving into luxury-tax territory if they chose to match a competitive offer sheet to Parker, Marks notes in another tweet.

Parker is a Chicago native and has been linked to the Bulls in multiple reports.

With Lauri Markkanen entrenched at power forward, the Bulls apparently view Parker as a solution at small forward. The 6’8” Parker, who has suffered two major knee injuries in his young career, averaged 12.6 PPG and 4.9 RPG in 31 games last season after returning from his latest injury.

Eastern Rumors: Parker, Bulls, Bucks, Faried

Amidst speculation that the Bulls are clearing cap room for a major move, multiple reports continue to link Chicago native Jabari Parker to the club.

One NBA executive who spoke to Gery Woelfel of The Racine Journal Times claimed that the Bulls are “most definitely” interested in Parker, while Vincent Goodwill of NBC Sports Chicago says he thinks “there’s some smoke” to rumors connecting the team to the Bucks‘ restricted free agent. Sources say Parker would like to be a Bull, Goodwill adds (Twitter link).

While it’s possible that the Bulls are gearing up to make a play for Parker, I’m not sure he’s an ideal match for their roster, given that he fits best at the power forward spot. Chicago has already made one big long-term commitment this month by matching Zach LaVine‘s offer sheet with Sacramento. For a team said to be prioritizing cap flexibility going forward, a lucrative offer sheet for Parker would be a surprise, which makes me wonder if the supposed mutual interest is stronger on Parker’s side than on the Bulls’ side.

As we wait to see how Parker’s market plays out, here are a few more notes and rumors from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Within his latest article, Woelfel writes that the Bucks have been exploring possible trades for Matthew Dellavedova and John Henson, but haven’t had any success.
  • The Nets and Kenneth Faried‘s representatives were set to talk this morning to see what the team’s plan is for Faried, per TNT’s David Aldridge (Twitter link). There have been no indications yet that Brooklyn plans to buy out Faried — if the team offers him a larger role than the one he had in Denver, he may be happy to stick with the Nets for 2018/19.
  • In a mailbag focusing on the Magic‘s point guard situation, Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel reiterates that the team’s interest in Isaiah Thomas was overstated, writing that the front office talked to Thomas’ camp, but never pursued a contract agreement.
  • In order to succeed with the Wizards, newly-signed center Dwight Howard will have to be willing to make some sacrifices for the team, John Wall told Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. “He has to buy into that and not try to say it’s all about him or try to do this for himself,” Wall said. “Just do it for the whole team and group and I think we will be fine.”

Cavaliers Notes: White, Doncic, Parker, Love

Okaro White has a chance to win a roster spot with the Cavaliers, but first he has to overcome the effects of a broken left foot he suffered in November, writes Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. White’s foot has fully healed, but he is still struggling with the psychological aspects of the injury and admits he’s “babying” it.

“I just gotta get through,” said White, who is part of the Cavaliers’ entry in the Las Vegas Summer League. “I’m old enough, I’m not young anymore, so I gotta get over it [mentally] and try to find a way to showcase my ability.”

White started four games for the Heat before the injury, but it wound up ending his season. He was shipped to the Hawks at the trade deadline, then signed with the Cavs in March, but never took the court for either team. The 25-year-old forward has a non-guaranteed $1,544,951 contract for 2018/19.

There’s more news out of Cleveland:

  • The Cavaliers passed on an opportunity to trade up on draft night and snag Luka Doncic, Vardon reports in a separate story. A source tells Vardon that Cleveland had an offer from Atlanta that included the No. 3 pick and Kent Bazemore, who will make more than $18MM next season with a $19.27MM option for 2019/20. However, the Cavs wanted Collin Sexton and were confident they could get him at No. 8.
  • With LeBron James gone, the Cavaliers should take a gamble on Jabari Parker, according to Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report. The second player taken in the 2014 draft, Parker could become a dynamic scorer and rebounder if he can fully bounce back from his second ACL surgery. Swartz suggests Cleveland should use its $8.6MM mid-level exception to offer Parker a two-year contract. That would give him $13.3MM more in guaranteed money than if he accepts his $4.3MM qualifying offer with the Bucks, and it would put him back on the open market in 2020 when he’ll only be 25. Swartz recommends a few other moves for the Cavs, including re-signing Rodney Hood, working out an extension with Larry Nance Jr., trying to trade veterans such as J.R. Smith and Tristan Thompson and taking on unwanted contracts to stockpile draft picks.
  • Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com suggests several trades involving Kevin Love, listing the Trail Blazers, Heat, Lakers, Suns and Jazz as possible destinations.