Early in February, just when the Milwaukee Bucks thought they were getting back on track, they suffered a cruel twist of fate. On Feb. 8, the night Khris Middleton played his first game of the season, Jabari Parker went down with a torn ACL. Now, instead of spending a full offseason healthy and preparing for a return to the playoffs, the Bucks will once again have to figure out how to get along without a key member of their core. Itâs a tough blow for a young team that has seemed to be on the brink of a breakthrough for a few years now.Parker, however, is thinking positive. The third-year forward, who was averaging over 20 points and six rebounds this season before he got injured, spoke to the media for the first time since suffering the knee injury, and he told reporters that he thinks he can come back better than ever. via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel âItâs going to be fun, to tell you the truth,â Parker said of his recovery program. âI love challenges. I love being in the position I am. I cheap jerseys authentic didnât really feel like talking, but I feel like God has given me this for a reason, because He knows I can handle it. âSo I take that burden, because I know a lot of people canât go through this.â Parker said he believes he can surpass the form he showed this season. âI donât want to be the same player,â Parker said. âI wouldnât be myself if I donât challenge myself to do better things, bigger things. âI know I can be better.â If Parker, who was averaging career-highs in scoring, rebounding, assists and 3-point percentage this year, can come back even better, that will be more than welcomed by the Bucks. Unfortunately, due to the 12-month timetable on the injury, we likely wonât see Parkerâs return until sometime around next yearâs All-Star break. And since it will take him the rest of the season to get reacclimated, the 2017-18 season might already be shaping up to be another rebuilding year in Milwaukee.
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CHICAGO — Milwaukee Bucks forward Jabari Parker is pumping the positivity as he recovers from another torn ACL in his left knee, the second time he has suffered the injury in three seasons.“I feel great,” Parker told ESPN.com during a promotional appearance in Chicago on Thursday. “I tell myself every day I couldn’t be in a better situation because it’s going to make me a great man at the end of the day. It’s going to make me mentally tough and it’s going to help me for the future.” Parker, 22, initially tore his ACL in December 2014 and is in what cheap nba jerseys authentic figures to be a yearlong rehab process after reinjuring the knee in early February last season. He does not have a return date in mind. “As of right now, the way I treat my body, it doesn’t have a date,” he said. “I can give you a little piece of information: I’m not the average person with this injury. Obviously I had it once, but I’ve done stuff so far that’s exciting. But most importantly, I want to be able to jump as high, jump higher than I was, be faster than I was. That’s the only way I’ll play again.” Parker says the mental part of the rehabilitation is more difficult than the physical part. “It’s definitely mental,” he said. “Especially if it happens to you more than once. “But actually, me getting hurt the second time has helped me embrace [rehab and recovery] stronger than I did the first one. It gave me that mentality [of] I don’t give a f— no more. Excuse my language, but I just don’t. If it happens [again], it happens. But I’m not going to let that hold me back. And if it happens again, I’m just going to do the same stuff I was before.” Parker, the second overall pick in the 2014 draft, acknowledged that there was a brief moment when he couldn’t believe the injury occurred again. “For two seconds,” he said. “When I heard the news. When I read over my MRI with the doctor. Two seconds. After that, I was just like, get back to work.” Parker, who won four high school state titles at Simeon Career Academy in Chicago, said he has taken some motivation from watching former NBA MVP and fellow Simeon alum Derrick Rose. The freshly minted Cleveland Cavaliers guard has made his way back from several serious knee injuries of his own. “He had a great year with the Knicks,” Parker said. “People who know basketball and appreciate him, they give him some type of respect, and that’s just what I want. I don’t have that career that I wanted so far, but what stands out is the respect that I’ll have from overcoming my obstacles.”
In case you missed it this morning, ESPN’s Tim McMahon and Bobby Marks collaborated on an excellent piece detailing how the irresponsible spending by NBA teams last summer could impact a star-studded free agent class in 2018.Which is music to the ears of Bulls’ front office executives John Paxson and Gar Forman, who are hoping to be a major player on the free agent market next year. The ESPN report projected only nine teams having cap space to bid on a free agent class that could include Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, Paul George, DeMarcus Cousins, Chris Paul, Isaiah Thomas, Carmelo Anthony, DeAndre Jordan, LaMarcus Aldridge, Avery Bradley, Brook Lopez, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Wilson Chandler, Danny Green, Enes Kanter and Greg Monroe, along with restricted free agents like Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid, Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Gary Harris, Jusuf Nurkic, Marcus Smart, Rodney Hood, Julius Randle, Dante Exum, Aaron Gordon and Clint Capela. Bad summer not to have any spending money. But that’s exactly what Paxson and Forman were anticipating when they chose not to get involved in the reckless spending triggered by the league’s new TV deal last summer. We all know about some of the terrible contracts handed out including a four-year, $72 million deal to Joakim Noah, four years, $64 million for Timofey cheap jerseys authentic Mozgov and Portland spending almost $150 million to lock up reserves Allen Crabbe and Evan Turner for four years. The Bulls signed Dwyane Wade, Rajon Rondo and Isaiah Canaan last summer, but avoided any salary commitment beyond two years. Both Rondo and Canaan were bought out of the team options the Bulls held for next season. Meanwhile, the Trail Blazers are now in such a deep luxury tax hole that they basically gave Crabbe away in a trade with Brooklyn earlier this week, immediately waiving the player they got back, power forward Andrew Nicholson, under the league’s stretch provision. Portland figures to be one of at least 10 teams paying the luxury tax for the 2018-19 season. I know what many of you are thinking, “Why will 2018 free agency be any different than in years past?” Yes, the Bulls missed out on primary targets James, Wade and Chris Bosh in 2010, and they failed to land Anthony in 2014. But with so many teams capped out, the Bulls will face less competition in pursuing the players they want most next summer. We’ve all heard the rumors about James wanting to finish his career in L.A., and it’s unlikely Durant, Westbrook, George or Paul would have any interest in coming to Chicago. But the Bulls could get significantly better right away in a weakened Eastern Conference by adding one or two players from a list of unrestricted free agents that could be looking for a new situation, including Cousins, Jordan, Bradley, Thomas, Caldwell-Pope, Kanter, Chandler and Green. They also could use their cap space to make a massive cap offer to a restricted free agent whose team is already in the luxury tax. Of course, the Bulls have decisions to make with their own roster as well. They still haven’t re-signed Niko Mirotic, and any contract beyond one season will reduce their cap space next summer. Plus, the key player coming back in the Jimmy Butler deal, shooting guard Zach LaVine, will be a restricted free agent next summer, and if he comes back 100 percent from ACL surgery, could command a multi-year contract starting at $20 million or more. The Bulls have contract options on the rookie deals of Bobby Portis, Kris Dunn, Cam Payne, Jerian Grant, Denzel Valentine and Lauri Markkanen, while Paul Zipser’s $1.5 million salary is not guaranteed for 2018-19. Paxson said the Bulls are committed to re-building through the draft, and the hope is they’ll wind up with a top 3 pick after next year’s lottery to grab a franchise changing talent like Missouri’s Michael Porter, Jr., International star Luka Doncic and 7-footers DeAndre Ayton of Arizona and Mohamed Bamba of Texas. Looking at the big picture, if LaVine comes back 100 percent, Dunn emerges as a legit starting point guard and Markkanen shows potential as a stretch 4, the Bulls rebuild could move quickly. Adding one of the top players in next year’s draft would be the first step, then Paxson and Forman would be armed with somewhere between $40-50 million dollars in cap space to pursue an impact free agent or two. Bulls fans remember how long it took to re-build the team after the end of the Jordan era in 1998. Jerry Krause couldn’t land a major free agent, and the Tyson Chandler-Eddy Curry experiment failed badly. Let’s hope Paxson and Forman have more luck this time around. At least they’ll have a built-in advantage when the 2018 free agent market opens for business next July with the Bulls projected to have more cap space available than any other team in the league.