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Report: Bucks offered Jabari Parker contract extension worth $18 million annually

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Jabari Parker reportedly wanted a max contract extension. That obviously didn’t happen.

But how much did the Bucks offer before the rookie-scale-extension window closed?

Zach Lowe of ESPN:

The Bucks were prepared during those October talks to offer a three-year deal worth around $54 million, according to sources familiar with the discussions. The two sides discussed other permutations — shorter deals, incentive-laden four-year deals — and the talks never narrowed to a single on-paper offer. Still: Milwaukee’s upper limit in annual salary — about $18 million per season — was clear, sources say.

I don’t think a healthy Parker would be worth $18 million annually. He’s a good scorer, but his unproven 3-pointer leaves questions about floor-spacing, and his defensive level is poor until proven otherwise. A salary-cap crunch will limit salaries.

But Parker is just 22, and he should get better. His upside is arguably high and achievable enough to justify an $18 million-per-year bet. Scoring is still the the most appreciated skill, so Parker would have trade value.

Again, though, that’s evaluating a healthy Parker. In reality, he’s just coming off his second ACL injury to the same knee. His future is so uncertain. I probably would have advised him to lock into that life-changing money last fall. He’s betting on himself.

Parker still has a couple more months plus the playoffs to prove himself heading into restricted free agency. When the Bucks and other teams consider him this summer, they should have a much better idea about his level of play than Milwaukee had last offseason so soon after his latest injury.

PBT Extra: Disciplined Celtics highlight bad habits of Milwaukee Bucks

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Giannis Antetokounmpo has been every bit the top five NBA player in the postseason — 32.5 points per game on 63.2 percent shooting, plus with 11 rebounds and 7.5 assists per game.

Yet the Bucks are down 0-2 to Boston.

The Celtics have had a strong series from Al Horford and Terry Rozier, but the real difference is in the discipline this team has shown all season — Boston knows who it is. Clearly, Milwaukee does not. They turn the ball over too much and make too many mistakes.

I get into all of that in this PBT Extra, and I wonder if that’s something the Bucks can really turn around mid-playoffs.

Ettore Messina to coach Spurs in Game 3 following death of Gregg Popovich’s wife

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Spurs coach Gregg Popovich’s wife, Erin, died yesterday.

That sad news was felt throughout the NBA, and it obviously affects San Antonio most closely. That includes for tonight’s Game 3 against the Warriors.

Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News:

Ettore Messina was a longtime head coach in Europe. The Spurs lead assistant also took over for a few regular-season games Popovich missed. So, making – rather than advising – coaching decisions won’t be a brand new challenge to Messina.

But down 2-0 to defending-champion Golden State is a tough place to make an NBA playoff debut.

On the bright side, there will be no pressure. Not only has San Antonio been outclassed the first two games of the series, focus is rightly on the Popovich family. A win would be a pleasant surprise and help Messina – who’s up for the Hornets job – in his pursuit of a head-coaching position. A loss would be quickly forgotten with more important matters at hand.

To that end, hopefully the time away allows Popovich the space he needs to grieve. That matters far more than a basketball game.

Report: Knicks to interview Kenny Smith for head-coaching job

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The Knicks are casting a wide net in their coaching search.

It’ll apparently include a familiar, though surprising, name.

ESPN:

TNT analyst Kenny Smith will interview for the New York Knicks’ head-coaching job on Friday, a source told ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith.

A quality organization, the Rockets, interviewed Smith (in 2016, before hiring Mike D’Antoni). So, this isn’t proof of the Knicks’ oddball thinking. (There are plenty of better examples, if you wish).

Steve Kerr opened the door for former players to go straight from TV to being an NBA head coach without having any coaching experience. He’s been a smash hit with the Warriors.

But Kerr was also the Suns’ general manager before Golden State hired him. Smith has no front-office experience.

So, it’s tough to judge Smith, whose role on television is more to entertain than inform (though he does both). He’ll have to really wow in his interview to get the job.

But at least he has that opportunity.

Pacers coach Nate McMillan slips and falls while arguing call (video)

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Nate McMillan slipped up in his handling of Victor Oladipo‘s early fouls during the Pacers’ Game 2 loss to the Cavaliers last night.

Then, the Indiana coach literally slipped while arguing that LeBron James should have been called for offensively fouling Lance Stephenson.