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