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Drafting Rui Hachimura and the impact it has on Jabari Parker’s future

Drafting Rui Hachimura and the impact it has on Jabari Parker’s future

Sometime in the next week, the Wizards are expected to decline the $20 million team option for Jabari Parker's contract. The deadline is technically June 29, but the move has been predictable since the day they traded for him. 

With their salary cap constraints and the majority of their roster to fill out, that direction is easy to deduce. The real question is whether the Wizards and Parker will come to terms on a new contract to keep him in Washington.

There is some motivation on both sides. The Wizards like Parker's athleticism and scoring ability and believe he has underrated upside. And Parker genuinely enjoys playing in Washington.

Continuing their partnership, though, may not be cheap. Parker's asking price is expected to start around $15 million annually, NBC Sports Washington has learned, and that number could go up or down.

His market is unpredictable after a season in which he averaged 14.5 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists while shooting 49.3 percent from the field. Asking around the league for Parker's salary projection often brings some variation of the answer: 'good question.'

The Wizards would probably need Parker's price to go down to make it work and especially now that they added a first round pick in Rui Hachimura who plays a similar game. A common player comparison for Hachimura in mock drafts was Parker.

The Wizards also have other players with high priority to retain like Thomas Bryant and Tomas Satoransky, both restricted free agents. They also have restricted free agent Bobby Portis, who would be the most expensive to keep.

Parker, though, has some motivation to consider any offer from the Wizards. He really liked playing in D.C. and considered it the best fit of his career so far.

Parker indicated as much both publicly and privately. And he remains very fond of the Wizards organization now that months have passed, according to someone familiar with his free agent plans.

His time with the Bulls, of course, was a nightmare that ended in a trade following a disagreement with the coaching staff. So, that one is easy to see. But he was also happier playing in Washington than he was in Milwaukee.

At this point in his career, comfort and fit could be more important than ever. At 24, he is still young and has the chance to continue ascending as an NBA player.

But his stock is not exactly at an all-time high after splitting the 2018-19 season on bad teams with his reputation getting dragged through the mud by anonymous sources while he was in Chicago. He also has a well-documented injury history including two ACL tears.

Parker could probably use a reset. A short-term contract could suit him well. If he put up good numbers and helped a team win games, he could set himself up for a more lucrative contract down the road.

Maybe that will be in Washington.

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Rui Hachimura flattered by praise from LeBron James, is focused on playoffs

Rui Hachimura flattered by praise from LeBron James, is focused on playoffs

WASHINGTON -- LeBron James may not be the best player in the NBA anymore, but no one in today's game can match his legacy. He's probably a top-five player in league history and he's still one of the faces of the league.

So, his opinion carries a little bit of weight and last weekend James had some really nice things to say about Wizards rookie Rui Hachimura. James called him "really talented" and said "I think he's going to be a really, really good player in our league."

That, understandably, made an impact on Hachimura, who is only 22 years old with 30 NBA games under his belt.

"I'm happy to see a guy like that [say that]. He's a legend," Hachimura said. "But I want to improve more on a lot of things. I'm not done yet. I'm a rookie and I'm still learning a lot of things. This is my first year. I want to work hard more and win for this team."

That's a solid answer. Hachimura knows he has a long way to go to accomplish what he hopes to achieve in the NBA.

One of his goals, though, he feels the Wizards can reach quite soon. They are ninth in the East and three games back in the playoff race, but Hachimura thinks they can get there.

"I think we can make it. March is a hard schedule, but if we improve our defense we will have a good chance to make the playoffs," he said.

Hachimura has already shown a knack for doing things before they are expected. He's taken to the NBA very quickly and already has James singing his praise. The playoffs would be just another example.

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John Wall says sitting out season was always the plan, but Wizards can make playoffs

John Wall says sitting out season was always the plan, but Wizards can make playoffs

WASHINGTON -- Several of John Wall's favorite things collided on Thursday night at the Lucky Strike bowling alley in Northwest D.C. as the Wizards hosted a charity event for local kids.

Wall likes giving back, behind around his teammates and he absolutely loves to bowl. Wall, in fact, bowls "at least three times a week" and is having a lane built inside his house. He said one of the most "miserable" parts of his injury rehab was the early going when he wasn't allowed to bowl.

Now Wall can bowl all he wants and he can even practice with the team. But his return is still expected to be months away, at the start of next season.

Wall addressed the media and explained how he has not struggled with that decision, to take a year off, despite having now not played in an NBA game for almost 14 months.

"That was my plan from the start," he said. "Just going through the whole process and seeing what my friend DeMarcus [Cousins] had gone through coming back early. They say after a year you're clear, but it takes almost a year-and-a-half to get full strength and everything back."

Wall is pleased with his progress so far. He has been seen doing all sorts of basketball activities in social media videos from dunking to running, to playing in scrimmages. But he insists he isn't all the way back yet, despite how healthy he may look in those clips.

"I'll find my way when the time is right," he said. "The power and the strength and the adrenaline and the stamina; I don't have that yet. That's what I'm trying to get to."

Wall had surgery to repair a ruptured left Achilles tendon on Feb. 12 of last year. He has not played in an NBA game since Dec. 26 of 2018, having first had a procedure to remove bone spurs in his heel.

He's had a lot of time to sit and watch and he doesn't seem to be in too much of a rush to change that, which is good news for the Wizards and their medical staff. Wall believes the Wizards may even be able to make the playoffs without him this season.

"They have a shot, maybe not an easy shot. But they have a chance," he said.

The Wizards are currently ninth in the East and three games back of the final playoff spot. They won't have Wall to help them, but he thinks they can close the gap.

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