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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