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Turning over all options of Jabari Parker's future with the Wizards

Turning over all options of Jabari Parker's future with the Wizards

Jabari Parker’s presence creates debates and confusion.

The no. 2 overall selection in the 2015 NBA Draft joined the Wizards following the Feb. 6 trade with the Bulls that sent Otto Porter Jr. to Chicago. That lofty draft status combined with potent scoring skills in the body of a 23-year-old power forward leads to tantalizing thoughts about a future in Washington.

Instead, spend that time planning a summer trip or contemplating the Wizards’ upcoming five-game homestand starting with Monday’s meeting with the Kings.

Regardless of what the former Duke standout accomplished in his first 12 games with Washington or over the final 16, Parker will not play for the Wizards next season on his current contract.

The Wizards are declining his team option for $20 million. This is not a sourced fact, but something of an open secret and mostly a logical conclusion.

Stating such details bluntly is not intended as a slight or any kind of assessment on Parker’s performance in Washington. In fact, there are numerous positives with the 6-foot-8 forward’s play since the trade.

Now a full year removed from his return following a second ACL tear since entering the league, Parker is averaging 13.2 points in 26 minutes per game. He is shooting a robust 54.6 percent from the field and 65.5 percent over the last five games. His 7.0 rebounds rank second on the team to the other player Washington acquired in the trade deadline deal, Bobby Portis.

Parker also uncorks highlight passes and uses his athleticism to attack the rim.

“I knew when we got him that we needed to make him an attack player,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said after last week’s game against the Mavericks.

Parker had 20 points, nine rebounds and three assists in the home win.

“The thing I didn't know is that he loves to pass the ball,” Brooks continued, “so I've been telling him to continue to do that but you got to see the basket. The basket's there for you, you're attacking. By attacking, he's explosive. He's as athletic as anybody his size in a long time."

“It's almost like [Charles] Barkley-ish the way [Jabari] can rebound the ball and take it (the) length of the court in his explosion to the basket.”

Before those daydreams return, understand none of this is to suggest the Wizards won the deal with the Bulls from a player perspective. That was unlikely from the jump, but most importantly, not the point of the trade.

The Wizards did not ship out a better player in Porter and his $26 million salary to take on Parker’s big number.

Washington needed cap space to field a competitive team next season after John Wall’s Achilles tear left the roster understaffed. The team used the remaining two-plus seasons of Porter’s four-year, $106 million contract to then create that space. Keeping Parker for $20 million wrecks such plans.

With Brooks primarily using Portis at center, Washington doesn’t currently have a single forward under contract next season. If the Wizards determine that the roster needs a fall-out-of-bed scorer, Parker could stay for a short-term deal with an annual salary far below $20 million. Should Washington decide to retool with a nod toward efficiency and steadiness, it may look elsewhere.

While Porter rarely committed turnovers, Parker loses possession with regularity.

He is tied with Bradley Beal for a team-high 3.1 turnovers despite playing 13 fewer minutes per game and handling the ball less frequently than then the two-time All-Star guard. Parker had five in Saturday’s loss at Minnesota including a crucial miscue in overtime.

According to NBA.com, Parker’s turnover ratio* of 18.0 since the trade is the NBA’s worst. He is fifth worst in the NBA this season at 13.7 among players averaging at least 25 minutes in a minimum 50 games.

While the passing gets wonky at times, the primary issue is on the bounce. In 1,042 minutes with Bulls, Parker lost the ball 19 times according to Basketball-Reference compared to 11 in 315 minutes with the Wizards.

(*TO Ratio is the number of turnovers a player or team averages per 100 possessions.)

Yet even within the turnover stat there’s reason to like what Parker’s doing with the Wizards.

Among the bottom 10 players in turnover ratio, a group including Ben Simmons and Draymond Green, only Parker’s net rating is positive (+3.1). His often ridiculed defense appears a tick more defensible than expected since joining the Wizards. He can certainly create points.

Maybe Parker drives the lane and delivers dimes next season for the Wizards. It just won’t be on his current contract, which means he’ll become a free agent over the summer. There’s no debating this even as we wrap our heads over the heights of Parker’s potential. 

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Jeff Green 'would love to come back' to Wizards, add stability to journeyman career

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Jeff Green 'would love to come back' to Wizards, add stability to journeyman career

With six different teams in the past five years, Jeff Green has become one of the NBA's most itinerant journeymen.

Including his early-career move from Seattle to Oklahoma City, when the franchise transitioned from the Sonics to the Thunder, Green has played in eight different cities. Among active players, only Ish Smith (10), Marco Bellinelli (nine), Shaun Livingston (nine) and Anthony Tolliver (nine) have played for more teams.

Being in Washington this past season, though, was different. That's because Green is from the area, having grown up nearby in Maryland. He starred at Northwestern High School in Hyattsville, then at Georgetown University in Northwest D.C.

At 32 years old (he turns 33 in August), Green does not prefer being a basketball nomad. He would like to stay with the Wizards this summer as he aims for a new contract in free agency.

"I would love to come back," Green said. "Great set of guys on this team. I loved playing with Brad [Beal], John [Wall]."

Green also mentioned playing for head coach Scott Brooks, for whom he played in Seattle and Oklahoma City. Brooks was an assistant on the Sonics staff when Green was a rookie, then took over as head coach in the middle of Green's sophomore season. Green left the Thunder after his third season and, 10 years later, was reunited with Brooks in Washington.

The biggest draw for Green to the Wizards, though, is the fact it is his hometown team. Though playing at home is a drawback for some players, Green found major benefits in being around family and in the town where he played college ball.

"Being in front of family every night was great for me. It allowed me to see my daughters more than a couple of times a year, which was great," he said. 

"Being in a familiar setting from my Georgetown days was great. Being able to go up to Georgetown and watch the guys get better, it was great. [Those are] things I haven’t been able to do since being in the league."

On the court, Green found individual success with the Wizards amid a disappointing season overall. He averaged 12.3 points and 4.0 rebounds while setting a career-high in effective field goal percentage (55.5). 

He did all of that while making the league minimum of $2.4 million. On a Wizards team that was in some ways defined by bloated salaries, Green proved a bargain. 

Hoping to come back to the Wizards was a familiar refrain from impending free agents during the Wizards' media exit interviews. Bobby Portis, Jabari Parker, Thomas Bryant and others all suggested they would like to return. 

But with a new front office leadership structure set to be installed, certainty isn't offered for anyone. For Green, the Wizards' new general manager will need to evaluate whether he was part of their problems. 

While Green probably exceeded expectations this season, he was on the floor when the team struggled to rebound the ball and defend just like his teammates were. The Wizards were 27th in the NBA in defensive rating this season at 112.8, according to NBA.com. Green's defensive rating was 112.6.

The Wizards and Green may ultimately not prove a fit in the eyes of the new GM. If that is the case, Green could move on to play in a new city, the ninth of his career. 

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Former Wizards Mike Scott, Jared Dudley deliver the drama in Sixers-Nets Game 4

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Former Wizards Mike Scott, Jared Dudley deliver the drama in Sixers-Nets Game 4

The 76ers-Nets playoff series has been wild from the start, but the trash talk and physical play reached the next level in the Sixers' Game 4 victory Sunday. 

The contest featured two ejections as well as a game-deciding shot with 19.7 seconds left in the fourth quarter. In the middle of it all? None other than Jared Dudley and Mike Scott, who played for the Wizards in 2015-16 and 2017-18, respectively. 

Tensions between Dudley and the Sixers had been simmering since he slammed Ben Simmons in the media after Game 1.

With 7:42 left in the third quarter Saturday, Joel Embiid committed a flagrant foul on Jarrett Allen under the basket. An incensed Dudley shoved Embiid, prompting Jimmy Butler to push Dudley away.

When Simmons to try to separate the two, he and Dudley got tangled up and tumbled into the front-row seats. Both Dudley and Butler were ejected on the spot. 

The Nets held a 67-61 advantage when Dudley and Butler were tossed, but that lead dwindled to one point with under a minute left to go. 

Brooklyn made the mistake of leaving Scott open in the corner, where Embiid set him up for a go-ahead three-pointer with 19.7 seconds remaining.

A pair of Tobias Harris free throws sealed the Sixers' 112-108 win, putting them up 3-1 in the series. Scott and company can finish off Dudley's squad in Game 5 on Tuesday. 

In the meantime, listen as Scott goes 1-on-1 with Chris Miller in the latest Wizards Talk Podcast. 

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