Timing of Parker injury likely ruins chances of max contract

MILWAUKEE — Adding insult to injury for Milwaukee Bucks forward Jabari Parker is the reality of what his second torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) means for his next NBA contract.

At just 21 years of age, there’s plenty of basketball ahead for the Duke product, but the fact that Wednesday’s injury occurred to the same knee as two years ago raises questions about Parker’s durability and if he can get back to the same form he started to show this season.

NBA rookies typically sign two-year contracts upon entering the league, with team options for the third and fourth year. Parker is currently on year three of that contract structure, earning a base salary of roughly $5.4 million. Because Milwaukee had already exercised its option for the fourth year, Parker’s next step was to earn a max contract extension.

That now appears to be in doubt.

While the No. 2 overall draft pick of 2014 is scheduled to be owed about $6.8 million next season, he may instead be looking at free agency in the next few months.

A max contract for players with fewer than six years of NBA experience earn either $9 million or 25 percent of the team salary cap, whichever is greater. In Parker’s case, the estimated salary cap for the 2018-19 season is $103 million. The current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) gives teams 42.14 percent of the NBA’s basketball-related income (BRI), while the 2017 CBA gives teams 44.74 percent. In layman’s terms, the Bucks will have a 2018-19 salary cap of roughly $46.1 million, rather than $43.4 million.

That would have been good news for Parker, who could have made an estimated $11.52 million per year under the new CBA. Under the old terms, he would have maxed out at $10.8 million.

But it all remains to be seen what Milwaukee decides to do with one of the cornerstones of its “Own the Future” movement. Parker ranks second on the team in points per game (20.1), third in total rebounds per game (6.2), and fourth in assists per game (2.8).