Jabari in the second half of his rehab timetable

Milwaukee Bucks forward Jabari Parker is over halfway through his knee rehab recovery timetable since tearing his ACL on February 8th.

Parker is adamant that his rehab is going well and his knee is feeling good. He expects to return to the Bucks and be cleared for game action sometime in February of this up-coming season.

Parker raised his performance in almost every aspect last season before tearing his ACL for the second time in three seasons with the Bucks. In 51 games last year, he averaged 20.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game, all career highs.

He also raised his three-point shooting percentage by nearly 11%. The Bucks were hoping he was just starting to turn the corner to complement their other superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Parker will be entering his fourth season this year and will be eligible to sign a contract extension from his rookie-contract scale by the October 16th deadline. If he doesn’t sign an extension by the deadline, he will become a restricted free-agent in 2018.

Report: Bucks remain on the “fringes” of Kyrie trade

If the Boston-Cleveland trade falls through for Kyrie Irving, the Bucks are one of several teams who still might have a shot at the All-Star.

The trade hasn’t been completed due to the Cleveland Cavaliers questions over Isaiah Thomas and his hip injury. The Bucks were one of the handful of teams that would be vying for Irving according to a report by ESPN’s Zach Lowe.

The Bucks have previously offered Malcolm Brogdon, the reigning NBA Rookie of the Year, and veteran Khris Middleton.

That trade was weighed heavily by the Cavaliers before  agreeing to terms with the Boston Celtics. According to Lowe, he believes if the Bucks threw in a future first round pick, that would ultimately get the deal done.

The Bucks are reluctant to throw in a first round pick, because they don’t believe Irving would likely sign long-term. Irving, 25, is entering the prime of his career and has two years left on his current contract.

Other teams in the mix if the deal doesn’t go through are the Denver Nuggets and the  Phoenix Suns

Bucks announce date, uniforms for “Return to the MECCA” game

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Bucks fell to the Boston Celtics in the 1974 NBA Finals. They’ll get their chance at a do-over when the two teams meet for a throwback game on Oct. 26.

The contest has been dubbed the “Return to the MECCA,” with the game being played at the UW Milwaukee Panther Arena, the original home of the Bucks franchise. Milwaukee will also wear a Nike version of the team’s original uniforms, in rotation from 1968-69 to 1971-72.

Bucks legend Jon McGlocklin announced the upcoming matchup in a press conference Tuesday morning. The Oct. 26 contest will air at 6 p.m. on TNT.

The Bucks recently released their 2017-18 season schedule, though the “Return to the MECCA” date was previously unlisted.

Mayo hopes to return to the Bucks

O.J. Mayo has came out publicly and said he would like to return to the Milwaukee Bucks after his two-year suspension from the NBA is over. He is serving a two-year ban due to violating the league’s drug policy.

His suspension will keep him out of the league once again this season, and he won’t be able to sign with any NBA team until July 1st, 2018.

Mayo, who will be 30, is asking for the Bucks to give him another chance and allow him to make up for the sub-par player he was before the suspension.

In his last season with the Bucks, he averaged 7.8 points, 2.9 assists, and 2.6 rebounds per game. Mayo cites the inability to play the game he loves for the change in his mindset and temperament. Since his 2015 season with the Bucks, he has gained some weight, and hasn’t been playing basketball.

Giannis Antetokounmpo to miss Eurobasket tournament with knee injury

CHINA — A knee injury suffered two weeks ago in practice will keep Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo from competing in the upcoming FIBA Eurobasket tournament later this month.

Antetokounmpo was poised to lead the Greek national team in the tournament — something he pleased with Bucks management to allow him to do |but the results of an MRI revealed he will be unable to play.

The NBA’s 2016-17 Most Improved Player announced the news Saturday on his Facebook page, which has since been translated by Eurohoop:

I want everyone to be informed by me that I will not be able to play for the Greek national team in the upcoming Eurobasket. All this time I was pressuring myself to practice. I was trying to fool myself and not feel the pain, hoping that I will be ready for the official games. My will affected my judgement, but in the tests I took here in China with the Bucks personnel, it was time for the truth.

I failed in the tests I was put to and the reason was the pain I felt from the first seconds. I can accept the truth and deal with it in a mature manner. I have to work and improve as much as I can the condition of my knee.

Last summer I had the option to “freeze” the deal for my contract extension. This year I have no choice. I am injured, I feel pain and I must heal.

This is by far the biggest disappointment that I have felt until now in my career. I want to wish the best from the bottom of my heart to my teammates and coaches. The national team is my favorite team and in the future I will prove together with my teammates that we can achieve high goals and make all Greeks happy.

However, for now the present is the priority. I urge the fans to not give bigger proportions to my absense and to concentrate on the players who will fight in the upcoming Eurobasket for a success that has been missing for years. History is written by those who are present and I have with great sorrow to accept and announce that I will be absent.

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Though no official diagnosis or timetable was revealed, the fact that Antetokounmpo referred to the injury as “the biggest disappointment…in my career” should leave Bucks fans worried about his health for the upcoming season.

The Eurobasket tourmament begins on Aug. 31 and concludes on Sept. 17.

Report: Bucks interested in Kyrie Irving, but Giannis “untouchable”

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Bucks welcome the Cleveland Cavaliers on Oct. 20, and could be taking on the former world champions with one of their star players.

A report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski indicates the Bucks have expressed interest in point guard Kyrie Irving, who earlier this summer voiced his preference to be traded from the Cavaliers. That report also indicated that Giannis Antetokounmpo is the only player Milwaukee considers “untouchable” and all other options are on the table.

The problem for Milwaukee is cap space. They have one of the highest payrolls in the NBA with roughly $14.5 million left before the luxury tax kicks in. That likely means the Bucks would need to give up more talent in order to make a trade for Irving, the top overall pick of the 2011 Draft.

This page will be updated as more is reported.

Breaking down the Bucks 2017-18 schedule

MILWAUKEE — The NBA released its full schedule of games Monday night, highlighted by some key dates for the Milwaukee Bucks.

While the Bucks will have fewer nationally televised games in the 2017-18 season than in past years (16, down from 20 the past two seasons), they’ll still be part of some marquee matchups. That includes games on Halloween (vs Thunder), New Year’s Day (@ Raptors), Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 4 @ Nets), St. Patrick’s Day (vs Hawks), and Easter (@ Nuggets).

Milwaukee’s schedule should be a little less taxing, with 14 back-to-back games, down from 17 last season.

The full schedule can be found here.

Key Matchups
Oct. 18 @ Boston Celtics
The Bucks have opened the season at home each of the past two seasons, so it’s their turn to open on the road in 2017-18. Milwaukee went 1-2 against Boston last season, finishing the regular season with a 112-94 loss at the TD Garden.

Oct. 20 vs Cleveland Cavaliers
One of the Bucks’ top opponents comes at the start of the schedule, with LeBron James and company heading to the BMO Harris Bradley Center to hand Milwaukee another early test. It remains to be seen if Kyrie Irving will be part of that roster.

Jan. 1 @ Toronto Raptors
The Bucks will have to wait until New Year’s Day to get a measure of revenge against the team that knocked them out of the first round of last year’s playoffs. It could also help decide what direction Milwaukee heads with the All Star break slated for mid-February.

Return to The MECCA?
For months, the Bucks have been teasing a return to the UW | Milwaukee Panther Arena, formerly known as The MECCA, where the team called home during its only championship in 1971. That year, the Bucks beat the Washington Bullets for the championship, so it’s possible the highly-anticipated return could take place on either Nov. 20 or Feb. 27 when the Washington Wizards are scheduled to visit Milwaukee.

Bucks to have Harley-Davidson logo on jersey next season

The Milwaukee Bucks and Harley-Davidson have agreed to a multi-year deal for the historic Harley-Davidson shield logo to be featured on the Bucks jerseys. The up-coming season (2017-18) is the first year the National Basketball Association (NBA) will permit teams to sell advertising sponsorship space to companies.

Both organizations are internationally known and also have deep Wisconsin roots. Through this partnership, both organizations are hoping to develop and expand their products to the highest levels of the market.

The Harley-Davidson shield logo will be located on the left side of the shoulder/chest and opposite of the Nike logo. New Milwaukee Bucks jerseys with the patch will be available at the Bucks Pro Shop.

Jordan Brady hired to coach the Bucks’ G League affiliate

The Wisconsin Herd has its first head coach.

The G League affiliate of the Milwaukee Bucks named Jordan Brady as coach for its first ever season.

“My family and I couldn’t be more excited for the opportunity to be a part of the Milwaukee Bucks and Wisconsin Herd family as well as the Oshkosh community,” Brady said in statement on the team’s website. “I look forward to working with (general manager) Dave (Dean) and the entire organization to build a successful team that is committed to developing young, talented players on and off the court.”

Brady has a lot of minor league basketball experience, including spending time with five different organizations in recent years as an assistant coach. He also played three years in what was then the D League.

“The Wisconsin Herd is an important component in building a championship-caliber team in Milwaukee, and Jordan brings the grit, leadership and vision necessary to spark that process in Oshkosh,” Dean said. “Jordan has the right experience and tools to develop young talent and build the foundation for a successful NBA G League team. We are excited to have him at the helm for the Herd in our inaugural season.”

The Herd will get its first year underway in November. Among the players on the team, which will play its games in a new 3,500-seat arena in Oshkosh, is former Wisconsin guard Bronson Koenig.

Report: Bucks among eight teams to wear throwbacks in 2017-18 season

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Bucks will celebrate 50 seasons in the NBA come 2018, and to go along with it is a fifth jersey option dating back to the team’s inaugural season.

According to the report from SportsLogos.net, the Bucks are among eight teams donning throwback or “classic” jerseys for the 2017 season. Other teams are the Hawks, Hornets, Lakers, Heat, Warriors, Pacers, and Suns.

Photos: Getty Images/Bucks.com

While the above images may not be an exact representation of what Milwaukee could be wearing in the 2017-18 season, they should be rough estimate of the appearance. More details are expected as the season approaches.

The decision to add a fifth jersey option kicks off an eight-year partnership between the NBA and Nike.

It’s unclear exactly when Milwaukee might opt to wear the “classics,” but it’s widely believed that might happen during the team’s “Return to the Mecca” game played at the UW | Milwaukee Panther Arena, where the Bucks played their inaugural season. Details will be released at a later date.