The Milwaukee Bucks lost Jabari Parker to another ACL tear.
The 21-year-old forward tore his left ACL last night against the Miami Heat and will miss an estimated 12 months - the second time in three years he's suffered the injury.
It throws a giant wrinkle into Parkers' future with the Bucks, and perhaps the NBA.
Jabari Parker is out 12 mo. w/2nd ACL tear.What should Bucks do as he'll be a restricted FA after next season? Read: https://t.co/k0Iud9hdJY— 580 WKTY (@wkty) February 10, 2017
With the salary cap going up, and the way the Bucks roster is constructed now, this offseason will be the last time for some time they will be able to offer big money to a free agent - though there aren't a lot of great options to do so - as long as Greg Monroe opts out of his $19 million deal and no trades are made.
Back in October, Milwuakee exercised its $6.8 million team option on Parker for next season under the NBA's rookie contract.
Heading into next season, odds were the Bucks would have signed Parker to a long-term deal, much like the one Giannis Antetokounmpo signed in September - four years, $100 million.
That was almost a guarantee before Wednesday. Now, however, the roads for Parker go in every direction.
Parker will be a restricted free agent after next season. He'll have about a third of the season - and maybe playoffs, if the Bucks get there - to prove himself.
If, say, he does come back to any promising capacity, there will be a team out there that will offer him a four-year max contract. It'll be up to the Bucks to match it or let him walk for nothing.
They will not be able to use the money they save in not signing Parker on another free agent, because they would be over the cap, the way the roster is constructed now.
The Bucks could also offer him a contract before that, though that seems unlikely, unless it's for a discount.
The Bucks could showcase Parker for a few weeks and try to trade him before the trade deadline next season, but that might be forcing him back on the floor early for selfish reasons.
The other option is Parker plays out the next two seasons with the Bucks under his rookie deal - $8.9 million for 2017-18 - and hits unrestricted free agency after that, which is very unlikely.
Parker, the No. 2 pick in the 2014 draft, tore his left ACL in December of his rookie season and returned 11 months later, playing 25 games. He played 76 games the next season (2015-16).