Report: Jabari Parker Tanked Cavs Workout Because He Prefers Bucks

This keeps becoming more muddled as we inch closer to Thursday’s NBA Draft. In ESPN’s latest mock draft, Chad Ford reports that Jabari Parker purposefully underperformed during his Cavs workout because he prefers to play for the Bucks, who hold the No. 2 pick.

We mentioned Andrew Wiggins‘ possible jump to No. 1 this morning, with reports stating that his workout was vastly better than Parker. Now sources are telling Chad Ford, Jabari deliberately obfuscated his talents during the workout in an attempt to land at No. 2 with Milwaukee.

If you wondering why anyone would want to go to Milwaukee to play for the Bucks, remember the alternative is the Cavs — as notoriously bad as Milwaukee has ever been — and Parker hails from Chicago’s south side, which is just an hour and a half south of Milwaukee along the western edge of Lake Michigan.

Here’s Ford with the latest saga (Insider Only) in the ongoing drama surrounding the No. 1 pick:

Sources close to the Cavs told ESPN.com this weekend that the team is now leaning toward taking Parker with the No. 1 pick. However, it’s far from a lock. Parker came in to work out on Friday in front of the Cavs’ front office and ownership. Parker wasn’t great. He was a bit heavy (he weighed in at 255 pounds), didn’t shoot the ball well and got winded at times. Furthermore, two different sources told ESPN.com that Parker seemed a bit indifferent. One source said he thought Parker “tanked” the workout.

Why? A source says he strongly prefers to play in Milwaukee. The Cavs appear to be aware of this. “Jabari wasn’t himself,” one source said. “It was clear we weren’t his first option.”

Meanwhile, Wiggins came in and nailed his workout on Wednesday. He shot the ball well, showed off tremendous athleticism and had a good interview. In fact, Wiggins was emphatic that he wants to be the No. 1 pick and wants to play for the Cavs.

Still, Ford lists Parker at No. 1 because GM David Griffin feels — rightfully, we might add — Parker fills a more expeditious need at the small forward spot and is more NBA-ready than Wiggins at this point. Griffin’s view clashes with that of ownership, who can only really go on what they saw during the workout, a disengaged Parker and an ambitious Wiggins:

From what I can gather, while there are disagreements in the front office, Cavs GM David Griffin feels that Parker fits a more immediate need at the 3. Parker also is the most NBA-ready. They feel that whether he wants to play there or not, those hesitations will disappear when he arrives. They have a new front office and a new coach, who the Cavs believe can actually help them build the sort of culture they want. Parker’s workout on Friday did create doubt, especially among ownership, but so far it looks like they are still leaning toward Parker.

The third option, a trade, is also on the table. The Cavs received intriguing offers from the Sixers, Magic and Jazz late last week. Each is offering its own high lottery pick plus a veteran. The Cavs could theoretically get either of Thaddeus Young, Arron Afflalo or Derrick Favors and still have a top-5 pick in the draft. It would make it much easier to draft Embiid if you knew you got additional value in the form of a veteran who can help now.

The Cavs want to improve now, both to alleviate any concerns Kyrie Irving might have about signing a max contract extension for another five years this summer, and in an attempt to make the Cavs a more desirable landing place for LeBron James, who could be a free agent this summer or next.

(ESPN Insider)

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