Veteran guard Jason Terry wants to return to the Milwaukee Bucks for his 20th NBA season.
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“Obviously I know my impact. I’ve been here two years now. I want to see the process, the finished product, because I know the potential,” Terry said.
Someday he could do both jobs. For now, the Milwaukee Bucks guard is focused on his current occupation. It doesn’t appear he’ll be switching careers any time soon. One more year in the league and Terry will reach a rare milestone in the NBA. “For sure, 100 percent, my goal is to play 20 seasons,” Terry said. “The organization understands that and I think the league is on notice.”
But he’s been around long enough to understand the business of the NBA. Off the court, he’ll stay friends with Kidd. “The dividing line is there … understanding that Coach Kidd didn’t get me the contract — the Milwaukee Bucks did,” Terry said. “I have a job to do and my job is to help them go forward in the future … continue to be a positive influence in the locker room and on the court. That’s what they signed me up to do and I’m going to see that all the way through.”
Indeed. Terry played his first NBA game on Nov. 2, 1999 – when Vaughn was a mere two-years old. Now in his 19th pro season, Terry, aka The Jet, makes it abundantly clear there’s still fuel left in his tank and that he fully intends on playing next season as well. “Oh, yeah, I’m going to keep playing,’’ Terry said. “Next season would be No. 20. I want to play 20 years. That’s the goal I set for myself. “I’m a very goal-oriented guy and I’m going to make sure that happens.’’
Listening to some of Terry’s teammates, they wouldn’t mind having Terry be their teammates for years to come. They claim Terry remains a solid contributor and hasn’t let Father Time render him a mere cheerleader. “When he plays, he’s still keeps up with the guys at his position,’’ Bucks center Thon Maker said. Added center John Henson: “He can still play. He can move; he can guard, he can shoot it. To be honest with you, I don’t see much of a drop-off in his game unless you look back to his Atlanta Hawks days.
Considering Jason Terry is one of the oldest players in the NBA at 39 years old, there has been speculation this could be his last season and that he would then pursue a coaching job either at the college or NBA level. Terry emphatically squelched that speculation, telling me, “No. No. I’m going to play two more years, God willing. Actually, I AM going to play two more years.’’ Terry has played reasonably well this season while coming off the bench for the Bucks. He’s appeared in 47 games, averaging 3.6 points and 17.1 minutes
Sirius XM NBA: Jason Terry: “My coaching philosophy and strategies will be way more in depth and better than @Kenny Smith” #JetOnJetCrime
Are we seeing the last few games of the Jet on the runway? “No, not at all – unless there’s just an outrageous opportunity that presents itself in the coaching world,” Terry said after the Rockets’ shootaround. “Other than that, my goal is to play two more years. So you’ll see a lot more of me.”
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July 17, 2018 | 10:32 am EDT Update
According to sources, Okafor, the No. 3 pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, worked out for four teams last Wednesday in Las Vegas, and remains hopeful of signing with a team ahead of training camp next fall. Okafor averaged 17.5 points per game as a rookie in Philadelphia in 2015-16. He has spent the last few months working out in Miami with trainers David Alexander and Idan Ravin, fueling speculation that he could land with the Heat, especially if Miami finds a trading partner for Hassan Whiteside.
He will not be back with the Nets, the last team for which he played, a source said. Okafor has had interest from the Pacers and Bulls, among others, this summer but neither were at the workout in Las Vegas.
These are the real boys of summer, the grinders using the 12-day audition in the desert to impress NBA executives enough to earn the honor of an invitation to training camp. Take Cooley, 27, the unofficial dean of NBA Summer League stars. This is Cooley’s sixth stint in Vegas. He’s a member of the Phoenix Suns now, a teammate of Ayton’s. Before that he was a Sacramento King, setting screens for De’Aaron Fox, and before that a Cleveland Cavalier, throwing outlet passes to Andrew Wiggins. For Cooley, this was never a dream. In 2009, he chose Notre Dame, not for a springboard to the NBA, but because it had a top business school. “I used basketball to get the best education,” Cooley said.
But when he graduated, NBA teams called. Some 18 brought him in for pre-draft workouts. When he went undrafted, he started getting invitations to Summer League. “I remember my first year I was struggling to remember all the plays,” Cooley said. “Now my sixth year, this is the most complicated offense I’ve had, but it’s second nature, basic easy stuff. It’s a lot easier to understand.”
There’s Justin Harper, with the New York Knicks. Casper Ware, with the Portland Trail Blazers. Brady Heslip with the Memphis Grizzlies. There are no paychecks for playing in Summer League. There’s per diem, around $100 per day. There’s a hotel room, two-hour practices, daily bus rides and no guarantee of playing time. “It’s a grind, man,” Machado said. “Every time you come out to Summer League, everyone is trying to prove themselves. Me, trying to facilitate, sometimes you overthink it. Every time you come back, you think, ‘Man I did this already.’ It’s a constant grind and constant pressure you put on yourself.”
As Summer League winds down, most of the boys of summer will disperse. Some will sign on with G League teams, to maximize exposure. Others will ink European contracts, where the money is better. They will ride buses to small towns in the U.S. or live in isolation in far-flung cities around the world. They will do it, and they will hope for an invitation back to Las Vegas next summer, for the opportunity to impress once again. “There’s only about 1% of me that thinks about not playing,” Cooley said. “This life is pretty intense. But I love it, I’m glad it’s not easy. Not playing would be a terrible itch that I wouldn’t be able to scratch. I know once the time comes, I will definitely be a part of the game, because I’ll go crazy if I go cold-turkey out of basketball. But right now, I’m a player. The body of work I have put together has caused a pretty good stir here. I believe I’m an NBA player. I believe I can play in the league for a long time.”