It appears Jabari Parker’s stay with his hometown Chicago Bulls will be a short one.
On Friday, the Chicago Tribune’s KC Johnson reported the Bulls were engaged in talks with multiple teams interested in acquiring the 23-year-old. Parker has apparently fallen out of favor with new head coach Jim Boylen who reportedly removed him from the team’s regular rotation.
Bulls have engaged in talks with several teams regarding Jabari Parker, per sources. There’s considerable interest in Parker the player. Finding right fit financially is next.
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) December 14, 2018
During Thursday night’s loss to the Orlando Magic in Mexico City, Parker played just four minutes. The limited playing time immediately caused conversation throughout the hoops community, so news of a potential deal isn’t shocking.
Parker just signed a two-year $40 million deal with the Bulls in the offseason. The second year is under a team option. While there appears to be interest in Parker around the league, the $20 million cap hit is presenting a bit of an impediment for interested teams. It seems the Bulls would more than likely be interested in acquiring draft assets to continue the rebuild that was supposed to move into the second phase this season. Unfortunately, there are very few teams with enough cap room available to absorb salaries–especially at $20 million.
The Bulls would more than likely have to take back one or two deals that might actually be guaranteed through next year if they want to get back a draft asset in the contract. It’s hard to determine what Parker’s value is at this point. He’s been healthy this season, which is a major plus considering he’s had much of his career hampered by serious knee injuries.
While he’s not the most efficient scorer, he has put up solid numbers bouncing between a starting and reserve role before being benched by Boylen this week. In 30 minutes of action per night, Parker is averaging 15.2 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 2.3 assists. He’s shooting 45 percent from the field, but just 29 percent from three-point range.
Parker’s defense and conditioning have been a topic of conversation as he still looks a bit heavy, and many pointed to him and Zach LaVine as the main culprits for the team’s poor defensive play this season. Also, Boylen clashed with players during his first week on the job after he put the squad through rigorous practices before and after back-to-back games, and after a 57-point loss to the Boston Celtics.
A group of the players became upset with Boylen’s approach and threatened a mutiny before cooler heads prevailed. Perhaps Parker was a part of that group and this a piece of the fallout from a redirection with the franchise. It seems clear, the Bulls organization has given Boylen freedom to run the team as he sees fit, and right now, it doesn’t appear as though Parker is in Boylen or the Bulls’ long-term plans.
My how quickly things can change.