The Jabari Parker era has basically come to an end in the Windy City before it even started. After signing a two-year, $40 million contract with the Chicago Bulls this past summer, Parker has already worn out his welcome, and the Bulls are looking to move him, according to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune. This comes in the wake of a report that Parker has been moved out of the rotation.
Before we get started naming potential trade destinations for the youngster, it’s important to note that the second year of his deal is a $20 million team option, so whomever trades for him can essentially use him as a salary dump.
Or, perhaps Parker impresses where he goes and the team decides to hold on to him (which, of course, could also consist of declining his option and bringing him back on a cheaper deal).
So, here are five teams who could potentially have some interest in the former No. 2 overall pick.
The Cavs immediately come to mind as a team that could have some interest in Parker. After all, they are rebuilding (whether they want to believe it or not), and a guy like Parker could serve as a potential reclamation project for them.
The good thing about Cleveland is that it can be a nice match for Chicago based on its salaries. The Cavs have a lot of guys whose contracts are either expiring (Rodney Hood and Alec Burks) or have one year remaining (Tristan Thompson, J.R. Smith and Jordan Clarkson). They also have young pieces such as Cedi Osman and Ante Zizic, if the Bulls are interested.
At this point, Chicago likely understands it won’t be getting significant value in return for Parker, so it may have to settle for expiring contracts or veterans at the back end of bad deals.
For the Cavs? They are grooming Collin Sexton, but outside of him, they don’t have much else in terms of young talent, which is why Parker could make some sense.
The Pistons could certainly use some scoring help up front, with Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond representing their only two truly reliable options on the interior.
Detroit could send back Jon Leuer in a potential deal to match salaries, which wouldn’t even be bad for Chicago, as Leuer has only one year left on his deal after this season.
Unlike the Cavaliers, though, the Pistons probably won’t be interested in reclamation projects: they likely want someone who is going to help them win right now, so Parker would merely serve as a bench piece this year.
Would they bring him back over the summer? Maybe, but for right now, Detroit needs some help on offense, as it ranks just 24th in the league in offensive efficiency.
Oh man. Where to start with the disaster in Washington? So much dissension. So much disappointment. So many bad contracts.
Of course, that could mean that the Wizards are a perfect trading partner for the Bulls. They have a few expiring contracts in Markieff Morris, Ian Mahinmi and Jeff Green, so there could be a match somewhere there.
If Washington is really feeling frisky and desperate to get rid of money, it can expand the deal with Chicago and try to include one of its longer deals (Otto Porter Jr., perhaps?), but the Bulls may need to include something of at least decent value in the trade to pry away Porter.
The Wizards are certainly one of the more intriguing teams in the league right now, with John Wall and Bradley Beal as big names who could potentially move elsewhere between now and next summer, but it’s hard to imagine either of them being in a package for Parker.
Regardless, Washington is definitely a possible landing spot for Parker. That team needs to do something.
New Orleans Pelicans
The Pelicans may not have officially hit the panic button yet, but it may be time to man the stations. Not because they might miss the playoffs this year (although that’s not completely unrelated), but because Anthony Davis can be a free agent in 2020 and could begin to grow restless if New Orleans keeps losing.
That’s not to say that Parker is some kind of savior, but let’s face it: The Pelicans’ bench is terrible, and it’s a problem that it did a very spotty job addressing over the summer.
Not that this would be that appeasing to Chicago, but the Pels could trade Solomon Hill and his terrible contract as part of a deal for Parker. The good news for the Bulls there would be that Hill comes off the books after next season, so they would only be paying for two years of essential dead money.
Heck, Jahlil Okafor could represent a potential throw-in, as well.
The only thing iffy about this is that Parker is a terrible defensive player, so a bench unit of Parker and Julius Randle sounds all kind of bad on that end. Still, the Pelicans need depth, and Parker could provide them with that.
After all, the Rockets tried this with Carmelo Anthony at the beginning of the year. Why not also try it with the younger, less successful version who won’t demand as many touches?
In all seriousness, we can’t put it past Daryl Morey to experiment. It likely wouldn’t cost Houston that much (Brandon Knight’s contract could serve as trade bait), and the Rockets appear to be missing some oomph on their roster overall.
Of course, this would do nothing to solve Houston’s massive defensive issues, but Morey is known to go all out on the offensive end of the floor to try and mitigate that. He likes firepower, and Parker could serve as a decent bench scorer.