Jabari Parker a low-risk option for Bulls
The Chicago Bulls set their eyes on the prize and pried the estranged restricted free agent Jabari Parker off the grasp of the Milwaukee Bucks. Instead of playing a game of tug of war, the Bucks renounced the rights to Parker, allowing him to sign with the Bulls on a two-year, $40 million deal as a gesture of goodwill.
The Bulls now have another scoring presence, one that had reached the 20-point average before suffering his second torn ACL, which largely dislodged him from being in the Bucks’ future plans.
“Jabari is a 23-year-old player who is a natural fit with our young core,” Bulls general manager Gar Forman said in a statement announcing Parker’s arrival, according to ESPN’s Nick Friedell. “And is a proven scorer at the NBA level. We look forward to welcoming him back to his hometown.”
Parker will wear No. 2 with the Bulls, which only leads to thinking of the influence Derrick Rose (who wore No. 1 in Chicago) has had with him, even from his days at Simeon Career Academy, which Rose also attended as a prep star.
“His influence on the culture helped me go to Simeon,” Parker said of Rose. “I’ve seen that if you bring a group of guys together, and if you are successful, then you’re going to do well, so that’s what I love: The exposure that he helped pave the way for me and other guys, and I was able to do that for other guys after me.”
While $40 million is no joke of an offer, the Bulls protected themselves by making the second year a team-option, putting heavy pressure on Parker to prove himself right away and show enough promise to warrant a contract extension. Parker could begin the season as the starting small forward, giving him ample room to exploit his physicality against smaller opponents, while making the most of his improved long-range game.