Jabari Parker and the Bulls are already done with each other. It was recently reported that Parker has been taken out of the Bulls rotation and Chicago would be seeking out a trade for the fifth year forward. It’s worth mentioning here that Parker recently signed a 2-year $20 million contract with the Bulls. There’s a team option next season, which mitigated much of the risk of the signing, but that’s an insanely expensive contract to already be moving on from merely two months into the season.
Rarely are players such a disaster in one location, but everything with Parker has gotten worse since the day he signed. The deal was an obvious overpay from day one, but for a team that needed to spend that money somewhere, it was a worthwhile flyer in hopes that he might find his form back home in Chicago. Parker is a former No. 2 overall pick and has had to fight through some injuries early in his career. He left the Bucks not on the best terms, but there was always a chance that a bad situation in Milwaukee was holding him back. Overpaying him on what was ostensibly a one-year deal seemed a low-risk maneuver, but it’s managed to look as bad as possible in a short period of time.
Rarely does a player prove they should be moved before Christmas, but Parker in Chicago has been a disaster. He was taken out of the starting lineup in preseason, and his defensive effort has been anywhere from mediocre to non-existent — not a surprise for someone that said this summer you don’t get paid to play defense. He’s already in need of a new location just to get a chance to prove he’s still worth an NBA contract, but is there anybody out there even willing to take a flyer on $20 million?
The key to every single one of these deals posited below is the money. Teams have to be willing to trade an asset of some kind just for the benefit of a salary dump. Some teams should be able to do better than that, but at the end of the day it can be massively beneficial to just take the money and run. This also says a lot about what has happened to Parker’s value as a player.
His value has taken a real hit over the years and any team taking a flyer on him isn’t doing so with the intention of talent. They’re doing so with the intention of saving money, or gaining more room to spend money in the future. If he proves to be be a competent player then that’s fantastic, but that isn’t why teams might trade for him. With a team option that will almost assuredly be declined by any team dealing for him, Parker’s massive $20 million salary represents an opportunity to get out from under some long term money. It’s disappointing to see a former top prospect fall so far, but Parker has played his way into that role. He’ll need to be the one to pull himself out of it.