Since the Bulls made some roster moves late Thursday, there were rumblings that a ‘big move’ was coming. A lot of that was speculation over that Bulls taking on Carmelo Anthony’s contract, getting something from the Thunder in saving their luxury tax bill. But there was also the possibility (though less sensible in the context of David Nwaba’s qualifying offer) that they were preparing an offer sheet to one of the remaining restricted free agents.
And it looks like that target is Chicago’s own Jabari Parker. There were rumors throughout the day from people you shouldn’t pay too much attention to, but when there’s a Woj there’s a way.
Restricted free agent forward Jabari Parker and the Chicago Bulls are progressing on a deal, league sources tell ESPN. Discussions over a number to topics still ongoing.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 13, 2018
Obviously there’s a lot left to actually determine! Any offers to restricted free agents need to have a minimum of two seasons that aren’t option years, but (I believe) one of those years could be non-guaranteed.
And when looking at Parker’s incumbent team, the Milwaukee Bucks, while they have the right to match any offer, they cannot exceed the hard cap (triggered by their other offseason moves) which they’re ~$15m short of at the moment. It sure doesn’t seem like Milwaukee is that interested in Parker returning, and the Bulls are providing an out here to him and his agent (needs to be mentioned: Mark Bartelstein), even if it is for a short-term deal.
As to the basketball reasons for signing Parker, you have to strain. He came into the league as a wing, but his performance and two ACL tears have him drifting more towards a power forward position...which is the one area where the Bulls have a lot of talent already in need of development time. There’s also his lack of defense at any position, a problem when already committing to the similarly-skilled Zach LaVine.
But it could be a solid gamble if you believe Parker still has star potential, and he’s shown more of that than LaVine has, though has twice the amount of ligament tears as LaVine.
This would fall under a strange yet bold move, and we’ll have to see to what degree when more details come out.