Chicago native Jabari Parker just might be headed to the hometown team for the 2018-19 season, as the Bulls are reportedly on the verge of signing the erstwhile Milwaukee Bucks forward to a contract.
Citing a tweet posted on Friday by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Sporting News wrote that the Bulls and Parker are “progressing on a deal” at the moment, per league sources familiar with the contract negotiations. At the time of Wojnarowski’s tweet, there were still a few issues that had yet to be sorted out, but the new report meshes with previous rumors that suggested the 23-year-old former Duke standout wants to play for the hometown Bulls. Such a deal would have him returning to the city where he first made his name as one of the country’s most sought-after high school players prior to playing one season for the Duke Blue Devils and declaring for the NBA Draft.
Separately, the Chicago Tribune wrote that Jabari Parker will likely be signing a short-term deal with the Bulls, though, at this point, it remains unsure how the team plans to sign him, given his current status as a restricted free agent. The Bucks have until 11:59 p.m. CT on Friday to withdraw their qualifying offer for Parker, which would allow him to join other teams as an unrestricted free agent.
Since being drafted second overall in the 2014 NBA Draft, Jabari Parker has put up some solid numbers for the Milwaukee Bucks at both small forward and power forward positions, but has also had trouble staying healthy, having played just 183 out of a possible 328 games due to a variety of injuries. His best season came in 2016-17, when he averaged 20.1 points and 6.2 rebounds, though he only ended up playing 51 games that year due to an ACL tear. That injury also limited Parker to 31 games in 2017-18, where he averaged 12.6 points and 4.9 rebounds, but was still able to make the playoffs for the first time in his NBA career.
Should Jabari Parker sign with the Chicago Bulls, he will be joining a frontcourt rotation that was led in the previous season by All-Rookie Team selection Lauri Markkanen and veteran Robin Lopez, and possibly starting alongside those two at the small forward position, which the Chicago Tribune described as a “position of need.” The Bulls had most recently re-signed combo guard Zach LaVine as a restricted free agent, inking him to a four-year, $78 million deal that would likely have him starting alongside Kris Dunn in the Bulls’ backcourt.