It appears that the rebuild in Chicago could be over sooner than expected. On Saturday, Jabari Parker and the Bulls agreed to a two year, $40 million deal, per Adrian Wojnarowski. This is the second signing of the summer for the Bulls, who also re-signed Zach LaVine on a four year, $80 million deal. The signing of Parker fills the gap in the Chicago Bulls lineup, with the Bulls planning to play him at the small forward position. Parker’s deal also contains a team option. This means the Bulls have the option to release him if he does not perform this season, or suffers an injury. A Chicago native, Bulls fans will relish at the opportunity to once again cheer for one of their own.
Jabari Parker Bulls Signing: A Fit For Team And City
Making Sense of the Signing
While the reaction to Parker’s signing was mostly positive, there were still a number of questions as to his fit with the team and the future of the organization. Being 23 years old and having already suffered two ACL tears, some were skeptical of giving him a contract of that magnitude. However, the contract contains a team option after the first year, meaning this is essentially a try-out contract for this season.
Others questioned the signing of a player who has played the four his whole career, with Chicago already having a star forward in Lauri Markkanen. However, the belief is that the Bulls intend to play him as a small forward. Parker has traditionally played as a power forward, but he is a significant improvement over the Bulls other projected starting small forwards. These being Denzel Valentine, Justin Holiday and Chandler Hutchison. This also opens the door for a starting lineup of Kris Dunn, LaVine, Parker, Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr.; a lineup made up of all lottery picks and with an average age of 21.4 years old.
Chicago’s Hometown Hero
The signing of Parker is a good signing for the Bulls, but it’s also a much more meaningful signing for the city of Chicago. Bulls fans have always loved cheering for one of their own, and this has seemed to be somewhat of a theme over the past few seasons. Starting with the drafting of Derrick Rose and then the signing of Dwyane Wade, it’s always a pleasure to hear a players announcement begin with “FROOOOOM CHICAAAAGOOO”. It brings a sense of pride to fans to cheer for one of their own, and Parker will certainly have a passionate backing upon his return to the United Centre. As someone who gives back to the city of Chicago consistently through charity work, this praise is more than deserved. Parker will look to take on a greater leadership role, both on the Bulls and in the city of Chicago.
An Uncertain Future
This contract of Parker is essentially a test, one year for him to prove he can stay healthy and play at a high level. One year to see if he can fit with the team; if he can play the three. The Bulls will have the option to release Parker if things don’t go to plan, having lost $20 million but no real momentum in terms of the rebuild. However, if he does work out for them, the Bulls have secured a successful asset for a relatively low cost. Overall, the Bulls have been focused on accumulating assets, and this signing appears to be right in line with this. Fingers crossed Parker can stay healthy, and the Bulls can find success with him in their lineup. It’s what both he and Chicago deserve.
GREEN BAY, WI – SEPTEMBER 14: Milwaukee Bucks player Jabari Parker puts on a “Cheese Head” hat during the game between the Green Bay Packers and the New York Jets at Lambeau Field on September 14, 2014 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Al Pereira/New York Jets/Getty Images)