Things aren’t off to a great start this fall for the Bulls‘ big-name free agent acquisition, Jabari Parker. Head coach Fred Hoiberg adjusted his starting lineup this week, moving Parker to the bench, and it paid dividends in the team’s 104-89 victory over the Pacers on Wednesday, as K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune details. While Hoiberg initially said his new lineup was “just an experiment,” Johnson hears from sources that the coach has had discussions with his staff about whether to move Parker out of the starting lineup, and sounded today like he might be committed to that change.
“With the second unit — and I talked to Jabari about this — we used him in more of a facilitating role and put the ball in his hands as really kind of a point forward. I liked the look of it,” said the Bulls’ head coach, per Johnson. “We’ll continue to evaluate. But I did like the look of both groups.”
Addressing the change on Thursday, Parker – who has started 150 of his 183 career regular season games – didn’t sound overly enthusiastic about coming off the bench for the Bulls. According to Johnson, the former No. 2 overall pick provided a “no comment” when asked if he’d be willing to take whatever role at this stage in his career, and said playing a reserve role would be a “huge adjustment for me.” However, he also added, “I’ve just got to change with the times.”
Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:
- Dwight Howard‘s availability for the Wizards to start the season remains in question. Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington wrote earlier this week that Howard had suffered a setback and visited a back specialist, while sources told Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link) that Howard had sustained a piriformis (buttocks) injury. While Howard will reportedly receive an injection to relieve the pain, the injury isn’t considered serious, according to Charania, so Washington should get its big free agent addition on the court before too long.
- Discussing his decision to ask the Cavaliers for a trade, Kyrie Irving called it the “best thing” he’s done. Howard Beck of Bleacher Report has that quote and much more in an in-depth feature on the Celtics‘ starting point guard.
- After promoting Elton Brand to general manager last month, the Sixers have named a new interim GM for their G League team, announcing today in a press release that Matt Lilly will serve as head of basketball operations for the Delaware Blue Coats. Brand previously held that position.