As the Bulls prepare to pull Jabari Parker from their rotation, they’ve also engaged in trade talks with multiple teams regarding Parker, sources tell K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. According to Johnson, there’s “considerable interest” in Parker and there’s motivation to get a deal done.
Shams Charania of The Athletic confirms (via Twitter) that trade discussions have taken place and that teams have interest in Parker, adding that agent Mark Bartelstein is involved in the process too.
Parker, 2014’s second overall pick, joined his hometown Bulls during the 2018 offseason. While he has posted respectable counting stats through 29 games, averaging 15.2 PPG and 6.9 RPG, the former Buck hasn’t contributed much on the defensive end, which is one reason why he’s being benched. According to Johnson, Jim Boylen‘s benching of Parker is “yet another reminder” that Chicago’s new head coach wants his players to compete on the defensive end and play within the team structure on offense.
Although the Bulls have gauged the trade market for Parker, the team isn’t necessarily viewing his demotion as a permanent one, says Johnson. The 23-year-old has been told that how he competes in practice will determine his future playing time, assuming he remains with the Bulls. For now, Parker says it’s too early to determine whether he’ll eventually ask for a trade or even a buyout, Johnson adds.
“Everybody is telling me the truth and that’s just to stay ready,” Parker said. “They’re not telling me things I want to hear. They’re not pointing fingers. And personally, I know I’ve done my job to embrace Jim as the head coach. I’ve been nothing but welcoming of him. And that’s what I’m going to continue to do.”
If the Bulls do get serious about moving Parker, his contract will be an obstacle, as both Johnson and Charania observe. It’s essentially an expiring deal, since he has a team option for 2019/20, but his $20MM salary for this season could be tough to swallow for potential suitors, given his play on defense. The Bulls would have to take back at least $15MM in any deal, but may be unwilling to take on multiyear salary, since they’re projected to open up significant cap room in 2019.
Parker will officially become eligible to be traded on Saturday.