The Knicks are among the clubs that have expressed preliminary interest in Bulls forward Jabari Parker, sources tell Ian Begley of ESPN.com (Twitter link). According to Begley, nothing appears imminent at the moment.
Parker, who signed a two-year, $40MM contract with the Bulls in the offseason, hasn’t worked out for his hometown team so far and was recently pulled from the rotation. While it’s possible the former No. 2 overall pick will get a chance to return to the court now that Bobby Portis is on the shelf with an ankle injury, Chicago is said to be working on finding Parker a new home, engaging in trade talks with multiple teams.
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Parker continues to produce on offense (15.2 PPG) and has pulled down a career-high 6.9 boards per game this season, but has struggled from beyond the arc (.293 3PT%) and his defensive effort has been called into question.
The Knicks are off to a 9-24 start and appear lottery-bound. As such, they wouldn’t be counting on Parker to turn their season around. Instead, he could appeal to New York because of his contract situation — his $20MM salary for 2019/20 is a team option, so if the Bulls were willing to trade him in a deal involving a player with multiyear guarantees like Tim Hardaway Jr. or Courtney Lee, it would create additional flexibility for the Knicks during 2019’s free agent period. And if Parker played well in New York, the team could explore keeping him beyond this season.
Begley notes (via Twitter) that the Knicks have been “steadfast” about not including future first-round picks in trades, and that stance would almost certainly apply to any Parker scenario as well.