Bringing in Jabari Parker is a risk the Bulls may wind up regretting, writes Darnell Maybury of The Athletic. Even though just the first season of his two-year, $40MM contract is guaranteed, Chicago now has 10 players age 24 or younger who may be tempted to put personal concerns ahead of the team agenda.
Bobby Portis and Cameron Payne will both be in their fourth seasons, Maybury notes, and will be looking at a final chance to put up big numbers before restricted free agency. Zach LaVine will try to prove he’s worth his new four-year, $78MM deal and Denzel Valentine has been open about his desire to be a starter. That presents a lot of challenges for coach Fred Hoiberg to balance heading into the new season.
Maybury also warns that the addition of Parker could also be detrimental to the development of Lauri Markkanen, which he states should be the Bulls’ top objective.
There’s more today out of Chicago:
- Parker put on a show Saturday at a pickup game organized by the Chicago Basketball Club, relays Michael Walton of NBC Sports Chicago. Parker was impressive with his shooting, passing and ballhandling and offered hope that he has fully recovered from his latest ACL surgery. Also participating in the game was former Suns point guard Tyler Ulis, a Chicago native whom Walton suggests the Bulls may be interested in.
- To clear cap room for Parker, the Bulls waived Sean Kilpatrick and rescinded their qualifying offer for David Nwaba, leading Ben Bokun of NBC Sports Chicago to question the reasoning of cutting ties with those players and signing summer league standout Antonio Blakeney to a two-year deal. A two-way player for the Bulls last season, Blakeney appeared in 19 NBA games and averaged 7.9 points. Chicago’s front office also got a close look at him in the G League, where he was named Rookie of the Year and made the all-star team.
- VP of basketball operations John Paxson is happy with how quickly the organization has been able to assemble a group of young talent, although he recognizes that doesn’t automatically make the Bulls a contender, writes Ashish Mathur of AmicoHoops. “This year, a lot of our success will be determined by how big of a jump Zach, Kris [Dunn] and Lauri make,” Paxson said. “We knew that going into this offseason. Now you add Jabari, Wendell [Carter] and Chandler [Hutchison] and you feel like you’re making some progress.”