Jabari Parker refuses to assign blame for his current situation in Chicago, but in an interview with K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune, he states, “I kept my end of the bargain.”
Parker hasn’t left the bench for the past seven games and has barely seen the court at all since coach Jim Boylen took over when Fred Hoiberg was fired earlier this month. It’s a situation neither side could have envisioned over the summer when the Bulls gave Parker a two-year, $40MM contract to return to his hometown and become part of the team’s young core.
Parker started 17 games early in the season before Hoiberg moved him to a reserve role. Boylen, with an emphasis on defense and discipline, wasn’t happy with Parker’s effort on that end of the court and pulled him from the rotation completely.
Parker is now waiting as the team and his representatives try to work out a deal before the February 7 deadline.
“I don’t think it’s Jim’s fault,” Parker said. “It’s bigger than Jim. I think it’s the overall organization and the direction they’re going. I’ve done everything that’s been asked of me. I didn’t complain. I never had an argument or confrontation with anybody. I’ve done what I do.”
Although the demotion might suggest otherwise, Parker hasn’t been a complete bust during his time in Chicago. He’s third on the team in scoring at 15.2 PPG and tied for third in rebounding at 6.9 per game. However, at 45.5% from the floor and 29.3% from 3-point range, he is shooting well below his career averages and has been singled out for poor transition defense.
“I give another threat on offense that can help the team,” Parker said. “I’m a willing passer. And I rebound. It’s not just transition defense. Nobody is perfect in transition.”
Even though the second year of Parker’s contract is non-guaranteed, little progress has been made in trade talks. According to Johnson, teams want the Bulls to take on expensive, multiyear deals in return, which the team isn’t willing to do. Parker doesn’t care where he winds up; he’s just looking for a chance to prove himself again.
“Honestly, I just want to play,” he said. “I’ve stayed ready. I want to play meaningful minutes — not 4 minutes and nothing for the rest of the game. I just have to wait for that chance and opportunity. There’s a bigger picture here, so I’m staying prepared and patient.”