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Rumor: Jabari Parker Interested in Chicago Bulls

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It’s been all quiet on the Jabari front for two weeks...

Milwaukee Bucks v Chicago Bulls Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Things move quickly in the NBA. Despite garnering little more than tepid interest from the league, including the Milwaukee Bucks, rumors swirled with today’s quasi-report from Vincent Goodwill of NBCSports Chicago. The chatter suggests that restricted free agent Jabari Parker and the Chicago Bulls have some level of mutual interest, but it seems stronger on Jabari’s side (from what we know).

Last summer, Jabari reportedly turned down a 3 year/$54 million extension offer from Milwaukee (Parker later disputed this report.) He’s been on the free agency market for nearly two weeks now; just last week, we explored the state of limbo that Jabari found himself in, both with the Bucks and with the rest of the league. Here’s what we said when mentioning the Bulls as a possible suitor (only they, the Sacramento Kings, and the Atlanta Hawks had cap space available for a possible Jabari contract):

(Some of) the stars are aligned for Parker in a Bulls uni: he’s a Chicago native, they have space available, and they could presumably afford to take a major swing on a player with star-level upside. On the other hand, the Bulls are already dealing with the restricted free agency of Zach LaVine, have an up-and-comer at PF in Lauri Markkanen, and ... [they] may not be interested in tying up long-term money before the Summer of 2019.

The Bulls’ recent decision to match Sacramento’s bloated $78 million dollar offer sheet to LaVine seemed to complicate Chicago in that mix, but it appears there is some interest in trying to bring a hometown high school hero back to the Windy City with their (estimated) $20 million of cap space. More importantly for us, the clock is primed to start for Milwaukee’s front office. If an offer ever happens, they’d have two days to decide whether to match Chicago’s offer. Everything thus far has been pure speculation, but where there’s smoke...

If the Bucks let Jabari walk...then they’ll have nothing to show after selecting him second overall in the 2014 NBA draft. Should they opt to match, Jabari would be a Milwaukee Buck for the foreseeable future. However, they would have the ability to trade Parker after one year. Instead, if he had signed his qualifying offer, Parker would’ve been granted veto power over any trades until he became an unrestricted free agent next offseason. This would then leave the door open for a potential Parker trade should he resuscitate his value during this season, a la Portland dealing Allen Crabbe a year after matching Brooklyn’s offer sheet.

The Bucks also have made moves that would mitigate the departure of Parker; by signing Ersan Ilyasova and Brook Lopez in free agency, coach Mike Budenholzer has additional shooting in the front court...something Jabari was getting better at, but also something that is a necessity around Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Remember: it’s July in the NBA. Take everything with a large serving of salt. This story may be nothing. If it turns out to be something, we’ll be there with the updates.

UPDATE:

It appears discussions on a deal are progressing according to Woj.