The Chicago Bulls Jabari Parker signing is perplexing

MILWAUKEE, WI - APRIL 05: Jabari Parker #12 of the Milwaukee Bucks walks across the court in the fourth quarter against the Brooklyn Nets at the Bradley Center on April 5, 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Dylan Buell/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Jabari Parker
MILWAUKEE, WI - APRIL 05: Jabari Parker #12 of the Milwaukee Bucks walks across the court in the fourth quarter against the Brooklyn Nets at the Bradley Center on April 5, 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Dylan Buell/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Jabari Parker /

The Chicago Bulls signed Chicago native Jabari Parker Saturday. Although Parker is an ultra-talented player, the acquisition caused eyebrow raises.

After over 24 hours of pondering what the Chicago Bulls were up to, it’s official. The Bulls have signed forward Jabari Parker to a two-year, $40 million contract. Parker became an unrestricted free agent after the Milwaukee Bucks their removed qualifying offer for the 23-year-old forward Saturday.

The signing comes on the heels of Chicago rescinding their qualifying offer for David Nwaba Thursday. The Bulls also traded Jerian Grant to the Orlando Magic and waived Sean Kilpatrick, Paul Zipser and Julyan Stone to clear up cap space to make the Parker singing possible.

Skepticism has surrounded Chicago’s acquisition of the 2014 NBA Draft No. 2 overall pick. Questions about how smart of a signing this is for the Bulls arose before the two sides officially put the pen to paper.

While he’s still young (he doesn’t turn 24 until March) and a talented basketball player, Parker’s questionable fit with the roster and short-term financial impact make this move disconcerting.

Financial impact

A bright side of this deal is the Chicago Bulls didn’t make a long-term commitment to Parker. The second year of Parker’s deal is a team option. This allows Chicago to keep its options open and financial flexibility in tact for the 2019 and 2020 offseasons when a plethora of marque free agents will be available. If Parker balls out and consistently makes positive contributions to the team during the 2018-19 campaign, they can pick up his option or sign him to a long-term contract. If not, then the Bulls can move on with minimal damage done.

Supporters of this signing will point to the team option as a reason not to be concerned about the financial side of the decision. However, the option doesn’t completely mitigate the downside of the deal. The Bulls essentially committed the remainder of their cap space to Parker.

This will limit the asset collecting moves the franchise could’ve made this season. The Parker signing made it improbable the Bulls will be a team other franchises dump a player with a ginormous contract onto with other assets attached to said player.

This only makes the decision more confusing because it doesn’t exactly fit the goal of what Vice President of Basketball Operations John Paxson outlined after the draft.

"“We feel we’re in a situation right now in this time of our rebuild that to give up assets, important draft assets, to move up a spot or two, that didn’t make sense for us and the way we’re planning,” Paxson said. “We’re going to be patient. If there’s value out there that we think we can jump on, we’ll certainly explore that. But we’re in the beginning phases of this.”"

The Bulls overpaid Parker

It also feels like the Chicago Bulls overpaid for Parker, even just for one season. Th

ere weren’t many teams lining up to sign the 2012 National Gatorade Player of the Year. The Sacramento Kings were perviously linked to him, but withdrew reportedly lost interest a couple weeks ago.

The Bucks felt like the Bulls only competition for Parker and Milwaukee’s cap situation would’ve made it unlikely they would commit upward of $12 million towards Parker.

An $8 million overpay for a single season isn’t egregious. Especially when the team is under the salary cap like the Bulls were. But, the money they spent to overpay Parker could’ve been used to asset collecting moving for teams trying to unload contracts, like they did last year with the Nikola Mirotic trade, or even re-sign a player like Nwaba, who had a very impressive 2017-18 season with the Bulls.

Hopefully Parker can reclaim his former glory. Because the Bulls might’ve accidentally blown opportunities they don’t even know about.

Parker doesn’t appear to fit well on the court

As for the on-court fit, Parker and the Chicago Bulls are going to have to adjust for things to work. The Bulls have made it clear they view Parker as a small forward even though that isn’t the position that suits him best. He isn’t as natural of a fit as General Manager Gar Forman said he is.

The Bucks were 3.3 points per 100 possessions worse when Parker operated as a small forward instead of a power forward, according to Cleaning The Glass. Chicago needs to re-think giving Parker consistent small forward minutes.

During his four seasons with the Bucks, Parker played nearly 80 percent of his minutes as the power forward. He has an easier time keeping up with opposing power forwards defensively. It’s a tall task and a recipe for disaster to ask Parker to defend quicker wings. He can exploit mismatches easier using his quickness and athleticism on offense. Playing Parker out of position more often is going to limit his effectiveness.

Parker will be another liability of a Chicago Bulls defensive unit that’s sure to be an eye sore again. The Bucks were 4.2 points per 100 possessions better defensively when Parker was on the bench last season and 4.8 points per 100 possessions better defensively when he was on the bench during the 2016-17 campaign, according to Cleaning The Glass. He struggles to stay in front of his man and his defensive focus wanes often.

He and Zach LaVine’s matador style of play on the less glamorous end of the floor will give rookie Wendell Carter Jr. ample amount of opportunities to prove himself as a help-side defender and rim protector.

Offensive concerns

The Chicago Bulls will experience a different set of challenges offensively. While their defensive shortcomings will be due to a lack of quality defenders, any of their offensive struggles won’t be because a lack of scorers. Chicago will have at least three players who could feasibly put up 18+ points per contest in LaVine, Markkanen and Parker. Another bonus is LaVine, Parker, Markkanen, Carter Jr. and even Denzel Valentine and Bobby Portis are all above average shooters for their position. The true test for Head Coach Fred Hoiberg and his staff will be figuring out a way to maximize the individual offensive talent they’ll have at their disposal without marginalizing anyone.

Fans already witnessed how stop-and-go things were with LaVine and Kris Dunn last season, which was detrimental to Markkanen and the entire team. Adding Parker, a player whose main offensive contributions is calling his own number, to the mix is likely to only make things more complicated.

The Baby Bulls will have to resist the temptation of trying to do too much by themselves, buy into Hoiberg’s ball-and-man movement system and set each other up for easier opportunities.

Reasons for optimism

The Chicago Bulls are taking a risk by signing Parker, even if it doesn’t feel like a big one. If the offense doesn’t gel well; the defense is as atrocious as I could see it being; Markkanen’s growth is stunted; Carter Jr.’s playing opportunities are reduced; Dunn, LaVine and Parker can’t get out of each other’s way offensively; then the Bulls will experience a disappointing second year of their rebuild filled with stagnation instead of progress.

But, if things do work out; Hoiberg, his staff and the players maximize the offensive talent available and run a cohesive system; Parker stays healthy and makes overall positive contributions to the team; LaVine and Markkanen do major damage coming off screens in the halfcourt, while LaVine and Parker get easy buckets in transition by pushing the pace and Dunn and Carter Jr. cede scoring opportunities to make plays for others; and they somehow scrap together a respectable defense, then the Bulls may be taking the steps to becoming a force in the Eastern Conference again.

Next: Are the Chicago Bulls about to be mediocre again?

The Chicago Bulls can only hope the risk will pay off. They, and nobody else, will know until the 2018-19 campaign tips off. Until then, we can only wonder what the front office was thinking by making this puzzling decision.