While we patiently await news of free agent forwards Derrick Jones Jr. and Javonte Green, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the hole in the Chicago Bulls’ depth chart. It seems we’ll have to wait to see which free agent comes along to fill that 15th and final roster spot, as the market continues to thin out whether the Bulls make a move or not.
Speaking of making moves and free agent forwards, a former member of the Bulls has reportedly found a new home, albeit overseas. The player I’m referring to is none other than Jabari Parker, who was once upon a time a hometown hero that many basketball fans in the area looked up to.
Parker has struggled to find a long-term home since his stint with the Bulls in 2018, but could make a return to relevance by balling out in the EuroLeague with his new Spanish club next season. As you can see, the international audience is already excited at the prospect of the 28-year-old talent rediscovering his dominance of the past.
Former Bulls forward Jabari Parker gets another chance at his pro basketball dreams with Barcelona.
While Derrick Rose may have had the NBA spotlight on him during the early 2010s, it was Jabari Parker who was stealing headlines in Chicago at the high school level. Parker was absolutely unstoppable, winning four straight state championships for Simeon, and was even named the National High School Player of the Year following his senior campaign.
He carried this momentum straight to the collegiate level, where he averaged 19.1 points and 8.7 rebounds as a freshman at Duke. Jabari earned First-Team All-American honors while finishing second in College Player of the Year voting — narrowly losing out to eventual Bulls draft pick Doug McDermott. His great accomplishments would see Parker drafted second overall in 2014, by the Milwaukee Bucks.
Unfortunately, injuries and a perceived lack of work ethic would hold Parker back from reaching his full potential in the NBA. Although he averaged 20.1 points during his junior season, Parker’s poor defense and attitude made many perceive him as a net negative. When Jabari hit free agency in 2018, the Bucks were more than happy to let him walk.
That’s when he’d get another chance in Chicago with the Bulls when the front office signed him to a two-year, $40 million deal with a team option on the second season. Many fans (myself included) believed this to be a great chance for Parker to prove his worth and rebuild his value in a comfortable environment. He’d prove to be his own worst enemy, however, as Parker would post the worst net rating of his career, infamously claiming he wasn’t paid “to play defense”, and would be traded away after just 39 short games.
Since then, Parker has bounced around four other franchises (Wizards, Hawks, Kings, Celtics) before finally going unsigned last season. While things may not have panned out for Jabari here in his hometown, here’s to hoping Parker stays healthy and makes good on his potential by dominating what many consider to be the world’s most competitive basketball league outside of the NBA.