Jabari Parker and the Chicago Bulls agreed Saturday to a $40 million, two-year contract, bringing the talented and oft-injured forward to his hometown team.
Agent Mark Bartelstein confirmed the deal shortly after the Milwaukee Bucks rescinded their qualifying offer. That made Parker an unrestricted free agent, clearing the way for him to join the rebuilding Bulls.
The 23-year-old Parker led Chicago’s Simeon Career Academy to four state championships and starred for one season at Duke before the Bucks drafted him with the No. 2 overall pick in 2014.
The Bulls are banking on him to stay healthy after he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee twice in four seasons with Milwaukee.
”Jabari is a 23-year-old player who is a natural fit with our young core, and is a proven scorer at the NBA level,” general manager Gar Forman said in a statement. ”We look forward to welcoming him back to his hometown.”
Parker has averaged 15.3 points and 5.5 rebounds. His best season was in 2016-17 when he averaged 20.1 points in 51 games before tearing his ACL a second time. He played 31 games last year, averaging 12.6 points and 4.9 rebounds.
”Jabari and I felt it was in the best interest of both he and the team to rescind our qualifying offer, making him an unrestricted free agent,” Bucks general manager Jon Horst said. ”We appreciate everything Jabari has brought to our team and our community over the last four years and we wish him well.”
Bartelstein praised the Bucks for ”working side-by-side with us.”
”From the moment the Bucks drafted Jabari with the No. 2 pick in the 2014 Draft, they have gone out of their way to treat Jabari as a member of the Bucks family, and this is another perfect example of doing exactly that, and we’re very appreciative,” he said.
Parker goes from playing alongside superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo to trying to help the Bulls rise in the Eastern Conference after a 27-win season. He figures to start at small forward, with Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine in the backcourt, Lauri Markkanen at power forward and either rookie Wendell Carter Jr. or veteran Robin Lopez at center.
The son of former NBA player Sonny Parker, Jabari Parker was one of the most highly touted prospects to come out of Illinois.
He played at the same high school as Derrick Rose, who was drafted by the Bulls with the No. 1 pick in 2008 and became the youngest MVP in league history three years later. Of course, knee injuries derailed his run in Chicago. And the Bulls are hoping Parker’s injuries are behind him.
Chicago also released guard Julyan Stone and forward Paul Zipser on Saturday.