Chicago Bulls Free Agency Update: Jabari Parker or Carmelo Anthony?

An overview of the Chicago Bulls 2018 agency as of July 13. Also, could the Bulls look to sign restricted free agent Jabari Parker or trade for Carmelo Anthony?

As of now, these are the offseason moves made by the Chicago Bulls:

  • The team matched the Kings’ $78 million offer to restricted free agent Zach LaVine
  • Sean Kilpatrick has been waived
  • Chicago agreed to a three-team trade with the Orlando Magic and the Charlotte Hornets. The Bulls send backup point guard Jerian Grant to the Magic and receive guard Julyan Stone from the Hornets
  • The Bulls rescinded the qualifying offer to restricted free agent David Nwaba

Zack LaVine

To quickly cover these free agency transactions, let’s start with the most significant deal. The Sacramento Kings offered LaVine a 4-year, $78 million contract, to which the Bulls quickly matched. A little drama developed between LaVine and the Bulls regarding a new contract but in the end, LaVine will return to Chicago on the deal that will pay him $19.5 million over each of the four years of the contract.

While I was initially uncertain about giving LaVine a big contract given his ACL injury and his inconsistent play last season, I am ultimately content with his new contract. I never wanted the Bulls to let LaVine walk, I was just hesitant about the team locking themselves into a big contract with a still somewhat unproven player. However, I think this contract is fair and I am very excited to see him at 100% this fall.

Sean Kilpatrick

There isn’t much to say about the team waiving Kilpatrick. His $2 million contract for 2018-19 was non-guaranteed, which will free up some more cap space. Kilpatrick did not have a defined backup role on the team so the Bulls are not missing out on much.

Jerian Grant & Julyan Stone

I think most Bulls fans are okay seeing Jerian Grant go even if it means Cameron Payne is our second string point guard. Grant never really proved himself as the clear backup and often struggled to run the offense. Additionally, moving Grant improves the Bulls cap space as Grant had a guaranteed $2.6 million for 2018-19 while Julyan Stone (I had never heard of this guy until the trade) has a $1.6 million non guaranteed (until August 1st) for 2018-19.

David Nwaba

The Bulls rescinding Nwaba’s qualifying offer is both surprising and upsetting. Nwaba proved to be a strong defender and valuable bench player last season and I was really hoping the Bulls would bring him back. However, according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, Bulls fans may still have hope for a Nwaba return:

Will the Bulls look to sign Jabari Parker?

This tweet from KOC brings me to our next topic; could the Bulls be looking to offer Parker a contract? Obviously, Parker is coming off of two ACL tears and as a power forward, there isn't really much room for him in the Bulls current rotation with Markkanen and Portis already there and Lopez and Wendell at the five. While Parker does occasionally see minutes at the three, he is best utilized at the four. 

Despite his injuries, Parker still showed that he can play, at the very least in a 6th man role. Per 36 minutes, Parker was still productive even after the second ACL tear, producing similar numbers to his 2016-17 season. 

Season G GS FG FGA FG% 3P 3PA 3P% FT FTA FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
16-17 51 50 8.3 17.0 .490 1.4 3.7 .365 3.4 4.5 .743 1.6 4.9 6.5 3.0 1.0 0.5 1.9 2.3 21.4
17-18 31 3 7.8 16.1 .482 1.5 3.9 .383 1.9 2.6 .741 2.0 5.3 7.3 2.9 1.2 0.5 2.2 2.4 18.9

If the Bulls were to offer Parker a contract, the only way I would be comfortable with it would be a one-year deal. I see no way Parker would fit into Chicago's plans long-term but it could still be interesting to see what the 23-year-old Chicago native could do on that one-year deal with the team if the Bulls are determined to use up that cap space. However, Parker is only an option if he is picked up on a one-year deal. Better free agents will be available in 2019 so the Bulls need to maintain cap space with next summer in mind.

Could the Bulls be looking to trade for Carmelo Anthony?

Since rumors are also popping up about a potential Melo to the Bulls trade, it also needs to be addressed. Under no circumstances do I want to see him play for the Bulls at this point but if the trade involved a buyout for Anthony and Chicago gets draft picks then perhaps this is a better choice than making an offer to Parker. If the Bulls can send off expiring contracts, buyout Melo, and add more draft assets, the Bulls would be in a very good position for the 2019 offseason.

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