Jabari Parker Trade Possibilities

A rundown of several trade scenarios involving Jabari Parker.

In a recent article, I questioned whether the Bulls were wrong to sign Jabari Parker, especially given his fit on the roster and his very large contract, even if it is only guaranteed for one season.

With the recent benching of the Bulls’ $40 million dollar man, there are now reports that the Bulls may look to trade the fifth-year forward.

Bulls fans should not expect a great return for Parker, however. Even though his contract is only guaranteed for the current season, it will still be difficult to find a trade partner that can take on the $20 million he is earning this season. On top of that, the whole league has gotten to see Parker’s horrendous defensive effort through 29 games.

To provide some positives for Parker, he is still a strong scorer and a solid rebounder. Parker can still be a good player and have a positive impact on the right team. However, that fit was never going to work with the Bulls and the team’s front office should have known that from the beginning. Parker just cannot play the small forward position and needs to be used solely as a power forward. His poor defense is really evident against smaller, quicker forwards. His next team must be one desperately in need of a power forward with a roster that can mitigate his defensive weaknesses.

Possible Trades

Utah Jazz

One potential trade that exists for the Bulls is to send Parker to the Jazz for a deal center around Derrick Favors’ $16.9 million dollar contract.

Favors has two years on his current deal, but his contract is non-guaranteed for next season. He also can't be traded until January 15. Favors is a solid player and even though he starts as the Jazz’s power forward, he is essentially the backup center, making his contract a bit high for his role on the team. If the Jazz wanted to clear up cap space to add another star alongside Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, perhaps a Parker-for-Favors swap is appealing to them. The Jazz would also need to add another contract to the trade to make the numbers work.

Parker gives the Jazz a needed secondary scoring option and once his contract comes off the books next offseason, the Jazz can make a run at another player in free agency.

The Bulls wouldn't have much use for Favors unless they also traded Robin Lopez at some point, but if they could somehow get a pick from this type of trade, it could be appealing.

Miami Heat

Miami is another strong candidate for a Parker trade. The Heat have several bad contracts, most notably that of Tyler Johnson, who is due over $19 million this season and the next. If the Bulls and Heat worked out a Parker-for-Johnson trade, the Bulls could hopefully get a pick from the Heat out of the trade.

Another trade option with the Heat could involve a package of Dion Waiters and James Johnson, both of whom have three years remaining on their contracts. Waiters is earning $11.5 million and Johnson is earning $14.6 million, so the Bulls would need to give up another player (Cameron Payne?). Given the length of the contracts the Bulls would be taking on in this scenario, they should absolutely look to get a 1st round pick in return.

Knicks / Mavericks

Another option could be a three-team trade between the Bulls, New York Knicks, and Dallas Mavericks in a shifting of big salaries.

For this trade, the Knicks take on Parker, who doesn’t affect the team’s desire to get a high draft pick but can potentially have a bigger role on the team, especially with star Kristaps Porzingis still recovering from injury. Salary wise, Parker’s contract is only on the books for the current season, which allows more room if the Knicks might actually make a run at another star player in the 2019 free agency.

The Bulls would get back Wesley Matthews, who is on the last year of his deal. Matthews shouldn’t impact the Bulls chances of winning or losing but being that he is a wing that can shoot, at least he could be plugged into the roster easier than it has been to work in Parker.

The Mavericks would then get Tim Hardaway Jr., who has made another leap as a player and has become a pretty solid scorer. The Mavs are competing for a playoff spot this season and adding another scorer in Hardaway could help them get there. However, Hardaway’s contract is guaranteed for this season and the next, with a player option in 2020, that he would likely accept, given he would earn $18.9 million that season. If something were to break this trade, I think it would be the Mavs being willing to take on that contract. They could definitely use Hardaway's scoring this season but they might not want to commit to him for several seasons if they are hoping to land a bigger name player in the future.

Most likely scenario?

At this moment, it seems that the Jazz or Heat are the most likely trade partners for the Bulls. The Heat have several bad contracts they could be looking to move. The Jazz have not been as successful as they might have hoped, as the team is 16-17 for 12th in the conference after making it to the second round of the playoffs just last season. Rumors about a trade between the Bulls and Jazz have gained enough steam that Derrick Favors was recently interviewed about the possibility of him being moved for Parker.

The three-team trade between the Bulls, Mavs, and Knicks may not have a high likelihood of materializing but there is reasoning behind such a deal, or at least a similar one.

Now that Bobby Portis is injured again for another 2-4 weeks the Bulls may hold off on trading Parker until closer to the deadline. Nevertheless, it seems that Jabari Parker's time with the Bulls will soon end.

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