In a terribly sad end to what was once thought to be one of the most exciting talents to hit Milwaukee since the Eastern Conference Finals run, Jabari Parker and the Bucks are no longer united.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Parker has come to an agreement with the Chicago Bulls, on a two-year, $40 million deal.
Free agent forward Jabari Parker has agreed to a two-year, $40M deal with the Chicago Bulls, league sources tell ESPN. Milwaukee rescinded Parker's qualifying offer moments ago, making him unrestricted.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 14, 2018
A restricted free agent heading into this offseason, the Bucks rescinded their qualifying offer of $4.3 million to Parker, clearing the path for him to sign with the division rival.
“We really love Jabari and wanted to work with him on this, because we weren’t going to match an offer sheet,” Bucks GM Jon Horst told ESPN.
Curiously, the second year of the deal is said to be a team option, presenting the Bulls with little risk on what could essentially be a one-year investment without giving away any assets.
It’s been a tumultuous four years in Milwaukee for Parker, who suffered two excruciating ACL tears to his left knee in his Bucks tenure. Battling through the gruelling rehab twice, Parker appeared to have some issues with the Bucks brass on return in 2018, which peaked during the playoffs, when Parker voiced his issues with a lack of playing time.
With the Bucks trailing 2-0 in their first round series against the Boston Celtics, Parker insinuated the only way to get playing time was to be on the coaches ‘good side’, to which he declared he wasn’t a part of.
Jabari Parker clearly frustrated with his lack of minutes in first two postseason games. Says he hasn’t gotten direction as far as what it would take to get more minutes and is upset he’s gotten such a quick hook early in the series.
— Nick Friedell (@NickFriedell) April 19, 2018
Furthermore, Parker went on to describe his frustrations as the Bucks appeared on the precipice of elimination.
“I am human. I have a right to be frustrated. I’ve waited two years for this,” Parker said.
Milwaukee of course fought back to take the series to seven games before succumbing to the Boston Celtics, in a Game 7 that now will go down in history as Parker’s last for the Bucks.
Parker was the Bucks highest draft pick since taking Andrew Bogut, first overall in 2005, and held the hopes of a success starved fanbase, desperate for a star to pair with Giannis Antetokounmpo.
"I just want to say I love the city, I love Milwaukee and I love the people" pic.twitter.com/nitKUaRK5E
— Scott Grodsky (@ScottGrodsky) July 13, 2018
In what will now be viewed as a quiet farewell to the people of Milwaukee, Parker played pick-up ball with locals on Thursday night in Milwaukee, handing out Bucks gear to fans just 24 hours before his move was common knowledge.
Parker’s best stretch as a Buck, was unquestionably in 2016-17, when he averaged 20.1 points per game over 51 appearances. In a disastrous turn of events, that you feel could only happen to the Bucks franchise, Parker went down in a heap against the Miami Heat in that 51st appearance – on the night Khris Middleton made his season debut after a serious hamstring injury.
In the end, the Bucks have chosen to avoid locking long-term dollars into the injury plagued young forward, and instead will now look to a crucial offseason in 12 months time. Khris Middleton (player option), Eric Bledsoe and Malcolm Brogdon are all likely going to be due for a handsome pay-day, and the decision to move on from Parker may have had those future decisions in mind.
When it’s all said and done, nobody could have predicted the Parker era would end this way, and one feels there is more to the story than what meets the public eye. Through no fault of his own, Parker succumbed to two serious injuries and as a result, Bucks fans dreams of a Giannis/Jabari contending duo are now in the rear vision mirror.
In many respects, the fact that Parker will earn a major pay day in the NBA after the severity of his injuries is a credit to his work ethic and mental capacity to bounce back. While it won’t be in Milwaukee, here’s hoping he can have a long and successful career in the association.
Follow Kane Pitman on twitter: @mkebucksaus