Jabari Parker is coming home.
Parker agreed to a two-year, $40 million deal with the Bulls early Saturday, according to sources, moments after becoming an unrestricted free agent.
The Milwaukee Bucks rescinded their qualifying offer to Parker to expedite the process as they had no intention of matching an offer sheet for Parker, setting free a player they selected second in the 2014 NBA Draft.
The Bulls and Parker had been in contact the last several days, as the Bulls cleared just enough salary cap space by trading Jerian Grant and rescinding David Nwaba’s qualifying offer after matching Zach LaVine’s offer sheet one week ago.
Parker, one of Chicago’s most decorated prep stars, hopes to find better luck and better health back in his hometown. A promising start to his career has been marred with two ACL tears in his left knee in December 2014 and February 2017.
With those injuries in mind, the second year is a team option for the Bulls—ensuring flexibility for the franchise should things go awry with his body or even the fit.
Parker has played a total of 82 games the last two seasons, as the second tear was seemed more devastating than the first considering he was averaging 20.1 points and 6.2 rebounds on 49 percent shooting in 2016-17, trying to fit himself alongside budding superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Now, though, Parker will try to fit himself playing next to second-year forward Lauri Markkanen and LaVine—his draftmate in 2014. Part of the Bulls’ pitch to Parker was moving him to small forward, a position he’s played with more frequency the last two seasons.
Shooting 37 percent from 3-point range the last two seasons makes him a fit in Fred Hoiberg’s space-driven offensive scheme, as well as his ability to create his own offense off the dribble.
Defensively there will be questions, considering his ACL tears that usually strip away a player’s lateral movement. Presumably, the Bulls will have to hide Parker at times and move him to power forward when they can—although they seem to be well-stocked at the two frontline positions with Robin Lopez, Markkanen, Bobby Portis and incoming rookie Wendell Carter Jr.
Parker was a four-year starter at Simeon Career Academy before going to Duke for one season.
And now, as a grizzled 23-year-old, Parker returns to his cocoon, hoping to jumpstart a still-promising career while aiming to help his hometown team return to relevance.