Bulls Rumors

Nets Considered An Offer To Jabari Parker

  • The Nets considered making an offer to free agent Jabari Parker before he signed with the Bulls, Lewis adds in the same story. They decided against it because of the price tag and a recent comment Parker made in a radio interview that “They don’t pay players to play defense.” Brooklyn opted for a pair of trades with the Nuggets and Suns that brought in Kenneth Faried and Jared Dudley.

Julyan Stone Signs Deal With Reyer Venezia

After being traded from the Hornets to the Bulls and then waived in order to make room for the Jabari Parker signing, Julyan Stone is heading back to Italy, having signed a contract with his former club, Reyer Venezia, per Sportando (Twitter link).

Stone, 29, went undrafted in 2011 before signing a two-year deal with the Nuggets. He signed a one-year contract with the Raptors for the 2013/14 season and then spent several seasons overseas before coming back to the NBA in 2017, signing a two-year contract with the Hornets.

During his four-season NBA career, Stone has only averaged 1.1 points in 7.2 minutes per game, but has appeared in 70 total contests. He will look to help Reyer reclaim the Lega Basket Serie A title after helping them win the championship in 2017.

Bulls Sign Antonio Blakeney To NBA Contract

JULY 19: The Bulls have officially signed Blakeney, the team announced today in a press release.

JULY 18: Bulls two-way player Antonio Blakeney will be promoted to Chicago’s 15-man NBA roster, according to K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune, who reports that the team intends to sign Blakeney to a minimum-salary contract.

Blakeney, who spent the entire 2017/18 season on a two-way deal with the Bulls, appeared in just 19 games for the club, spending most of his time with the Windy City Bulls in the G League.

The former LSU standout was one of the G League’s best players in 2017/18, posting an impressive 32.0 PPG to go along with 6.7 RPG, 3.9 APG, and 1.2 SPG in 32 games. Blakeney’s performance earned him NBAGL Rookie of the Year honors for the 2017/18 season.

As Johnson details, Blakeney projects to be Chicago’s third point guard behind Kris Dunn and Cameron Payne. If Dunn and Payne stay healthy, Blakeney may continue to spend time with the Windy City Bulls, since his NBA role could be limited.

Blakeney will get a guaranteed two-year, minimum-salary deal, per Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). It’ll be worth about $2.94MM in total.

More Reactions, Notes On Jabari Parker’s Bulls Deal

In the latest episode of The Lowe Post podcast, ESPN’s Zach Lowe and Brian Windhorst discuss Jabari Parker‘s move from Milwaukee to Chicago at length, suggesting that if Giannis Antetokounmpo badly wanted the Bucks to keep Parker, the team would have found a way to do it.

Despite Parker’s end-of-season dismissal of the idea that the Bucks ever offered an extension in the range of $18MM per year, both Lowe and Windhorst insist that was the case, though they acknowledge that a handful of scenarios were discussed, and Milwaukee’s multiyear offers from last fall may not have been fully guaranteed. In any case, Parker managed to exceed that annual salary on his new deal with the Bulls, albeit on a shorter-term contract.

Before he signed with the Bulls, Parker received interest from the Kings and the Nets, according to Windhorst, who suggests that Brooklyn kicked the tires on the veteran forward after lining up the Jeremy Lin trade with Atlanta. However, the Nets ultimately decided Parker’s price was too high and used their remaining cap room to take on unwanted contracts and draft picks in a deal with Denver, helping clear the path for Parker to land in Chicago.

Here’s more on Parker’s move back to his hometown:

  • Parker “means more playing for the Bulls than he ever could anywhere else,” according to Jeremy Woo of SI.com, who suggests that the former No. 2 overall pick is already “the most recognizable face on the team.” The on-court fit may not be as strong as the optics, but the Bulls are at a stage in their rebuild where it makes sense to take a chance on Parker, says Woo.
  • There’s reason to believe that Parker isn’t yet a finished product, since his development has been slowed by multiple knee injuries, writes K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. Still, Johnson acknowledges that the Bulls may have to “win some shootouts” next season, since Parker won’t improve a mediocre defense.
  • According to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, it will be important for the Bulls to limit Robin Lopez‘s minutes in 2018/19. As O’Connor explains, Lopez isn’t part of the “future equation” in Chicago, and there are only so many minutes to go around in the team’s frontcourt. The less Lopez plays, the more minutes Parker could see at the four, which is probably his best position.
  • Parker tells Nick Friedell of ESPN.com that Chicago native and former Bulls MVP Derrick Rose is “still a hero for a lot of people, including myself.” However, Rose’s time as a Bull didn’t end well, prompting Friedell to explore whether Parker could have more success with his hometown team.

Latest On Jahlil Okafor

Jahlil Okafor is an unrestricted free agent this summer, but hasn’t exactly been a hot commodity among teams looking for frontcourt help — this is our first story about the former third overall pick since free agency began 17 days ago.

Still, Okafor appears to be generating at least a little interest. Sources tell Sean Deveney of The Sporting News that Okafor worked out for four teams in Las Vegas last Wednesday, and remains “hopeful” about signing an NBA contract before camps open in September.

It’s not clear which teams were in attendance at Okafor’s workout last week, but Deveney rules out a few clubs. According to the Sporting News scribe, Okafor had drawn some interest from the Pacers and Bulls earlier in the year, but neither team was at last week’s workout. The former Duke standout also won’t be returning to the Nets next season, Deveney adds.

Okafor, originally a Sixer, averaged 17.5 PPG and 7.0 RPG during his rookie season in 2015/16, but has seen his playing time and production decline since then. After being traded to Brooklyn this past season, he posted 6.4 PPG and 2.9 RPG in 26 contests (12.6 MPG) with the Nets.

As TNT’s David Aldridge details, Okafor has been working this summer with Miami-based trainer Idan Ravin, who has been “reconstructing” Okafor’s jump shot and looking to expand the 22-year-old’s offensive game. We’ll see if that work helps earn him another NBA shot this fall.

Marshall Plumlee, Two Others Become UFAs

Three players who finished the 2017/18 season on two-way contracts and received qualifying offers from their respective clubs have now become unrestricted free agents. According to RealGM’s transactions log, the Bucks, Bulls, and Rockets rescinded qualifying offers for Marshall Plumlee, Ryan Arcidiacono, and Markel Brown, respectively.

Plumlee, who turned 26 on Saturday, signed a two-way deal with the Bucks in January and appeared in just eight games for the NBA club. He averaged 11.8 PPG and 8.2 RPG in 13 games for the Wisconsin Herd, Milwaukee’s G League affiliate. Plumlee posted a farewell Instagram message to the Bucks on Monday, suggesting he won’t return to the club.

Arcidiacono appeared in 24 games for the Bulls last season, but wasn’t expected to be part of Chicago’s point guard picture in 2018/19 with Kris Dunn and Cameron Payne both healthy. As for Brown, the former second-round pick appeared in only four games for Houston, but averaged 15.9 PPG and 5.0 RPG in nine games for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.

As our tracker shows, the Bulls and Rockets are each believed to have one two-way contract slot open, while the Bucks have two open slots — one may be filled by Xavier Munford, whose two-way qualifying offer remains on the table.

Players whose two-way contracts expire can be tendered qualifying offers that are equivalent to a one-year, two-way contract offer, with $50K guaranteed. Those QOs make them restricted free agents. Munford, Jabari Bird (Celtics), Tyrone Wallace (Clippers), and Darrun Hilliard (Spurs) are the only two-way RFAs still on the market.

Forman Makes Good On Two-Year Promise

  • The team option on Jabari Parker‘s two-year contract gives the Bulls flexibility during free agency next summer, Kevin Anderson of NBC Sports Chicago notes. With a projected rise in the salary cap, the Bulls could free up enough cap space to sign a top-level free agent even if they decide to keep Parker. That could be accomplished by allowing Bobby Portis and Cameron Payne to become unrestricted free agents if they are not signed to extensions. If they decide to let Parker go next summer, they could have between $35MM-$53MM in cap space during free agency, Anderson adds.
  • GM Gar Forman’s promise two years ago to make the Bulls younger and more athletic is coming to fruition, Michael Walton of NBC Sports Chicago writes. By drafting Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr. in the lottery, trading for Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn and signing Jabari Parker as a free agent, the average age of the projected lineup is 22, Walton points out. The team can now play at a quicker pace and cover more space defensively, Walton adds.

Notes & Reactions On The Jabari Parker Signing

The Bucks felt that the organization and Jabari Parker were trending in different directions, league sources tell Jordan Schultz of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). The team let Jabari Parker become an unrestricted free agent, allowing him to sign a two-year, $40MM deal with the Bulls.

Schultz notes that GM Jon Horst didn’t have to rescind the qualifying offer which kept Parker as a restricted free agent, but he did so to allow Parker the ability to negotiate the best possible deal with Chicago.

Here are more notes and reactions from around the league:

  • For Parker to provide good value at $20MM per season, he’ll have to develop into an All-Star caliber player, Kevin Pelton of ESPN.com writes. Pelton can envision a scenario where Parker continues to be limited defensively and becomes what amounts to a high-scoring sixth man. The scribe sees that value to be comparable to Will Barton‘s deal, one that will pay the wing an annual value of $13.5MM.
  • The Bucks would have had to part with either a productive player or attach an asset in order to dump one of their players with larger, unfriendly contract if they intended to sign Parker and stay under the luxury tax, Pelton notes in the same piece. Pelton evaluates Milwaukee’s roster and finds that it didn’t have any smaller contracts that provided poor value, meaning the franchise would have had to find takers for either Matthew Dellavedova, Tony Snell or John Henson, something that’s easier said than done.
  • The Bucks are set to have $116MM on the books this season after the signings of Ersan Ilyasova and Brook Lopez, ESPN’s Bobby Marks notes (ESPN now link). Milwaukee’s future cap space will be dependent on what Khris Middleton does with his $13MM player option next season. If he opts out and Eric Bledsoe does not return, the team could have upwards of $28MM in cap space.

Bulls Waive Paul Zipser, Julyan Stone

As part of the series of transactions that saw them make their signing of Jabari Parker official, the Bulls have formally waived forward Paul Zipser and guard Julyan Stone, the team announced in a press release.

The moves were necessary in order to clear the cap room necessary to finalize Parker’s two-year, $40MM deal. Having already traded Jerian Grant, waived Sean Kilpatrick, and withdrawn David Nwaba‘s qualifying offer within the last week or so, Chicago was able to create about $20.6MM in cap space by cutting Zipser and Stone and renouncing their other cap holds and exceptions.

In addition to waiving Zipser and Stone, the team also had to renounce Noah Vonleh‘s cap hold of $10MM+ and give up its mid-level and trade exceptions. The Bulls had three trade exceptions available, the largest of which was worth nearly $9MM. The club will now only have access to the $4.449MM room exception.

Zipser ($1.545MM) and Stone ($1.656MM) each had non-guaranteed salaries for 2018/19, so the Bulls are no longer on the hook for any money for either player.

Zipser, 24, averaged 4.0 PPG and 2.4 RPG in 54 games (15.3 MPG) for the Bulls last season. He indicated in June that he didn’t expect the team to bring him back.

As for Stone, he was only included in last week’s three-way trade with the Hornets and Magic so that the Bulls technically received something in the deal — he was always expected to be released. The veteran guard had a very limited role for the Hornets last season, averaging just 0.8 PPG, 1.3 RPG, and 1.1 APG in 23 contests (7.6 MPG)

Jabari Parker Signs Two-Year Deal With Bulls

12:43pm: The Bulls have officially announced their new deal with Parker, issuing a press release to confirm the signing. As detailed below, it’s a two-year, $40MM agreement, but it’s only guaranteed for the first year.

11:09am: The Bulls have agreed to a two-year, $40MM deal with Jabari Parker, who became an unrestricted free agent after the Bucks rescinded their qualifying offer, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. It was reported that the Bucks did not unilaterally withdraw their qualifying offer ahead of Friday’s deadline, but the team did so today with Parker’s consent.

Bucks general manager Jon Horst said to ESPN that the organization wasn’t going to match an offer sheet and decided to let Parker negotiate a deal as an unrestricted free agent.

“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,” Horst said in a statement. “We appreciate everything Jabari has brought to our team and our community over the last four years and we wish him well.”

While Parker was reportedly interested in joining his hometown Bulls, earlier reports suggested he wanted to return to Milwaukee. Instead, Parker departs Milwaukee for a chance to prove he can stay healthy for a full season.

“I am extremely grateful to the Bucks and the incredible fans of Milwaukee for showing me so much love and encouragement,” Parker said in a statement. “Specifically, I’d like to thank Jon, Marc, Wes and Jamie for giving me my start in the NBA and supporting me throughout my career.”

Parker, 23, is a former second overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft who has shown flashes of his potential but has seen his career impacted by two ACL tears in his left knee.

After missing the start of the 2017/18 season, Parker returned to play in 31 games, averaging 12.6 PPG and 4.9 RPG in 24.0 minutes per contest. A year prior, Parker was in the midst of a career season, averaging 20.1 PPG and 6.2 RPG before tearing his ACL a second time. As Hoops Rumors wrote earlier this year, Parker is one of 97 NBA players to tear an ACL since 1970 and is one of nine players to do so twice.

With the troubled injury history, the second year of Parker’s new deal with the Bulls is a team option, Wojnarowski tweets. This lowers risk for the Bulls if Parker’s left knee fails to hold up and also gives him the option to pursue a long-term deal with Chicago if he can stay healthy and productive.

Since 2010, 33 players have torn their ACL and none of them have gone on to make an All-Star team after the injury. For Parker, this significant guarantee signals the chance to prove his left knee is capable of handling a full season and worth a more significant investment.

Image courtesy of USA Today Sports.