Phil’s Corner: My take on the Zach LaVine and Jabari Parker signings

By: Phil Duh

Over the last two weeks, the Chicago Bulls have been busy in shaping their roster. Zach Lavine signed a 4-year, $78 million  offer sheet with the Sacramento Kings. The Chicago Bulls didn’t waste any time to match the offer keeping the 23 year old shooting guard in Chicago.

On Saturday, the Bulls signed Chicago native Jabari Parker. The former second overall pick in the NBA draft was rescinded by the Milwaukee Bucks, making him an unrestricted free agent. The deal is 2-years, $40 million with a team option for the second year.

In this post, Phil dives into his thoughts on the Bulls marquee free agent signings. 

Zach Lavine

From UCLA…. at guard 6′ 5″ number 8  Zach Lavine!

LaVine was a very intriging prospect coming into the NBA. After just one year at UCLA, he was a very raw prospect with loads of upside. Now,  he will enter his fifth season in the NBA, second season with the Bulls.

Career averages: 14.0PPG, FG%=43, 3P%=37, 3.2APG, 3.0RPG

A majority of Bulls fans are not to happy about the Bulls matching  the offer sheet from the Kings for LaVine. I’m right there with him. He suffered a major knee injury and we do not know if he will be the player he was in Minnesota. But to be fair, it is pretty tough to come back from an injury like his and return to your old form in the snap of a finger. What do you expect? Personally, I think expectations were way too high.

Positive Outlook:

  • The contract has language protecting the team against LaVine’s surgically repaired left knee.
  • 4 years at $78 million is better than resigning him for 5 yrs for $147 million.
  • With not matching the offer sheet, you are letting a 23 year-old walk out the door for nothing. It would have been a bad PR move since LaVine was the centerpiece of the Jimmy Butler trade.
  • Lavine is only 23 and can still improve. He has had a great summer of work and hopefully it translates to the court.

That is how I look at things regarding the deal to keep LaVine.  I can understand why people have concerns regarding Lavine but the Bulls believe in him. Only time will tell if it was the right move.

Jabari Parker

Over the past week, the Bulls traded away Jerian Grant to the Magic, and  rescinded the qualifying offer to David Nwaba. Those moves hinted that the Bulls had something up their sleeve. Fast forward to Saturday afternoon, the Milwaukee Bucks decided to rescind  the qualifying offer to Parker, paving the way for him to join his hometown team.

Again, there are some Bulls fans not happy with this move. Personally, I am fine with this deal since the second year is a team option. It’s a “prove it” deal, something we see more and more of in today’s NBA. If he can stay healthy and be productive in this system, I would be all for keeping him around for the second year. Also, you could talk contract extension if he ends up being a really good fit with this roster.

Overall, I am very intrigued by the signing and cannot wait to see how it plays out. Reports are already circulating that Parker will start at small forward. He is more of a stretch four but we will have to wait and see if he can shine in that SF role. Defenseively, there is going to be some problems with LaVine and Parker. Both are  below average defenders but maybe things will change. One can only hope.

To conclude, here is one of the biggest questions once the season starts. Can LaVine and Parker work well together on the floor?

I’ll say this: It is going to take a little bit of time to get familiar with each other. The chemistry not only for those two players but the rest of the team may take some time. It may be just weeks, maybe a month but then we should see them start to click and become a very impressive starting five of Kris Dunn, LaVine, Parker, Lauri Markkanen, and Robin Lopez.

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