Parker, a Chicago native who signed a two-year, $40 million deal with the Bulls over the summer, came off the bench to begin the season, but after the Bulls were hit by a rash of injuries, including to starter Lauri Markkanen, Parker moved into the starting lineup last month as a power forward, his preferred position that he played for two years in Milwaukee.
Markkanen returned to the starting lineup Dec. 1, and Parker took a bench role again. The Bulls also underwent a coaching change, firing Fred Hoiberg and promoting Jim Boylen from associate head coach.
Shortly after Boylen was hired, he said he met with all Bulls players individually to discuss their roles on the team. Boylen has experimented with playing Parker at small forward and power forward and said Parker has taken both roles in stride.
“Jabari has been great,” Boylen said. “He understands. Jabari wants to make it about helping the team win. And that’s what I’ve asked him to do.”
With Parker out of the regular rotation, it’s unlikely that the Bulls would exercise the team option on the second year of his deal. There have been no conversations between Parker and his representatives on a potential buyout, but that could become an increasing possibility closer to the trade deadline.
The Bulls have had a turbulent week. After suffering a 56-point loss to the Celtics on Saturday, players threatened to not show up at the Sunday practice that Boylen had scheduled. The Bulls have not taken a day off in Boylen’s 10 days as head coach.
In practices, players have been asked to run suicides and drop down to do push-ups, unconventional drills at the NBA level. While Boylen’s directive from management is to be tough, some players view Boylen’s coaching style as excessive. Parker is averaging 15.8 points, 7.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game.