Jabari Parker 'Not Bitter' About Time With Bulls

Parker was perplexed by his limited role under Jim Boylen.

Cody Westerlund
February 09, 2019 - 6:45 pm
Wizards forward Jabari Parker

Brad Mills/USA Today Sports


CHICAGO (670 The Score) – Despite a turbulent tenure with the Bulls, the recently traded Jabari Parker harbors no ill will or regrets stemming from his brief time in Chicago.

"No," Parker responded when asked if he’s disappointed that a much heralded return to his hometown didn’t work out on a long-term basis. "I’m still from the city. I’m still from Chicago. So I’m always going to come back. That doesn’t change as much. I’m rooted here. I don’t forget where I come from. If it was meant to be, it was meant to be. If it wasn’t meant to be, then, hey, that’s OK. No love lost.

"It was great. I love my experience here just because I met some great people. I love my teammates, got a chance to get a great group of relationships with my teammates. And I really mean that. I love those guys."

Parker and Bobby Portis were dealt from the Bulls to the Wizards in exchange for Otto Porter Jr. on Wednesday evening, a night before the trade deadline. It marked the end of Parker’s nearly seven-month tenure with the Bulls, who signed him to a two-year, $40-million deal last July with a team option on the second season.

While Parker averaged 14.3 points and 6.2 rebounds in 39 games in Chicago, nothing about his time with the Bulls went as planned. Former coach Fred Hoiberg shelved the experiment to start Parker at small forward in the preseason. Parker then shuttled between a reserve role and starting power forward spot as the Bulls suffered myriad injuries.

Soon after Hoiberg was fired and Jim Boylen was promoted on Dec. 3, Parker fell out of the rotation altogether, with Boylen citing a lack of effort on the defensive end and in practice. The manner in which it all unfolded left Parker perplexed, as he viewed his relationship with Boylen as positive when Boylen was an assistant.

"It was a total 180, definitely," Parker said. "At that point, we never had controversy. I always had his back, you know, with things that we had in-house problems with. Always had his back, always had everybody’s back. Just to see that relationship go sour, not from my end but from his end, was just bad. Because you trust the guy. He says all the things. I understand it’s his decisions and whatever, but it was just hard. Because of the relationship that we had going into it when he was a head coach.

"I did the best that I could. I pretty much showed it within my play. It didn’t pan out."

Parker stopped short of indicating Boylen didn’t have his back.

"I can’t say that specifically, because I don’t know the factors," Parker said. "It’s a business. He’s the head coach. I’m just a player at the end of the day."

Parker was asked if, with the benefit of hindsight and no financial implications involved, he’d still join the Bulls again. He said he would.

Asked later what he would tell a free agent who asked him about his experience of working for the Bulls, Parker indicated he’d be open about everything.

"That would be a direct conversation between me and him, simple and plain," Parker said. "I don’t like to add my experience to anybody else, and I’d just be up front. I’m not bitter, but I’d be honest."

Parker was strong in his Wizards debut on Friday, with seven points, 11 rebounds and nine assists in a win. He was back at the United Center on Saturday as the Bulls hosted the Wizards.

"I handled everything I could with the situation I had," he said. "I made the best of it and, more importantly, the man upstairs knows my heart and that’s what I care about the most."

Cody Westerlund is a sports editor for 670TheScore.com and covers the Bulls. Follow him on Twitter @CodyWesterlund.