Jabari Parker
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

The New York Knicks are reportedly interested in trading for the very much available Jabari Parker. Here’s why they should.

Chip Murphy

NBA trade season has reached the New York Knicks, starting with a very intriguing rumor involving Chicago Bulls forward Jabari ParkerAccording to ESPN’s Ian Begley, the Knicks have expressed “preliminary interest” in trading for Parker.

Parker signed a huge deal with his hometown Bulls amid much fanfare. It hasn’t worked out. The Bulls stink, and Parker hasn’t been near the reliable scoring option the team hoped he’d be. He’s reached the 25 point plateau just one time and is shooting the three at a 29.3 percent clip.

Not long after the recent coaching change in Chicago—Fred Hoiberg was fired on Dec. 5—Parker was removed from the team’s rotation and reportedly made available to other teams via trade. As talented as Parker is if he retired today his career would be defined by bad defense and just plain old bad luck.

The Milwaukee Bucks drafted Parker second overall in 2014 with the intention of making him the face of their franchise. He was a rare breed who was excited to be coming to Milwaukee as he spoke of one day joining the greats like Oscar Robertson and Lew Alcindor.

Two ACL tears (in the same knee) and a Greek Freak later and Parker didn’t even get a second contract offer from the team that bet the farm on him just four years earlier.

Parker’s defensive struggles and injury concerns notwithstanding, New York would be foolish not to explore a trade for him. The 23-year-old makes perfect sense for the Knicks, in multiple ways. First, there’s his contract.

At first glance, you probably see that $40 million number and cringe. You think “don’t do it!” or “same old Knicks” but look a little closer. Parker’s $20 million for the 2019-20 season is a team option. That means if New York doesn’t like what they see they can simply decline the option and make Parker an unrestricted free agent.

New York Knicks

Parker’s contract makes him a good trade partner if New York intends to get off Tim Hardaway Jr.’s deal. The team’s leading scorer has seen his field goal percentage slip to a sub-40 percent level while suffering from plantar fasciitis. Hardaway is still owed over $37 million over the next two seasons including a player option in 2020-21.

Then there’s the Fizdale factor. The new Knicks head coach is working miracles this season with lottery castoffs Emmanuel Mudiay (No. 7) and Noah Vonleh (No. 9). Parker’s not just any lottery player though; he’s the former No. 2 overall pick in the draft and a consensus first-team All-American.

If David Fizdale can get the former Duke Blue Devil star to buy into what is happening in New York both on and off the court it would be the latest in a series of applause-worthy moments for Fiz. Parker hasn’t had that coach who he’s bonded with yet. The one who really believes in him.

New York is in the middle of a season where the win-loss record isn’t the most important thing. It doesn’t feel like tanking though. When you’re in a situation like that you can afford to take risks, as long as they don’t impact your future cap room. Parker’s deal won’t.

New York has one of the least talented rosters in the NBA and Parker would instantly upgrade the talent level. Even with all his flaws, he can still put the ball in the bucket. Honestly, the deal is worth it just to see what coach Fizdale can do with Jabari.

After four mostly injury-prone seasons in Milwaukee and a dumpster fire of a homecoming to Chicago, Parker is looking for a second fresh start at the age of 23. David Fizdale and the New York Knicks are the perfect fit.

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