Bulls’ Jabari Parker still has ‘bitter’ feelings about his departure from Bucks
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Bulls forward Jabari Parker never got a clear explanation about why the Bucks rescinded their qualifying offer to him during the summer and let him become a free agent.
Months later, he certainly isn’t looking for one.
Whether it was too many knee injuries, that he didn’t fit their style of play or that he didn’t mesh in the locker room, Parker didn’t seem to be too interested in the details.
‘‘I don’t think it’s my responsibility to create all types of different scenarios in my head,’’ Parker said Tuesday. ‘‘I just take it for what it is. It eliminates my confusion, and I just move on because it’s not as important right now.’’
That doesn’t mean Parker, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, doesn’t have any emotions about the situation, especially with the Bulls playing in Milwaukee in their second game of the preseason Wednesday.
‘‘Some great memories being there, some great experiences, met some great people,’’ Parker said of his time with the Bucks. ‘‘Pretty much bitter how it all ended, but I had a sweeter moment being here. So that kind of, like, I forgot all the bad memories I had with them.’’
When asked about those ‘‘bitter’’ feelings, he did elaborate some.
‘‘I wasn’t planning on leaving so soon, especially, like, being there four years,’’ Parker said. ‘‘I love that group and all the training staff, medical staff. It just made it home. Every moment that I had, really involved in the community, was always out. But they went in a different direction, which I understand. Things happen. It’s the business.’’
Not a bad business, either, considering Parker quickly fell into a two-year, $40 million contract with the Bulls. Not bad for a kid from Simeon who always had dreamed about playing for his hometown team.
‘‘It hasn’t quite sunk in,’’ Parker said of wearing the Bulls’ uniform. ‘‘But in due time, I hope I can make it more relevant, you know? Have more pride behind it in building something.’’
That might be out of Parker’s hands. The Bulls have an option on the second year of his deal, so if things don’t work out or if Parker becomes a better trade asset than a long-term piece for the rebuild, they can bail out.
At least early on, Parker has brought value to the starting group, especially with big man Lauri Markkanen out six to eight weeks with a sprained right elbow. In the Bulls’ preseason victory Sunday against the Pelicans, Parker scored 15 points, grabbed eight rebounds and handed out four assists in 25 minutes.
‘‘I’ve been really impressed with Jabari,’’ coach Fred Hoiberg said. ‘‘He’s picking things up, and he’s learning two positions [small and power forward], which isn’t easy to do when you’re in a new system.’’
When asked about the Bucks parting ways with Parker, Hoiberg wasn’t shy in defending him.
‘‘He’s got a lot left in the tank, absolutely,’’ Hoiberg said.
Now Parker will get a chance to show that to his former team.
‘‘Well, a lot of stuff wasn’t on me,’’ he said. ‘‘The management went in a different direction. . . . It’s going to be fun just to see all the people I grew with and guys that I haven’t seen in a while.’’