Former Simeon star Jabari Parker could be coming home.
The Bulls and Parker, a restricted free-agent forward, are working on an offer sheet, a source close to the situation confirmed. The deal should be done by the end of the weekend, the source said.
The Bulls are being aggressive with Parker’s deal after they rescinded their qualifying offer to guard David Nwaba on Thursday.
The Bucks reportedly aren’t expected to match the Bulls’ offer.
It’s likely the Bulls see Parker, a 23-year-old Chicago native, meshing well with their core of Lauri Markkanen, Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and Wendell Carter Jr.
Asked about a possible return to Chicago, Parker told the Sun-Times that he’s looking forward to giving his energy to whatever team he ends up with.
The Racine (Wis.) Journal Times reported that the Kings also are pursuing Parker. Last week, the Kings signed LaVine to an offer sheet before the Bulls matched it.
Parker, whom the Bucks took with the second pick in the 2014 draft, is an elite scorer and dynamic rebounder. However, he hasn’t reached his full potential after undergoing two surgeries in four seasons on the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, most recently in February 2017.
There’s a concern as to whether Parker can fully bounce back from the injuries. But the Bulls have shown — with Derrick Rose and most recently with LaVine — that they’re willing to be patient with players nursing knee injuries.
Parker, who was inactive for the first 50 games last season, showed flashes of his superstar capabilities when he returned to the court. But in his first 21 games back, he averaged 11 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.9 assists.
Once April rolled around, Parker seemed to get into a groove. In six games that month, he averaged 19.5 points, 8.2 rebounds and two assists while shooting 49.5 percent from the field and 45.8 percent from beyond the arc.
Parker has made it clear in the past that he wants to come back to Chicago. In 2016, Parked published a nearly 3,000-word article on the Players’ Tribune website, speaking out against violence in the city and expressing his desire to make an impact.
Simeon coach Robert Smith commended Parker’s efforts to give back to the community. That’s what sets him apart from some players who view basketball as a one-way ticket out of town.
“That’s just who he is,” said Smith, who coached Parker and led his team to four-consecutive state championships. “He never wanted to leave his roots. He could have went to Oak Hill or anywhere when he was in high school, but he chose to stay at home.”
Smith doesn’t see any reason why Parker couldn’t handle the pressure of playing for his hometown team.
“If something happens, he would be fine,” Smith said. “It wouldn’t bother him. He just loves to play basketball.”
Smith said he spoke to Parker on Friday, and Parker didn’t mention his free-agent -status.
However, if the Bulls end up signing Parker, Smith said, “It would be great for the city.”
Contributing: Michael O’Brien