Jabari Parker’s time with the Bulls could be over soon, but how does it end?
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SAN ANTONIO — The Jabari Parker era is coming to an end with the Bulls.
Whether it’s soon — trade rumors have been heating up the last 24 hours, according to a source — or at the end of the season, when the team passes on his $20 million option, his time with the Bulls likely is over.
How it transpires between now and then is on Parker, and considering how little self-awareness the former Simeon High School standout has, it won’t end well.
“It’s not on me,’’ Parker said when asked after Thursday’s loss to the Magic about his changing roles since coming to the Bulls. “I do my thing to work hard, and I do what’s expected of me. And I’ll continue to do that. That’s what keeps me satisfied.’’
Maybe that’s Parker’s problem. It takes very little work on his end to keep him “satisfied.’’
For now, all of that will keep him on the bench, behind starter Justin Holiday and rookie Chandler Hutchison.
Tired of an obvious lack of effort displayed in practices and games, especially on defense, coach Jim Boylen also made the decision to move Parker from power forward to small forward.
The Sun-Times reported Thursday that a Bulls source indicated it wasn’t a demotion as much as a message for Parker to hear loud and clear. How hard he practices will go a long way in changing his situation.
Boylen, who has emphasized changing the team culture since taking over Dec. 3, initially gave Parker the benefit of the doubt, but not anymore.
“Everybody is telling me the truth, and that’s just stay ready,’’ Parker said. “They’re not telling me things I want to hear. They’re not pointing fingers. And personally, I know I’ve done my job to embrace Jim as the head coach. I’ve been nothing but welcoming of him. And that’s what I’m going to continue to do.’’
It’s not a permanent demotion, as one report inferred. Actually, Parker can change his situation quickly, starting Sunday, when the Bulls practice next.
“This team is not about one person, one matchup, one situation,’’ Boylen said. “It’s about the team, and you play your minutes when you’re in there. When you’re not, we hope you support the other guys that are. We’ve got a lot of games left, and we’re going to need all our guys going forward.’’
The move also symbolizes that the organization admitted Parker’s two-year, $40 million homecoming was a mistake, even if it gets just one year out of his contract.
The defensive stats screamed this was coming, and Parker himself admitted he wasn’t paid to play defense the day the Bulls signed him. So none of this should come as a surprise.
That doesn’t mean Parker can’t repair his career for next season, but is the 2014 No. 2 overall pick out of Duke even capable of realizing that? Likely not.
“It is what it is,’’ Parker said. “I know who I am at the end of the day. I proved myself. I abide by everybody. I abide by everything that’s been given to me. I’m not going to resent [their decision].’’
NOTE: Zach LaVine planned to have an MRI exam on his ankle Friday afternoon with the team heading to San Antonio. LaVine suffered the injury late in the loss Thursday, but he didn’t feel it was serious at the time.