With Summer League in full swing, all was quiet on the free agency front for the Atlanta Hawks. That changed on Monday, however, with word breaking that the team came to a two-year agreement with 24-year-old forward Jabari Parker.
Moments later, Chris Haynes reported that Parker’s deal is for a total of $13 million with a player option for the 2020-21 campaign.
Free agent Jabari Parker reached and agreement with the Atlanta Hawks on a two-year, $13 million deal, league sources tell Yahoo Sports. Player option on second year.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) July 8, 2019
Parker was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft and, at times, he has flashed high-end offensive acumen. That peaked in the 2016-17 season, when he averaged 20.1 points per game on 56.3 percent true shooting as a member of the Milwaukee Bucks.
Since then, Parker has been on a bit of a journey, appearing in only 95 games over the last two seasons. Though he is young and unquestionably talented, Parker has experienced multiple significant knee injuries (one in 2014 and a second in 2017) and, when on the floor, his defensive struggles are well-documented.
Parker became a restricted free agent last summer after four years in Milwaukee, but that turned in to a $20 million contract with the Chicago Bulls, before he was traded to Washington. From there, the Wizards declined a lucrative team option, sending Parker into free agency and, eventually, to Atlanta.
The investment in Parker is curious in some ways, as his defensive foibles are problematic and the presence of a player option makes the deal less appetizing. On the more optimistic side, he is a player that could pop if things break right and this is a clear bet from the Hawks on their player development culture.
Parker will compete for playing time at both forward spots, where the Hawks recently made substantial investments in De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish (at the 3), with John Collins entrenched as the team’s long-term power forward. Behind them, however, there are minutes to be had and Parker could project as the team’s primary backup to Collins in the immediate while battling with the likes of Omari Spellman and Chandler Parsons.