The Chicago Bulls are reportedly shopping Jabari Parker, who fell out of Jim Boylen’s rotation last week. According to Ian Begley, the Knicks are one of the teams that has expressed preliminary interest in the forward who is due to make $20 million this season, with a $20 million team option for 2019-20.
Ian Begley adds to his report by speculating that the Knicks would remain steadfast in their approach to not give up any future first round picks in any trade proposal.
The allure of Parker is the amount of money he makes this season, along with his team option for next season, would give the Knicks the opportunity to exchange a large sum of salary without taking back any 2019 commitment.
Both Chicago and New York are over the cap, but neither team is a taxpaying team. Under the rules of the CBA, the Knicks would need to trade a minimum of $15 million in salary to acquire Parker, which is $5 million less than his cap hit of $20 million.
This means New York would need to add a little less than $3 million to Courtney Lee’s contract to make a deal work that involved the veteran wing who is due to make $12.8 million in 2019, an amount the Knicks would like to get off their books.
Of course, the Knicks could also look to trade a player like Tim Hardaway Jr. and make the trade work one-for-one, but with Timmy due to make north of $18 million through 2020-21, it might cost the Knicks an extra asset to accomplish that kind of deal.
As things stand right now, if the Knicks renounce all of their own free agents, with the exception of Kristaps Porzingis, they are still about $8-9 million short of having max space to make an offer for Kevin Durant. Of course, there are a lot of avenues the team can pursue in opening up that remaining cap need, but it is worth considering when looking at a potential Jabari Parker trade.
Parker has battled injuries throughout his career. The former number two overall pick has not played in more than 51 games since 2015-16. He has already suffered two ACL injuries while in Milwaukee. This season, he is averaging 15.2 points and 6.9 rebounds on 45.5% shooting in Chicago.
If the Knicks were able to acquire him while providing themselves with salary relief in 2019, he also gives them the option to keep him through next season if they strike out in free agency. They could then re-load with cap space in 2020, while adding forward depth to their roster for the 2019-20 season.