Eric Woodyard @E_Woodyard
Jabari Parker returns to Chicago today as a member of the Hawks, but insists there’s no hard feelings toward the Bulls. "I just had to move on, but that never changed about how I feel about my city because I have more street cred than that organization period," he told ESPN. https://t.co/hiArB9MVFP
Parker averaged 14.3 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 26.7 minutes with the Bulls.
Parker quickly returned to Chicago as a member of the Washington Wizards three days after the trade.
The 24-year-old spoke just as highly about the Bulls then as he did Wednesday, per NBA.com's Sam Smith:
"It was great. I love my experience here just because I met some great people. I love my teammates, got a chance to get a great group of relationships with my teammates. And I really mean that. I love those guys. That (the Bulls) was somebody that wanted me from the beginning. It wasn't all about money because not a lot of people knew my financial situation. People only knew about the Bulls. I just wanted to be here for the city and try to be here as much as I can for the city.
"I handled everything I could with the situation I had. I made the best of it and more importantly the man upstairs knows my heart and that's what I care about the most. I'm still from the city. I'm still from Chicago. So I'm always going to come back. That doesn't change as much. I'm rooted here. I don't forget where I come from. If it was meant to be, it was meant to be. If it wasn't mean to be, then, hey, that's OK. No love lost."
Parker's NBA career has generally not gone as planned since the Milwaukee Bucks selected him second overall in the 2014 NBA draft out of Duke. He spent four years in Milwaukee but never got into a groove because of two torn ACLs in 2014 and 2017.
From a durability standpoint, this season has been Parker's best. He has appeared in each of the Hawks' 24 games, making 19 starts. Atlanta signed Parker to a two-year, $13 million contract this summer.
Parker returned to Milwaukee as a Hawk on Nov. 27, scoring a season-high 33 points. He will presumably have the same fire in Chicago on Wednesday night.
The 8-17 Bulls have already beaten the 6-18 Hawks 113-93 in Atlanta on Nov. 6.
The two squads tip off at 8 p.m. ET at the United Center.