General manager Gar Forman said Thursday that the Bulls have exhausted all scenarios on how their summer free agency plans may turn out, and it appears one avenue is pursuing Rockets forward Chandler Parsons if they are unable to add Carmelo Anthony.
Yahoo Sports' Marc Spears reported late Saturday that the Timberwolves, Bulls, Lakers, Mavericks and Rockets all could pursue the restricted free agent if their pursuits for Anthony and/or LeBron James come up empty.
Parsons was one of the NBA's biggest bargains a year ago, earning just $926,000 in the third year of his second-round rookie contract; 10 of his teammates made more money than the team's third leading scorer. But the Rockets did both Parsons and themselves a favor by choosing not to extend a qualifying offer to the small forward, as it will allow Parsons to cash in a year early while giving the Rockets additional cap space with the ability to match any offer Parsons receives on the open market.
Parsons followed up his breakout season in 2013 by proving he could sustain it in 2014, averaging 15.9 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists in more than 37 minutes per game as the third option to All-NBA shooting guard James Harden and Dwight Howard. As it pertains to the Bulls, Parsons shot 47 percent from the field and 37 percent from beyond the arc, numbers that would have ranked second and third, respectively, in Chicago a year ago. Parsons also averaged 19.3 points per game in the Rockets' first-round playoff series against the Trail Blazers a year ago.
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Realistically, the market for the 25-year-old Parsons will heat up after LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, both unrestricted free agents, sign in July. The reported teams expected to be in play for Parsons are also on the trail of James and/or Anthony, the two most coveted free agents this summer. If those teams miss out on both stars, they'll pursue Parsons, while the Rockets would be willing to match an offer if they miss out on the top two small forwards.
Parsons would be a warm welcome in Chicago if it can't land Anthony. With rookie Doug McDermott in tow and Nikola Mirotic a possibility to join the team this summer, adding Parsons would give the Bulls three deep threats they severely lacked on the perimeter a year ago. With a healthy Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah working out of the high post to find open shooters the Bulls could quickly become one of the better 3-point shooting teams in the NBA, which the Spurs and Heat showed last year goes a long way toward a championship run.
"I feel like I'm in a win-win situation because it's happening a year early," Parsons told Spears. "I think a lot of teams could be interested. With the way I play and my versatility, I feel I can pretty much help any team."