Celtics Waive Former No. 2 Overall Pick: Report

Jabari Parker, Boston Celtics

Getty Jabari Parker, Boston Celtics

The Boston Celtics have made their first roster move since the season began. According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the Celtics are reportedly waiving veteran forward Jabari Parker.

Parker, who has participated in 22 regular-season games for the Celtics, 12 of which have been this season, now becomes a free agent and can discuss contract terms with other teams.

This isn’t the first time the Celtics have waived Parker, either. They previously waived and then re-signed the former number two pick in mid-October. Parker, who can play the power forward position, or the small ball five, has struggled to live up to his lofty draft status, primarily due to knee injuries early in his professional career.

However, the Chicago native has displayed an ability to get buckets as part of an NBA bench unit. Still, Parker’s defensive skills continue to hold him back, with the forward being limited laterally, meaning teams are forced to either hide him or play him as a drop coverage big.

Waiving Parker Comes With a Cap Hit

Waiving Parker provides the Celtics with an open roster spot, which could come in handy later in the season when should Boston need to sign some to a 10-day contract, or if another player who interests them clears waivers.

However, no roster move is perfect and usually comes with some form of penalty – which often comes in the form of a cap hit. And this move is no different. According to Keith Smith, should Parker clear waivers (if the report is accurate and the Celtics do waive him), the 8-year veteran will come with a $1,068,293 cap hit for the remainder of the season.

Keith Smith also reported that the Celtics were already carrying $100,000 of dead cap space from waiving Parker earlier in the season, bringing the total cap hit to $1,168,293.

Adding dead salary to the cap sheet is not ideal, but with the amount being minimal and the money coming off the books at the end of the season, it’s not the end of the world. Brad Stevens has consistently spoken of the need to remain flexible, both financially and in terms of available roster spots.

Grant Williams’ Emergence Hurt Parkers Playing Time

Coming into the season, Parker projected to be an end-of-rotation player but not an end-of-bench player – yes, there is a difference, slight as it may be. But, with the emergence of Grant Williams as a three-and-D wing who can consistently light teams up from the corner three, Parker saw another obstacle enter his path.

Williams is younger, doesn’t have the injury history, and is a homegrown talent, having joined the Celtics as the 22nd pick in the 2019 draft. Williams struggled during his sophomore year, despite Stevens testing him at both the power forward and center position.

Williams has since slim-lined his physique and vastly improved his shooting stroke. Now, the Tennessee alumn is a valuable asset on both sides of the floor due to his mobility, IQ, and scoring. Parker cannot offer any of those three skills, and as a veteran with just 127 games played over the last four years, the Celtics likely felt it best to move on before the league-wide contract guarantee date on January 10.

The Celtics aren’t the first team to reportedly waive one of their players this season either, with the Milwaukee Bucks recently parting ways with veteran center DeMarcus Cousins – who Celtics fans continually cast flirtatious glances towards.

The Celtics were Parker’s sixth NBA team, having also had stops with the Bucks, Chicago Bulls, Atlanta Hawks, Washington Wizards, and Sacramento Kings. Now, the wait is on to see what team will be lucky number seven for the former Duke standout.

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