CHICAGO - Despite two ACL tears and a 100.9 defensive rating that ranked him 433rd in the NBA, the Chicago Bulls signed Jabari Parker to a two-year $40 million contract last July.
Given the 6-foot-8, 245-pound forward's injury history and apparent dislike for defense, it was a risky deal, the kind that makes team accountants seek religion.
But the signing also had an irresistible homecoming charm to it. Parker, you see, is a local hero who starred at Simeon before going to Duke where a one-year college stint made him the No. 2 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.
Although the 142 games he missed in his four seasons in Milwaukee was impossible to overlook, fears of his dependability health-wise were quelled after Parker bounced back nicely and played well enough to average 12.6 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.9 assists per in his final 22 games as a Buck.
Alongside a core of infant Bulls - Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn, and Lauri Markannen - Parker was envisioned to help put points on the board and lend some veteran leadership.
The possibilities were dazzling.
Five months later, the marriage is heading toward an inevitable divorce. It happened so fast you can still smell a whiff of honeymoon champagne in the air.
Well, there's a new sheriff in town and he doesn't take kindly upon those he views as timid souls who don't practice hard and play defense harder.
Since taking over the dismissed Fred Hoiberg last December 3, new head coach Jim Boylen has presided over brutal practices and has ordered his troops to implement a restraining order against scoring by opposing teams.
In other words, tasks that Parker, who once said "they don't pay players to play defense," would rather not do.
As a result of what The Chicago Sun-Times described as "a lack of effort," Boylen has switched Parker from power forward to small forward, a demotion that takes him out of the rotation as he now comes off the pine behind Justin Holiday and rookie Chandler Hutchinson.
"I have been direct and honest with him about what I expect and what I hope he can continue to work on," Boylen told The Chicago Tribune of his decision to bench a free agent signing that is making $243, 902 a game.
While the natural impulse was to get mad for being demoted on a team he grew up cheering for, in a city where he was born and raised, Parker took his licks like a man and he said he would abide by what he is told to do. Now, that's a pro.
Even with his limitations of defense, Parker will soon find a new home, a new system where offense is the premium.
Look, Carmelo Anthony, who was also allergic to defense but made over $232 million in NBA salaries, did just fine until his scoring went down to 13.4 points per game and his age went up to 34.
Parker is only 23. He will be more than okay moving forward.
OUR SKIES ARE GRAY WITH JOY. "Everything is good but in moderation," said newly-minted 2018 Miss Universe winner Catriona Gray.
Sorry, I disagree.
Because I couldn't help but over-indulge on the sight of her in that blazing red and orange evening gown dress that exposed miles and miles of beautifully toned legs.
Although the odds of Catriona Elisa capturing the world's most prestigious tiara was a steep 93-1 - more than twice as Buster Douglas' 42-1 odds of beating Mike Tyson in 1990 - she didn't really seem like an underdog.
The 5-foot-10 stunner, whose mother's roots are from Albay, sashayed like she owned the Thailand stage. Her brown hair glinting against the spotlight, she swiveled her hips elegantly and gave the judges the confident look of a woman who knew that she was the prettiest of them all.
And is it turned out, she was also the smartest.
Catriona answered her questions with the tact and quick wit of an ambassador. It was a show of mental acuity that belied her 24 years.
Unless Kai Sotto goes to Real Madrid, I'll probably never see a full-blooded Filipino make it to the NBA in my lifetime.
But who cares? We now have four Pinays as Miss Universe winners.
Congratulations Catriona. Mabuhay ka!!