This is a tough one to predict. I wouldn’t say Markkanen’s value is at an all-time low because he’s still valued around the league, albeit with reservations. But, yes, coming off a season where his production dropped, his injury history continued and his usage mystified, this will be a tough negotiation. If you’re the Bulls, you obviously try to negotiate from a hard-line stance to keep the books as clean as possible without alienating his camp. Luckily, Karnisovas and Markkanen’s agent have a strong relationship, but that doesn’t guarantee anything except cordiality during negotiations. And Markkanen remains under the Bulls’ rights as a restricted free agent in 2021 if no extension is reached, albeit one with roughly a $20 million cap hold.
I think given that the new regime likely is viewing 2020-21 as a see-what-we’ve-got season, it’s more likely than not that no extension is reached. Then, you negotiate again in 2021 depending on how Markkanen fared. This strategy cost the Bulls a lot of money in the Jimmy Butler scenario. But it’s a good problem to have if a player with current question marks blossoms into a star — like Butler did and like Karnisovas hopes Markkanen can. With a new leader in the front office, what changes do
Markkanen is contract eligible this offseason, but considering he had a down year to go with a lowered salary cap due to COVID-19, it would be unlikely him and the Bulls come to an agreement. He still has one year left on his rookie deal before becoming a restricted free agent, however Markkanen did make it clear about his love for Chicago. “I want to stay in Chicago and sign an extension (with the Bulls), no question. I love this city.”
April 13, 2021 | 7:37 pm EDT Update
It’s not clear that those factors are driving injuries this season, but many teams believe they are, even without supporting data. Multiple teams I’ve consulted asserted that this season’s combination of schedule density, travel demands and daily coronavirus testing that cuts into players’ rest time have increased injury risk.
There are too many high-profile names on injury reports to shake the sense of crisis. A look at the teams that held the league’s top eight records entering Tuesday’s play showed that only two — Utah and Phoenix — were not dealing with major injuries.
Murray was the fourth player to tear his A.C.L. this season, after the Nets’ Spencer Dinwiddie, Orlando’s Markelle Fultz and Washington’s Thomas Bryant. The N.B.A. has averaged roughly three A.C.L. tears per season since 2005-6, according to data maintained by Jeff Stotts on his In Street Clothes website. “We are still in the collecting phase regarding the effects of the compressed schedule at this point of the year,” Stotts said. “I am concerned we will see more soft-tissue injuries here in April. They appear to be on the rise from the rest of the season.”
UNLV senior center Cheikh Mbacke Diong announced that he is entering the NBA draft without an agent — and the NCAA’s transfer portal — all but ending his career with the Rebels, according to an interview he did with ESPN.
Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith sat down with Tom Brady to discuss leadership principles across the world of sports and business. The co-founder and Executive Chairman of Qualtrics talked with Brady as part of the Qualtrics “WorkDifferent” series, a group of conversations between Smith and various industry leaders designed to provide solutions to help drive change within the workplace.