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May 15, 2021 | 7:53 am EDT Update
The Bulls will have the final say in Markkanen’s future this offseason. Whether they figure out a sign-and-trade or decide to match any offer he gets as a restricted free agent, it will be in their hands. Markkanen said last week his intention will be to sign with a team that will give him a chance to start again. It doesn’t sound as though that opportunity will be there with the Bulls.
Since the trade deadline, Markkanen has gone from starting at power forward and getting some minutes at center to coming off the bench at small forward, a position he hasn’t fully embraced and really doesn’t have the defensive ability to play. So while the Bulls haven’t completely shoved Markkanen out the door, he has endured a series of demotions because of other players they consider to be more in their plans.
Bobby Marks: Fresh off signing his contract today, Khyri Thomas now up to 8 points. Houston gave Thomas $250K for the rest of the season ($217K more than the minimum pro-rated). However, 21-22, 22-23 are non-guaranteed and 23-24 is a team option (non-guaranteed if exercised).
It’s been a long road back for the Sixers to the top, with “The Process” era finally coming full circle to sit atop the East, something Joel Embiid reflected on. “It starts from when the Sixers finished a season 10-62,” Embiid said. “I think that’s when it started. From that time we’ve only improved.”
He’s visualizing possibilities for the Sixth Man role and is considering Jordan Poole, who on Friday night scored career-high 38 points, including a driving layup for the decisive basket, in a 125-122 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans at Chase Center. “He’s really explosive, as you saw tonight and as you’ve seen over the last couple months,” Kerr said of the second-year guard from the University of Michigan. “As we look ahead, I think he’s going to be a Sixth Man. He’s really capable of getting 20 any night. It’s so great to have scoring off the bench. “As we look to next year and beyond, getting Klay (Thompson) back, Jordan would be a really good candidate for Sixth Man, a guy who can come in and give you points when the starters are on the bench.”
Though it has been speculated that the Warriors would consider re-signing Kelly Oubre Jr. and steering him toward that role, the impending free agent has expressed little enthusiasm about coming off the bench. Poole, who turns 22 next month, seems ready to embrace such an opportunity. “Be ready to step up for wherever I’m needed,” he said. “The plan is to be at full health next year, bringing Klay back to an already talented team. If that is something that makes us more powerful, stronger, a better team, I’m all for it, whether it’s coming off the bench or whatever the situation is, I’ll make sure to be ready.”