KC Johnson: Lauri Markkanen: “I still believe I’m a starter in this league.” Said he isn’t focused at all on RFA status or whether these might be his final games in Bulls uniform, only on trying to help Bulls make play-in.
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Joe Cowley: Lauri Markkanen can still be a sign-and-trade deal this summer, and has two months to make a statement.
Bobby Marks: Chicago forward Lauri Markkanen has reached the starter criteria in his contract. The Qualifying Offer for the soon to be restricted free agent is now $9M. If Markkanen did not average 34.25 starts over the 2019/20 and 2020/21 season, the QO would have been $7M.
Not only will New York (10-13) be very cap friendly after this season, but Thibodeau has always been a big fan of Markkanen’s game. Enough so that he admitted shortly after the ’17 draft that if that trade for Butler wouldn’t have gone through, Minnesota – where Thibodeau was the coach/vice president of basketball operations at the time – was going to draft Markkanen anyway.
Markkanen is averaging a career-high 20.5 points, riding into Wednesday’s rematch against New York carrying consecutive 30-point nights. In his past eight appearances since rejoining the lineup after missing seven straight games while in the NBA’s health and safety protocols, Markkanen has averaged 22.1 points and 6.1 rebounds with a 52.4/39.1/90.9 shooting split. In many ways, the fourth-year Finnish forward is playing the best ball of his career. “He’s going out there proving what he’s worth,” Bulls guard Zach LaVine said.
Michael Scotto: Source: The Chicago Bulls and Lauri Markkanen won’t agree to an extension. He’s eligible for a $9 million qualifying offer. He’ll be one of the top restricted free agents on the market. More on his future in my story over the weekend on @HoopsHype. hoopshype.com/lists/nba-exte…
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
The Chicago Bulls have exercised the third-year option on Lauri Markkanen, and fourth-year options on guards Kris Dunn and Denzel Valentine. By exercising their options, all players will be under contract with the Bulls for the 2019-20 season. Markkanen came to the Bulls in a Draft-night trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves on June 22, 2017, in which his rights were acquired, along with Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine, in exchange for Jimmy Butler and the rights to the 16th selection in the 2017 NBA Draft. Markkanen was selected to the All-Rookie First Team last season after playing in 68 games (68 starts) and averaging 15.2 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 29.7 minutes per game.
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May 8, 2021 | 4:25 am EDT Update
J. Michael: Just talked with a 4th league source on this w/direct knowledge: This is the first time TJ Warren has been featured as a main option on a team, will be paid like it, likes the smaller market and the plans for him regardless of the coach. He doesn’t want to go anywhere
During an appearance on ESPN’s NBA Countdown ahead of the Bulls hosting the Boston Celtics, Wojnarowski suggested Lonzo Ball of the New Orleans Pelicans and Dennis Schroder of the Los Angeles Lakers as two potential targets. “Point guard is going to be at a premium for them,” Wojarnowski said.
Dane Moore: Karl-Anthony Towns was asked postgame about his exchange with Jimmy Butler, and Anthony Edwards stepped in to take the answer “Man, they grown men, dog. They just be talkin, havin a regular conversation, if you ask me… It’s no competition if we not talkin shit to each other.” pic.twitter.com/gDEP0hjbVZ
Chris Hine: Ant refuted my question earlier when I said the Wolves were getting a little emotional in the 3rd Q. @JaceFrederick followed up with “Who was getting emotional then, Ant?” Ant: “The zebras.”