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Lauri Markkanen: 'I'm smarter and better now'

“You always hope to play for one team for your whole career. But it just didn’t work out,” said Markkanen, who grew disenchanted with his role and lack of a contract extension in December 2020. “I think I’ve definitely got better from those years, just mentality-wise and physically being in a better place. . . . I’m smarter and better now.”
So while his four seasons with the Chicago Bulls definitely produced some highs, they also featured trying times. And all those experiences, both high and low, helped form who he is today. “I have very good memories from Chicago playing-wise and off the court—my kids being born there, growing as a family in the city of Chicago and playing with one of the most historic franchises. Obviously, there were definitely hard times as well, missing the playoffs four years straight,” Markkanen said in a phone conversation with NBC Sports Chicago that will also appear on the Bulls Talk podcast. “But I think now it’s just easy to say I needed that kind of experience to fight through that kind of stuff and get here where I am today.”