Bulls fans have waited for what feels like months to hear about the future of forward Lauri Markkanen. Everyone knew he wasn’t going to be sticking around. However, as time continued to pass we started to question his future. It looked like the market had dried up and Markkanen wasn’t going to bring much from a trade. The Bulls front office patiently waited and it worked out well for them.
ESPN Sources: Cleveland’s acquiring Chicago’s Lauri Markkanen in three-way sign and trade with Portland. Bulls get Derrick Jones Jr., POR’s lottery protected future 1st and Cavs’ future second-rounder. POR gets Larry Nance Jr. https://t.co/CgN3mhaLHY
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 27, 2021
Somehow the Bulls front office managed to get a first-round pick, a second-round pick, and a role player for Lauri Markkanen. The Bulls insisted on wanting a first-round pick for Markkanen and most people thought they were crazy. Well, the Bulls front office showed exactly what they are made of. It took patience but it was well worth the wait. The Bulls have added another key player to the bench and now have some draft capital on top of that. Somehow this front office continues to surprise Bulls fans. Let’s break down what this trade actually gains the Bulls.
The Bulls get a first-round pick back
One of the biggest critiques of the Bull’s acquisition of DeMar DeRozan is that it took a first-round pick to get him. Well, this front office quickly brought a first-round pick back to Chicago. In this deal, they not only brought back a first but they also brought in a second.
The lottery protected 1st-round pick the Bulls are receiving is for the 2022 draft. The second-round pick is from the Cavaliers and is for the 2023 draft, per source. https://t.co/3LDZj7H6ZN
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) August 27, 2021
This means the Bulls next season could be looking at a first-round pick from the Cavs and the following year a second-round pick. That’s huge considering what they gave up in trades this offseason and ahead of the deadline last season. The Bulls put themselves in a position to be able to make more deals in the future by grabbing these picks. They also set themselves up if they want to add any more young pieces to this team. Just being able to get a first-round pick for Markkanen is incredible. His trade value had declined quite a bit but the Bulls stuck to what they wanted for him and it worked out. The best part about this deal is the Bulls also got a high-energy bench player at a low cost.
Derrick Jones Jr off the bench
For myself, the most exciting part about this trade is the acquisition of forward Derrick Jones Jr. He’s not going to be a star on this team but he’s a productive bench player. He can play defense well which is a high priority for the Bulls. He plays hard and always seems to give 100% when he’s on the court.
— Darnell Mayberry (@DarnellMayberry) August 27, 2021
Derrick Jones Jr. is coming off a season where he averaged 6.8 PPG, 48.4 %FG, & 3.5 RPG. Like I said he’s not going to be a star on the team but he will be a serviceable bench player. He also should provide a few nice dunks for this team alongside teammate Zach LaVine. At only 24 years old Jones Jr. has a lot of upsides. He can continue to get better working with the Bull’s second unit while being a key contributor to the team. Another good thing about him is he comes in with an expiring contract at $9.7 million. He isn’t breaking the bank for this team which is good as they are approaching the luxury tax. At the end of the day, the Bulls were able to part ways with Markkanen after 4 years of inconsistency.
Markkanen gets a fresh start
Markkanen made it known he wanted out of Chicago and he got his wish. His biggest issue during his time with the Bulls was inconsistency. He showed flashes of the type of player he could be but he couldn’t do it consistently. There’s no doubt that his size and shooting ability is hard to come by. But to pay him a high salary as an inconsistent bench player just isn’t worth it. The Bulls had the upper hand here as Markkanen wanted more money than he’s worth. In the end, the Bulls were able to flip him for a good haul. Now they can move on and figure out how this team is going to operate in a couple of months. It’s a sad day anytime anyone has to move to Cleveland but in this case, Lauri got what was coming to him. Not many teams wanted to pay a high dollar for him. Apparently, Cleveland had money to blow and Markkanen was their guy.