Today’s the day as far as NBA free agency agreements becoming reality. At 12:01 PM ET, teams can begin signing free agents. While the Bulls have made quite the splash in free agency so far they still have a big player left on the roster. That is restricted free agent forward Lauri Markkanen. The Bulls weren’t able to come to an agreement ahead of last season on an extension. Management wanted Markkanen to prove he was worth the money he wanted. That didn’t work out too well for Lauri and it was expected that he would be moving on from the Bulls. The question is, where will Lauri go? The latest rumors have him heading to Charlotte.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) August 5, 2021
While his next destination is of interest to all Bulls fans we are truly more concerned about if the front office can get something for Markkanen. While they have already executed two sign and trades this free agency period Bulls fans are hoping for one more. Markkanen didn’t work out for the Bulls and they would like to at least get something for him. As it sits right now it’s looking more likely he will walk for nothing. The Bulls have extended a qualifying offer to him but it’s unlikely he would accept that.
Markkanen wants a fresh start
With the extension of a qualifying offer from the Bulls and not hearing many rumors about offers for Lauri, it made people wonder if he would stick around. Lauri has made it known that he wants to be a starter. There’s no slot for him on the team to start currently. However, with the lack of offers heading his way, maybe he would stay in Chicago. That looks very unlikely at this point. Markkanen told Yle Urheil a Finnish sports site
“We have offers from several different teams. I want a fresh start to my NBA career somewhere else. Hopefully things will be sorted out quickly with the Bulls and a new direction for my career”
That right there is confirmation that Markkanen won’t be staying in Chicago. Apparently, there are several different offers on the table for him. One of which is likely from the Hornets. It won’t be surprising to see Markkanen sign an offer sheet shortly after the 12:01 PM signing period if he really does have multiple offers out there. Unfortunately, Markkanen was too inconsistent and the Bulls had seen enough. I’m sure the front office did what they could to try and get something in return for Lauri. At this stage, they just have to wait and see where he’s headed.
The Bulls are moving on
While Lauri wants to move on the Bulls feel the same way. They have completely revamped this team during the free agency period. There’s simply no room for Lauri to start and the money he wants doesn’t warrant him being a bench player.
Lauri Markkanen: "I am worth more than a $64m contract."
Learning lesson for people in life. When someone offers you an once in a lifetime chance to earn tens of millions, take it. You should be fortunate you've been given a chance to make a living playing basketball in the NBA.
— Chicago Bulls Talk (@BullsSource) August 6, 2021
Asking for a contract like that after lacking consistency is absurd. The Bulls already know what they have in Lauri after 4 seasons with the team. He’s ran his course in Chicago. The Bulls would have kept him around if he was realistic with the money and being a bench player. Markkanen will likely try and find a place to start but it’s slim pickings right now. It would have been great if Markkanen worked out. His build and skillset are hard to come by in the NBA. It all came down to his lack of consistency and at this stage, we will likely see Lauri walk out the door. The Bulls are on to bigger and better things and Markkanen doesn’t look to be part of that journey.