To be honest, there is not much to say here.
New dropped the Chicago Bulls extended Lauri Markkanen his qualifying offer, which officially makes him a restricted free agent. The decision helps the front office keep their options open, giving them the chance to match a contract sheet thrown Markkanen’s way this offseason. This decision also buys Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley more time to seek out a potential sign-and-trade opportunity, which is something many believed the Bulls would seek out after failing to move him at the trade deadline.
The Bulls have extended a qualifying offer to Lauri Markkanen, making the forward a restricted free agent. @ShamsCharania 1st with news.
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) July 30, 2021
Sources: The Bulls have extended the qualifying offer to Lauri Markkanen, making him a restricted free agent. Markkanen is expected to have several suitors on the market.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 30, 2021
According to Spotrac, Markkanen’s QO sits at roughly $9.0 million. While his value in the marketplace likely dropped after another low-impact year (albeit, better in some ways than his 2019-20 season), it feels pretty out of the question that Markkanen accepts this offer. Not only is the market depleted of strong assets, but several teams have significant spending power. One has to imagine Markkanen’s camp already knows of a team or two interested in offering a longer-term deal that would net him several million more per year. We also can not forget that Markkanen said at the conclusion of the regular season that he believes he has “a lot more to offer,” and that he wants to use this summer as an opportunity to “look what’s out there.”
So, yeah, this is basically a formality that we all saw coming. The Bulls will now wait to see what offers potentially come across the desk while planning the rest of their free agency. Also, fwiw, the team can remove the QO offer from Markkanen at any time.