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Markkanen Wants a “Fresh Start” Outside of Chicago

Chicago Bulls

Lauri Markkanen may have overplayed his hand. The 23-year-old is about to enter the fifth day of free agency without a new home after two deals have appeared to fall through.

First, Markkanen recevied interest from the San Antonio Spurs. The Chicago Bulls were reportedly in talks to include Markkanen in their sign-and-trade deal for DeMar DeRozan, but Markkanen demanded too much money. We then got word that the Charlotte Hornets had “strong interest” in handing the big man a contract sheet. However, only a couple of hours later, the organization used most of its remaining cap space on Kelly Oubre.

The moratorium period on all transactions will be lifted at 11:01 p.m. CT. Teams will then be able to make these verbally agreed deals final. In other words, we will be seeing many “officially official” tweets. With money finally going on the books and teams wrapping up their roster construction, the opportunity to pursue a sign-and-trade for Markkanen will become that much more unlikely for the Bulls. Not to mention, if Markkanen puts pen to paper on an offer sheet, a sign-and-trade deal can not be worked out. The two sides will either have to discuss his qualifying offer (one year, $9.2 million), which the Bulls can still rescind, or Markkanen will have to sign an offer sheet (which the Bulls will have a couple of days to match).

Markkanen is obviously pushing the latter.

“We have offers from several different teams,” Lauri Markkanen told Yle Urheil.* “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.”

*This has been translated from a Finnish source. 

The problem for Markkanen right now is that very few teams have cap space. But I guess he seems confident that some kind of acceptable offer will come across his desk. We’ll see. With all this free agency madness winding down, some decision is going to have to be made soon. And, considering Markkanen’s recent comments, it sounds like that decision will send him out of Chicago in one way or another.



Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is a writer for Bleacher Nation and a human being. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.