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Markkanen is Still on the Bulls, DeRozan’s Fit, and Other Bulls Bullets

Chicago Bulls

Day 22. 

Dearest Mother, 

The hot days are withering. I live in anticipation of the fall months. Not only will the journey become easier, but I expect morale at the outpost to soar. We have added a couple of new members along the way. Fit as a fiddle, they be. The one we call DD is an experienced lad, while we have high hopes for the one we call Ball Boy. Alex is a fresh funny fellow. He hath the whole troop sporting cloth around our forehead. 

Yet, while the new had come in, the old lingers. General AK called a bluff, and it has left the youngster Markkanen in an odd place. He – and I too – expected a move out west to a new brigade. As the clouds move in, however, he might not make it out. What does that mean for the rest of our crew? HA. Are not you the one with all the answers, mother?

Time to eat. I will write at the next stop. Perhaps more change will occur by then. After all, battle is said to be just less than two months away. 

Well wishes,

Son

•   So, in other words, why does this offseason feel so long? And why is Lauri Markkanen still in the Chicago Bulls organization?Don’t get me wrong, I understand restricted free agency can make things complicated, but I can’t believe things ended up this complicated for the 24-year-old power forward. While he has failed to break out in the way many hoped over the past couple of seasons, as we’ve always said, he is still a seven-footer who shot 40 percent from behind the arc last season on high volume. If we’ve learned anything about the modern NBA, it’s that teams will normally pay for shooting. So … WHAT GIVES!? I guess when we tie in Markkanen’s high asking price with the Bulls’ immense leverage, it’s the perfect combination for a drawn-out sign-and-trade process.

•   The problem is the longer this goes on, the more likely it becomes that Markkanen returns on his $9 million qualifying offer. Chicago’s front office might be fine with that since it easily bolsters their power forward depth (very needed right now), but it would (1) mean the organization fails to get anything in return for a player who likely leaves next offseason, and (2) the locker room adds a player who straight-up said he wanted to play elsewhere (multiple times). I have always worried about both of those outcomes. And while I’d like to think everyone is professional enough to put this whole fiasco comfortably behind them, stuff can always linger in the locker room. I just really hope Markkanen and Chicago can work something out. It’s hard not to still believe it is the best outcome for both parties.

•   Anyway, the Bulls Talk podcast spoke a bit more about Markkanen’s situation, and I recommend you give it a listen.

https://twitter.com/NBCSBulls/status/1430190664969383942?s=20

•   Just a random thought: I feel like far too many people have had a hard time separating the DeMar DeRozan sign-and-trade from the player himself. If you don’t agree with everything the team gave up to get DeRozan, nor the contract they handed him, I find that totally fair. Hell, I’ve certainly expressed my concern. At the same time, I can also more than accept the fact that the Bulls added a really good talent. Maybe I’m wrong, but I feel like a lot of the general discourse on the Bulls offseason has left that part out. DeRozan is still one of the league’s top midrange scorers and half-court playmakers.

•   His fit alongside Zach LaVine will be interesting to watch unfold, but it also is not hard to envision a world where it works out. The team has desperately needed a second go-to ballhandler along the perimeter to take pressure off LaVine. DeRozan can be that guy while also adding the kind of valuable distributing the team has lacked for years, especially alongside a talent screener and big man like Nikola Vucevic. At the end of the day, put the money aside and ask yourself did the Bulls substantially improve their on-paper product? It’s hard to say no (but some still do).

•  Hey, at least it’s a start (literally)!

•   RIP



Author: Elias Schuster

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