It took 25 days, but the Chicago Bulls have finally moved on from Lauri Markkanen.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Markkanen will head to Cleveland in a three-team deal that also includes the Portland Trail Blazers. In return, the Bulls will add a lottery-protected future first-round pick (via Trail Blazers), a second-round pick (via Cavs), and Derrick Jones Jr.
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
Markkanen will ink a four-year, $67 million deal with the Cavaliers, netting him an expected $16.7 AAV. For Cleveland, the move comes as a bit of a surprise considering their investment in No. 3-overall pick Evan Mobley and center Jarrett Allen. As for Chicago, this seems like an incredibly solid return considering the time that has passed, the dried-up cap space throughout the league, and the draft capital that has recently gone out the door. Not to mention, Derrick Jones Jr. is a player the organization has previously had on their radar, and he will further bolster the team’s defensive wing depth.
More to come as details emerge. Stay tuned.
So, let’s take a look at how the current roster stands.
PG: Lonzo Ball
SG: Zach LaVine
SF: DeMar DeRozan
PF: Patrick Williams
C: Nikola Vucevic
Derrick Jones Jr.
Troy Brown Jr.
Devon Dotson (two-way contract)
As for the finances …
Chicago is now $6.4M below the luxury tax with 13 guaranteed contracts.
$11.8M below the hard cap
Derrick Jones Jr. is on an expiring $9.7M contract.
— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) August 27, 2021
The Chicago Bulls now have two roster spots open as well as one more two-way contract to offer. With a player exception acquired during the offseason in the Daniel Theis sign-and-trade with the Houston Rockets, the Bulls technically can walk into this season with their 15th roster spot up. The plan would then be to hopefully fill it with a position of need at a later date (probably about the trade deadline). Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley also have the bi-annual exception still at their disposal, which should be roughly $3.7 million.
If I were seated in the big boy chair right now, I would certainly look for power forward help. While both DeMar DeRozan and Derrick Jones Jr. can technically play at the position, adding a more traditional defensive-minded frontcourt to help backup Patrick Williams feels necessary (I’m looking at you Paul Millsap). You also can never have too much shooting in today’s league, so I would not be shocked if we see Chicago fill their last roster spot with a solid long-range threat.
Regardless of where the team turns next, Jones Jr. is a versatile forward with a helpful 7’0″ wingspan and absurd athleticism. I expect to see him in the Bulls’ rotation as a player who can guard multiple positions and look to murder the rim on the offensive end. Combine him with guys like Alex Caruso, Coby White, and Troy Brown Jr. in the second unit, and the Bulls are looking at quite the athletic and well-rounded bench squad. We will have more on DJJ’s fit soon.