Markkanen tells Finland site he's ready for fresh start

  • Bulls forward Lauri Markkanen told a news source in Finland he'd like a fresh start with his NBA career.

    Bulls forward Lauri Markkanen told a news source in Finland he'd like a fresh start with his NBA career. Associated Press

Updated 8/6/2021 2:35 PM

Five days into NBA free-agency, the Bulls haven't done anything with restricted free agent Lauri Markkanen and cap space around the league is drying up.

Markkanen confirmed he'd like to find a new NBA home, according to a translated article in Yle Urheilu.


The story said Markkanen wrote in an email to the author, "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 (I have) a new direction for my career."

No one really expected Markkanen to return to the Bulls. But a couple of potential destinations went in other directions.

It was widely believed Markkanen would go to San Antonio in a double sign-and-trade for DeMar DeRozan, but the Spurs wanted Thad Young and two draft picks instead. There was a report Markkanen could be signing an offer sheet with Charlotte, but not long after that, the Hornets came to an agreement with former Warriors forward Kelly Oubre Jr. on a two-year deal.

Minnesota has been mentioned as a team with interest in the 7-foot- Finland native. Markkanen was technically a Timberwolves draft pick, No. 7 overall, before he was sent to the Bulls with Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn for Jimmy Butler on draft night 2017.

Minnesota is above the salary cap, so it would need a sign-and-trade to acquire Markkanen. One idea is another former lottery pick who might need a change of scenery, swingman Jarrett Culver, and another player to match salaries.

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The Bulls likely don't intend to cross into luxury tax territory, which would limit what they take back in a Markkanen trade.

Meanwhile, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported the Bulls agreed on a two-year deal with Javonte Green, who joined the team last season from Boston. Green, a 6-4 guard from Radford, appeared in 16 games for the Bulls.

Green would give the revamped Bulls 12 players on the roster. The list includes guards LaVine, Lonzo Ball, Alex Caruso, Coby White, draft pick Ayo Dosunmu and Green; forwards DeRozan, Patrick Williams and Troy Brown Jr.; and big men Nikola Vucevic, Tony Bradley and Marko Simonovic, last year's second-round pick.

The Bulls gave a qualifying offer to two-way player Devon Dotson, who will play for the summer league squad with Williams, Dosunmu, Simonovic and others. The Bulls first summer game in Las Vegas is Monday.


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