Markkanen offers only kind words before facing Bulls
A decent-sized graphic novel could be written about what went right and wrong for Lauri Markkanen during his four years with the Bulls.
But as is his style, the 7-foot Finland native had no complaints when asked about the shift from Chicago to Cleveland before Tuesday's preseason opener.
"I've got nothing bad to say about them," Markkanen said. "When I was here, they treated me well and things didn't go as planned, but I've got nothing bad to say about them.
"I felt like a change of scenery is going to be good for me. I'm happy in the position I'm in right now."
After a strong sophomore season with the Bulls, Markkanen's production dropped and he asked for a sign-and-trade deal when he because a restricted free agent last summer. Bulls coach Billy Donovan said Monday he told Markkanen there would be a role for him on the 2021-22 Bulls.
Markkanen was laughing and joking with his new teammates before the game, and took some time to chat with injured Bulls Coby White and Patrick Williams.
"I appreciate everybody," Markkanen said. "I don't have anything bad to say about the city of Chicago, the organization or especially the fans.
"It was great to walk into the building. I'm excited to compete with my new teammates. But it's going to be great to see old friends too."
The other ex-Bulls forward arriving in town with the Cavaliers was Denzel Valentine. The team's first-round pick in 2016 spent five inconsistent years in Chicago, sitting out a full season in 2018-19 due to ankle surgery.
'I've gone through trials and tribulations. I've shown glimpses," Valentine said. "I know what I'm capable of doing. I'm finally healthy now. This is going to be my second season coming in healthy, so I feel like my best basketball is ahead of me."
Marko Simonovic (thumb), Derrick Jones Jr. (ankle) and Tony Bradley (back) sat out Tuesday's game, and coach Billy Donovan expects all of them to return soon. Six-foot-4 Javonte Green started at power forward.