Despite the Chicago Bulls extending a qualifying offer to Lauri Markkanen, making him a restricted free agent this offseason with a need at the power forward spot, the 2017 No. 7 overall out of Arizona has made it clear that he wants out of Chicago according to Yahoo! Sports’ Chris B. Haynes.
Bulls restricted free agent Lauri Markkanen tells Finnish journalist @AJ_Sipila he wants out of Chicago: “We have offers from several different teams. I want a fresh start to my NBA career somewhere else.”— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) August 6, 2021
Markkanen had the best shooting season of his career, shooting 48 percent from the floor and 40.2 percent from beyond the arc. That kind of shooting drew attention from teams like the Dallas Mavericks, New Orleans Pelicans, Minnesota Timberwolves and Boston Celtics. For these teams to acquire him, it would likely have to be done through a sign and trade.
However with the Bulls wanting compensation for Lauri Markkanen’s services, he remains a free agent and with most teams already using up their cap space, Markkanen may have no choice but to accept a one-year qualifying offer that would pay him approximately $9 million. Then after the season, he could become an unrestricted free agent which is something Markkanen reportedly has no interest in.
As of now, the Bulls own his rights as a restricted free agent, with the ability to match any offer. According to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, the price of a sign and trade for the Bulls is a first-round pick in any sign-and-trade deal with Markkanen with a request to find a third team in the deal so they won’t have to take any salary back.
According to Marc Stein, the New Orleans Pelicans may be Lauri’s last chance out of Chicago this offseason.
The Pelicans have expressed interest in Lauri Markkanen and hold a sizable trade exception ($17 million) to take the restricted free agent in on a contract he seeks, sources say.