With the Chicago Bulls making some front office changes this offseason, there has been some speculation on what the future of the franchise will look like with the roster. One of the players that has been talked about a lot recently is forward Lauri Markkanen after he had a disappointing year in 2019-20.
Playing under Jim Boylen, Markkanen really struggled to be consistent and did deal with an injury which limited his play. He could be a piece the Bulls eventually move to recoup some draft picks and potentially young players. However, does Markkanen want to leave and would he demand a trade?
On Monday, Markkanen revealed on a Finnish podcast that he does indeed want to stay in Chicago and sign an extension, saying he cant describe how excited he is right now:
In an interview with Finnish podcast @urheilucast, Lauri Markkanen said that he loves Chicago and would definitely sign an extension with the Bulls.
On the new Bulls front office: "I can't describe how excited I am."
(Translation via @CoachPalotie)
— Daniel Greenberg (@ChiSportUpdates) May 25, 2020
Markkanen went on to talk more about the Bulls and his future and the potential return for the NBA as OnTap Sports had the full translation here:
It was reported that Bulls players are extremely upbeat about the recent changes while completely buying in to new regime’s philosophies about building a winning team. When asked about the new look Bulls, Markkanen was thrilled. “Their work speaks for itself. I can’t describe how excited I am.”
Markkanen is contract eligible this offseason, but considering he had a down year to go with a lowered salary cap due to COVID-19, it would be unlikely him and the Bulls come to an agreement. He still has one year left on his rookie deal before becoming a restricted free agent, however Markkanen did make it clear about his love for Chicago. “I want to stay in Chicago and sign an extension (with the Bulls), no question. I love this city.”
Markkanen is only 23 years old and is a piece the Bulls could build around for the future despite his struggles this season. With a new coaching staff that can maximize his talent and where he’s at on the court, he could take that next jump to an All-Star level.
But that would require some changes at head coach and new assistants which appears to be the next step in the overhaul process.