As NBA free agency progresses late into the summer, Bulls restricted free agent Lauri Markkanen is hoping to find a new home to play basketball. The 24-year-old Finnish pro was drafted back in 2017 by the Chicago Bulls with the number 7 pick in the draft.
The Chicago Bulls have yet to re-sign Markkanen to a new deal, and it seems that both sides are not particularly interested in inking a new deal. Markkanen recently spoke to a reporter and expressed that he is hoping for a fresh start with a new team in a new city.
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
Teams that are reportedly showing interest in signing restricted free agent Markkanen are the New Orleans Pelicans and the Charlotte Hornets. The Hornets appear to be the current front runners to sign Markkanen to a deal.
The Charlotte Hornets have emerged with strong interest in a potential offer sheet for Chicago restricted free agent Lauri Markkanen, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. RFAs can begin signing sheets Friday.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 5, 2021
In his short 4-year career, Markkanen is averaging 15.6 points, 7.1 rebounds, and a 44 % Field goal percentage. Markkanen has yet to play a full season in his NBA career, as injuries have been a common occurrence. He has missed at least 15 games in each of his first 4 seasons.
It is looking more and more likely that Markkanen will not be playing in a Bulls jersey for the upcoming season, as the Bulls front office has already made numerous moves during free agency.
So far in free agency, the Bulls have already signed big impact players such as Lonzo Ball, DeMar DeRozan, and Alex Caruso. In addition to trading for forward Nikola Vucevic last season, and drafting Ayo Dosunmu in the draft, it remains unclear if Markkanen still fits into what the front office is trying to build.