Chicago Bulls Sign and Trade Lauri Markkanen to Cleveland Cavaliers

Lauri Markkanen’s short and disappointing tenure with the Chicago Bulls is officially over.  Late Friday morning the Bulls dealt the fifth-year forward to the Cleveland Cavaliers as part of a three-team trade with the Portland Trailblazers.  The Bulls will receiver a 1st round pick from the Trailblazers in the deal that is lottery protected through 2028, a 2023 2nd round pick from the Cleveland Cavaliers(through the Denver Nuggets), and also forward Derrick Jones Jr. from Portland.

As part of the deal, Markannen has agreed to a 4 year $67 million contract with the Cavaliers, who are also sending forward Larry Nance Jr. to Portland.

Markannen came to Chicago as part of a draft-night trade that sent Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves and brought Zach LaVine to Chicago.  Markannen showed promise early in his career averaging 18.7 PPG and 9.0 RPG in his second season but regressed the last two seasons while the Bulls underwent major changes in the organization.  It was no secret Markkanen was looking to move on from Chicago and he had been mentioned in numerous trade rumors over the last few months.

In Derrick Jones Jr. the Bulls are getting a versatile wing player who provides depth and can play either shooting guard or small forward.  The real prize for the Bulls is the return of the first-round pick, which while lottery protected through 2028, should net the Bulls a good return at some point in the next few years as the draft classes are expected to be deeper with the re-addition of high school players in the coming seasons, perhaps as soon as the 2022 draft.

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