After being one of the worst teams in the NBA over the last few seasons, the Chicago Bulls have turned things around and look like they could be in contention for a playoff spot this year. First-time All-Star Zach LaVine has continued to elevate his play and after acquiring All-Star center Nikola Vucevic at the trade deadline this season, the Bulls have plenty of firepower to be a promising team for many years to come.
With young players molding into talented rotational players and veteran players like Thaddeus Young contributing at a high-level, the Chicago Bulls definitely have the makings of a potential playoff team this year, but they have some decisions to make with some young talents in the offseason, including Lauri Markkanen.
The former 7th overall pick is set to become a restricted free agent at the end of the year, meaning the Bulls will still have all the leverage in terms of contract talks with him, but he is still very much “up-for-grabs” by other teams in the league.
While they would have some cap space to re-sign Markkanen this offseason, they may not look to do so anymore since Thaddeus Young is still under contract and since they have Nikola Vucevic as their “go-to” scorer in the frontcourt.
Markkanen’s value for the Bulls has decreased after this trade, which is why he may look to sign elsewhere in the offseason instead of returning to Chicago. His inability to defend out in space makes him a liability alongside Nikola Vucevic and that could raise some problems for the Bulls when evaluating their long-term roster construction.
If Lauri Markkanen’s time in Chicago truly is over at the end of this season, here are three teams who could potentially make a run at the young big man in free agency.