Bulls News: Lauri Markkanen Says He Doesn't Regret Turning Down Contract Extension

Jenna CiccotelliCorrespondent IIMay 17, 2021

Chicago Bulls forward Lauri Markkanen (24) passes the ball against the Brooklyn Nets during the first half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, May 15, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
AP Photo/Adam Hunger

Lauri Markkanen is looking forward to restricted free agency.

The 23-year-old said he isn't having second thoughts about passing on a multi-year extension that the Chicago Bulls offered him ahead of the season. According to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago, the two sides were separated by $4 million annually. 

"I don’t have any regrets turning [the extension] down," Markkanen said. "I think I did the right decision. I have a lot of basketball ahead of me. I can do a lot of different stuff on the court. I’m confident in my abilities." 

The 23-year-old saw his role change in his fourth season in Chicago, going from a starter to a bench player in a season that saw his time cut because of the league's health and safety protocols and then a right shoulder sprain.

Nikola Vucevic and Daniel Theis joined the squad at the trade deadline, further reducing his role. 

He played 51 games, starting just 26 and logging a career-low 25.8 minutes per game. He still managed 13.6 points per game on career-best shooting (48 percent from the field, 40.2 percent from deep) and 5.3 rebounds for the Bulls, who finished 31-41. 

Head coach Billy Donovan praised Markkanen's versatility last week, and team executive vice president Arturas Karnisovas said the Finland native was "an essential part of our team" (h/t Johnson). 

“We talked about stuff I can do better and some stuff I did well this year. Obviously, we talked about what to work on. But we didn’t talk about the business side that much,” Markkanen said. “Wherever it is going to be, I’m committed to the team. You know that about me. I’m excited to see what’s out there for me.