Lauri Markkanen Wants to Leave Bulls in Free Agency, Has Offers from 'Several' Teams

Adam WellsAugust 6, 2021

Chicago Bulls forward Lauri Markkanen (24) shoots over Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden 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 hoping to close the book on his career with the Chicago Bulls. 

Speaking to Finnish journalist Antti-Jussi Sipila (h/t Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports), Markkanen said his camp has "offers from several different teams."

"I want a fresh start to my NBA career somewhere else," he added. 

The Finland native is currently a restricted free agent, meaning the Bulls would have the ability to match a potential offer sheet he receives. 

Friday is the first day that restricted free agents are eligible to sign offer sheets. 

Per Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, the Charlotte Hornets "have emerged with strong interest in a potential offer sheet" for Markkanen. 

ESPN's Brian Windhorst (h/t RealGM) reported on his Brian Windhorst and the Hoop Collective podcast that the San Antonio Spurs did have interest in the 2017 No. 7 overall draft pick before his asking price was more than they were willing to spend. 

There is still a chance the Bulls work out a sign-and-trade deal involving the Arizona product, though it's unclear if that's being considered right now. They could also pull his qualifying offer, which would get rid of the $20.2 million hold on their salary cap. 

Chicago was one of the more active teams at the start of free agency on Monday. It has reportedly agreed to deals with five players, including sign-and-trade agreements for Lonzo Ball and DeMar DeRozan. 

Markkanen seemed to fall out of favor with the Bulls coaching staff last season. He did miss 20 games in the first half because of injuries, but the 24-year-old set career lows in minutes per game (25.8), scoring average (13.6) and rebounds (5.3). 

The Bulls used the 7-footer off their bench for 24 games from April 2 to May 15 before putting him back in the starting lineup for the regular-season finale on May 16. He did shoot a career-high 40.2 percent from three-point range on a career-low 5.8 attempts per contest. 

Given his age and shooting ability, Markkanen has the ability to be a difference-maker on a team with playoff aspirations.