As the NBA rookie contract extension deadline passed today at 5 PM CT, Lauri Markkanen and the Chicago Bulls failed to reach an agreement.
This news doesn’t come as much of a surprise given reports in recent days indicating the two sides were far apart in the negotiation process.
According to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago, discussions continued but the two sides were not able to materialize anything before the deadline came and went. Lauri Markkanen will enter restricted free agency following the 2020-21 NBA season and the market will dictate his value.
Comparable contracts for Markkanen include the likes of Kyle Kuzma from the Los Angles Lakers and Washington Wizards’ sharp-shooting big man Davis Bertans. Kuzma signed a three-year, $40 million extension with the Lakers, netting an AAV of $13.4 million dollars annually. Bertans signed a contract that will see him make $16 million annually.
Reports of specific figures regarding Markkanen never surfaced, so it’s hard to tell how far apart the two sides are. But heading into a “prove it” year for Lauri, this could backfire on the Bulls. With all of the notable names already removed from the 2021 NBA free-agent market, teams with cap space will likely spend as much as they can to net a player like Markkanen. Teams may be okay with overpaying for his services, which could put the Bulls in a tough situation come the end of the 2020-21 NBA Season.