Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times has reported that Lauri Markkanen has privately expressed interest in joining the Dallas Mavericks.
It’s absolutely no secret that Lauri Markkanen didn’t have the year he was hoping for after turning down a contract extension from the Chicago Bulls. He will now enter restricted free agency, which allows the Chicago Bulls to match any offer Markkanen receives.
The 2020-21 NBA season saw Lauri Markkanen average career-lows in points per game (13.6) and rebounds per game (5.3). However, Lauri shot a career-best 40.2% from downtown. It could just be the situation here in Chicago that held him back from completely flourishing. In his four years in the NBA, he’s had three different head coaches and three different systems to learn. That could be why he still views himself as a starter in the league, even though the Bulls benched him for Thaddeus Young and Daniel Theis.
The Dallas Mavericks are going to have plenty of cap space this upcoming 2021 offseason. It’s entirely possible that they could look to pair Luka Dončić with Lauri Markkanen. While a pairing of bigs like Lauri and Kristaps Porziņģis could be defensively challenged, they could provide a dynamic scoring frontcourt alongside point forward Luka Dončić.
Regardless of the offer that may come Markkanen’s way, the soon to be fifth-year forward needs to remain healthy. Markkanen has never played more than 70 games in a season. The skill is there, but he needs to find the consistency to be on the floor when it matters.