The Chicago Bulls have extended a qualifying offer to forward Lauri Markkanen. The move was first reported by Shams Charania of The Athletic.
Extending a qualifying offer to Markkanen makes him a restricted free agent. The Bulls now have right of first refusal, meaning that other teams can offer Markkanen a multi-year contract, but the Bulls will have three days to match it. If they do, Markkanen remains a Bull.
Markkanen could also sign the qualifying offer, which stands at just above $9 million for the year. However, it would be surprising if the Finn signed it as he has stated he wants to test the restricted free agency waters.
Another option the front office of Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley may have is to use the restricted free agency setup in a sign-and-trade deal. The Bulls would match an offer of another team, sign Markkanen to that deal, and then trade Markkanen to that team.
Markkanen has until October 1 to accept the offer. More to come as this story unfolds.