When the NBA free-agent frenzy began earlier this week, many expected Chicago Bulls’ forward Lauri Markkanen to be on the move. Despite drawing interest from multiple teams, Markkanen still remains with Chicago as a restricted free agent for the time being. As trade opportunities continue to dwindle away with other teams completing signings, Bulls fans began to think that Markkanen may end up staying in the Windy City. Even Bulls’ TV analyst Stacey King was starting to map out how Markkanen may improve in the Bulls’ new lineup.
As of this morning, it sounds like Markkanen has other plans, according to Finnish journalist Antti-Jussi Sipilä.
Markkanen wanting out of Chicago comes as no surprise considering the Bulls have been trying to move him since last year’s trade deadline, and those efforts have carried over to begin this offseason. Reports on Thursday indicated the Hornets were interested in Markkanen, but they have since signed Kelly Oubre Jr.
If a trade involving Markkanen somehow doesn’t come to fruition, his only option will be signing the Bulls’ qualifying offer. In that scenario would, Markkanen would have a no-trade clause in his deal for the 2021-22 season. Players can begin signing qualifying offers today, so it will be interesting to follow Markkanen’s situation given his desire to play elsewhere.