Bulls exercise 4th-year option on Lauri Markkanen, 3rd-year options on Wendell Carter Jr., Chandler Hutchison
By exercising their options, all players will be under contract with the Bulls for the 2020-21 season.
Markkanen came to the Bulls in a Draft-night trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 2017 NBA Draft. After being selected to the All-Rookie First Team during the 2017-18 campaign, Markkanen’s sophomore season yielded improvements in his averages in points (18.7), rebounds (9.0) and assists (1.4) while shooting .430 from the field, .361 from 3-point range and .872 from the free-throw line in 52 games (51 starts). The Arizona product added 120 threes to his Bulls rookie record of 145 to bring his career total to 265, the 17th-most by an NBA player within his first two seasons. Posting 12 of his 20 double-doubles for the 2018-19 season prior to the All-Star break, Markkanen was named to the 2019 Mtn Dew Ice Rising Stars where he put up 21 points and six rebounds for Team World.
Carter Jr. was selected seventh overall by Chicago in the 2018 NBA Draft out of Duke. Appearing in 44 games (all starts), he averaged 10.3 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.32 blocks in 25.2 minutes per game while shooting .485 from the floor and .795 from the charity stripe. Just the 10th Bulls rookie to start on opening night, the Atlanta native reached double figures in points in nine of his first 15 games to go along with four double-doubles. Carter Jr. blocked at least one shot in 33 of his 44 games and produced 17 multi-block performances, tied for the seventh-most in franchise history by a rookie. On Dec. 28, 2018, he put up 17 points, 13 rebounds, two assists, one steal and three blocks in a victory at Washington, becoming the only rookie during the 2018-19 season to produce such a stat line and the 12th since the turn of the century.
Hutchison, a four-year player at Boise State, was selected 22nd overall by Chicago in the 2018 NBA Draft. Seeing action in 44 games (14 starts) during his rookie campaign, he averaged 5.2 points and 4.2 rebounds in 20.3 minutes per game while shooting .459 from the field and .605 from the free-throw line. As a reserve, Hutchison committed only 17 turnovers, which were the ninth-fewest among NBA players who saw at least 500 minutes coming off the bench. The Mission Viejo, Calif., native was a season-best +18 on Oct. 27 at Atlanta, and when he was a +5-or-better, Chicago had a winning percentage of .727.
Markkanen and Carter Jr. will start for the Bulls this season alongside Tomas Satoransky, Zach LaVine and Otto Porter.
The Bulls won just 22 games last season. Fans in Chicago are hoping the team can make the playoffs this season.
The Bulls haven’t been to the postseason since 2017, the final year of the Jimmy Butler era.