The Chicago Bulls knew Lauri Markkanen wanted to be somewhere else, but they weren’t just going to let him go without getting what they wanted in return. So, Arturas Karnisovas and the Bulls played hardball in trade talks with the young big man, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
Markkanen initially thought he was going to go to the San Antonio Spurs as part of the DeMar DeRozan sign-and-trade, but Chicago apparently pulled him from the discussions. The Bulls then refused other trades as they tried to secure what they wanted: no bad contract back, a first-round pick and a second-round pick.
Chicago wound up getting exactly what it wanted, nabbing Derrick Jones Jr. from the Portland Trail Blazers in addition to a protected first-round pick from the Blazers and a second-round pick from the Cleveland Cavaliers via the Denver Nuggets. Markkanen got a four-year, $67.5 million deal to join the Cavs, with a partial guarantee in the fourth season.
Jones is on an expiring contract worth under $10 million, and he can provide depth in the frontcourt. The Bulls could also look to flip him down the road in a bigger trade, or perhaps even just a better fit if things don’t work out.
Chicago has totally revamped its roster with a big offseason, with Lonzo Ball, DeMar DeRozan and Alex Caruso the main acquisitions. The Bulls are reportedly also going after Paul Millsap to help round out their rotation. That would be the cherry on top of one heck of a summer.