Lauri Markkanen blocks Derrick White’s shot against the San Antonio Spurs at 19. March.
The Chicago Bulls are 18-22 after another heartbreaking loss against the Denver Nuggets on Friday and there are only five days left before the NBA trade deadline on the 25th. March.
Clearly they need to update their list, but where should they start?
Almost all matters of importance to the teams are an integral part of onboard production. The rumors include veteran Thaddeus Young and suspended free agent Lauri Markkanen.
Will selling one of these two be enough to significantly improve the Bulls’ playoff chances? You are currently ranked 10th in the Eastern Conference with 32 games to go.
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Lauri stays with the bulls
Markkanen, 23, spoke to the media (on NBC Sports) before Friday’s loss and was asked about his feelings about the approaching deadline and his future with the Chicago Bulls.
Although he failed to get an extension in Chicago in December, he’s not losing his optimism:
I’m not making any predictions about that. I go from day to day checking what I can check. I’m 100% committed and I’m still committed.
His future with the team had been in doubt since that deadline in December, when the two sides reportedly could not agree on a new long-term contract with a difference of four million a year.
Health and accessibility is a career year for Markkanen. However, he acknowledged that his game has room for improvement in certain areas and explained some of the issues he has discussed with his head coach:
I want to be more active on the field. I feel like I didn’t photograph as well as I could have. I mean that’s one of the things Billy (Donovan) asked me to do when I came back from injury, to be physical, even when I came back from injury.
With a career average of 5.8 rebounds, that’s not a good argument. But when it comes to shooting, Markkanen’s average percentage is high, both from the field (.498) and from beyond the three-point line (.405).
The last two issues seem to be fictional lately: In the Bulls’ defeats in San Antonio and Denver, Markkanen scored just 20 points with 8-of-21 shooting from the field.
The 23-year-old was noticeably absent in overtime against the Nuggets on Friday night, not because he was at fault or injured, but because Otto Porter Jr. was running at full speed.
Things are not looking good, only three games separate the Chicago Bulls from the trade deadline and Lauri Markkanen’s future is a big question mark.
Expect Chicago to make a move
Time and time again, the Bulls front office and their players have made it clear that making the playoffs is a priority and a goal this season. Chicago has not done so since 2017.
Given the team’s trend of losing twice in a row and four of the last six years, it seems increasingly likely that they’ll make a deal.
As C.K. Johnson of NBC Sports noted in his latest article, it is increasingly easy to see the limits of what appears to be written on the wall:
If the so-called frontcourt of the future sees a 34-year veteran in (Thad) Young, an expiring contract in (Otto) Porter and a noisy worker bee in (Ryan) Arcidiacono (until the end), it doesn’t bode well.
Even if it’s just a matter of finding a backup point guard better suited to play alongside Kobe White, or bringing in a more capable rim guard than Wendell Carter Jr, the Bulls seem headed for a shake-up of sorts.
It is expected that the nature of this change will be determined in the last three games before the deadline.
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