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Lauri Markkanen Says He Wants A Fresh Start Out Of Chicago

Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bulls thought they had landed a superstar in the making when they drafted Lauri Markkanen with the 7th overall pick four seasons ago. 

He was a part of the Jimmy Butler trade to the Minnesota Timberwolves that also got them Zach LaVine, who flourished as one of the league's best scorers.

As for Markkanen, he vastly regressed following a surprising rookie season. He never improved as a defender, his efficiency went down and he was never much of a presence on the glass.

That's why most people speculated that the Bulls would just give up on him and let him walk away in free agency or use him in a sign-and-trade.

And, apparently, he's also looking forward to leaving the team as a restricted free agent:

"Bulls restricted free agent Lauri Markkanen tells Finnish journalist @AJ_Sipila he wants out of Chicago: “We have offers from several different teams. I want a fresh start to my NBA career somewhere else," tweeted Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports.

Markkanen is still pretty young and his skill set could intrigue multiple teams. But he's not going to get anywhere near the $20 million he was reportedly looking for. Moreover, given his status as a restricted free agent, he's also tied to the Bulls' demands.

The Finnish big man is coming off averaging career lows in points (13.6), rebounds (5.3), assists (0.9), steals (0.5), blocks (0.3), and minutes (25.9). He only started 26 games but knocked down 48% of his shots and 40% of his three-pointers.

The Bulls are clearly looking to win now after adding DeMar DeRozan and Lonzo Ball and trading for Nikola Vucevic midseason last year, so they would be glad to move Markkanen for more rotation players to help them get back to the playoffs.