As NBA teams and players compete for the title in Orlando, the Chicago Bulls are sitting at home, pondering their next steps.
With Zach LaVine, Coby White, and Otto Porter Jr., the team has plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the future. But, considering the way in which their most recent campaign ended, it can also be said that they've still got a long way to go before they become a true contender in the East.
With questions still lingering about their next move, many teams around the association are monitoring the situation -- specifically the situation between the Bulls and young big man Lauri Markannen. After a stellar rookie campaign, he has yet to ascend into stardom and the Bulls patience may be running thin.
In a report by Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times, he noted how Markkannen has recently surfaced on the rumor mill.
SNY reported last week that both the Knicks and the Nets were doing background work on Zach LaVine and the possibility of the guard being dealt by the new regime, and an NBA scout has told the Sun-Times there were a handful of teams actively zeroing in on multiple players on the Bulls roster, including Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr.
Normal due diligence or a lot more smoke than usual?
In this case likely both.
In the same article, he also makes sure to explain how the lack of evidence to support that Chicago has given up on their young stud.
First, it’s important to note that Bulls sources have indicated that the organization hasn’t even crossed the trade bridge. Heck, new executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas is yet to even get the entire roster into the Advocate Center for a full workout, let alone already seeing flaws in players he would move.
At his best, Markkanen is a powerful 7'0" big man who could hit shots from many different areas on the court. With career averages of 16 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per game, it's clear he can put up some real numbers in the NBA.
Unfortunately, it seems his defense and shot selection need work (he's shooting just 42.5% from the field). Additionally, Markkanen has seen a dip in 2019-20 compared to his first two seasons -- a concerning trend.
Still, despite these blemishes, Lauri has a lot of untapped potential and could thrive in the right environment. You can expect many teams to be interested if he becomes available in the next few weeks or months.