The Chicago Bulls made a win-now move by trading for All-Star Nikola Vucevic prior to the trade deadline, in an attempt to surround Zach LaVine with All-Star caliber talent in Chicago. With the addition of Vucevic, Lauri Markkanen’s status on the roster is now in limbo. Lauri Markkannen and Nikola Vucevic together are a defensive nightmare, and it has been suggested that the Chicago Bulls could try and move Markkanen this offseason.
After two disappointing years in Chicago, it could be time for a change of scenery for Lauri Markkanen. A. Sherrod Blakely of Bleacher Report has recently reported that many executives in the NBA think that Markkanen might switch teams in the offseason. A team that was potentially mentioned as a suitor for Markkanen was the San Antonio Spurs.
Vucevic and Markkanen are above-average scorers for bigs but struggle mightily as a defensive tandem.
That’s why the Bulls have limited their time together on the court, and why rival executives are bullish on the idea Markkanen will play elsewhere next season.
“In the right kind of system, Markkanen could be a really good player,” the East exec said. “I don’t know if Chicago is it; it’s certainly not it if they think him and Vucevic can play together.”
It remains to be seen if Markkanen will accept a reserve role beyond this season or pursue a more prominent role elsewhere.
The pool of teams that will have the salary-cap space to make a run at Markkanen is limited, but multiple executives and scouts anticipate the San Antonio Spurs will make a strong offer this summer.
Without LaMarcus Aldridge, San Antonio has a need for a stretch big with Markkanen’s size and skill set.
Chicago can match any offer to retain him, but teams have gotten creative in making it harder for squads to keep their coveted restricted free agents without paying steep prices.
Lauri Markkanen moving to the Spurs would give them a solid young big man that they can develop alongside the rest of their core. Markkanen is still a player that has some potential: he is an accurate shooter from deep despite his recent reduced minutes, shooting 38.4% from beyond the arc on 6.0 attempts. He would be great on a rebuilding team where he could get some touches, and San Antonio could be the perfect destination for him. While this is only a rumor, the fit between Lauri Markkanen and the San Antonio Spurs is definitely there.