The San Antonio Spurs could be after their next great international player.
A. Sherrod Blakley of Bleacher Report reported this week that multiple scouts and executives believe the Spurs will make a strong offer to Chicago Bulls big man Lauri Markkanen this offseason. The 23-year-old is about to become a restricted free agent.
Markkanen’s development has stagnated somewhat in his fourth NBA season. He took a step back last year in the dysfunctional offense of former coach Jim Boylen. While Markkanen’s shooting percentages have improved greatly under Billy Donovan, he still has to compete for touches with Zach LaVine. Meanwhile, the acquisition of Nikola Vucevic and the development of Coby White have pushed Markkanen even further down the hierarchy.
Blakley notes that the Spurs have a need for a stretch big after the departure of LaMarcus Aldridge. The team has also developed big men such as Jakob Poeltl and Davis Bertans into viable starting-caliber players. The ceiling is obviously higher for Markkanen as a former top-seven pick. It also seems like a safe bet that he might not return to Chicago.