CHICAGO – There was a time in which he was viewed to be a major part of the Bulls’ future building plans. But over time, that wasn’t the case, and now Lauri Markkanen will continue his NBA career elsewhere starting this fall.
Per multiple reports on Friday morning, including Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN and Shams Charania of Stadium, the Bulls are sending the forward to the Cavaliers as part of a three-team deal with the Trail Blazers. Markkanen will then sign a four-year, $67 million deal with Cleveland.
In exchange, the Bulls will get forward Derrick Jones Jr. along with a protected first round pick from Portland and a protected 2023 second round selection. Larry Nance Junior will go from Cleveland to the Trail Blazers in the trade.
The teams have yet to confirm the move.
Drafted seventh overall by the Bulls in the 2017 NBA Draft in a selection acquired from the Timberwolves in the Jimmy Butler trade, Markkanen made the NBA’s All-Rookie Team his first season, averaging 15.2 points and 7.5 rebounds per game.
But the next three years were marred by injuries and inconsistent play, as he never played more than 52 games in a season. In 2020-2021, he started a career-low 26 games under new head coach Billy Donovan after starting at least 50 in his first three seasons.
Markkannen finishes his career with a 15.6 point, 7.1 rebounds per game average.
Jones comes to the Bulls after completing his fifth NBA season in Portland after previous stops in Phoenix and Miami. An undrafted free agent in 2016, he started a career-high 43 games for the Trail Blazers this past season, averaging 6.8 points and 3.5 rebounds per game.