Chicago Bulls: Phil Jackson thought Lauri Markkanen “more durable” than Porzingis

(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

The former New York Knicks executive Phil Jackson had some interesting things to say about Chicago Bulls Lauri Makkanen and Kristaps Porzingis recently.

The 2017 NBA Draft brought with it some interesting ideas and possible events that could’ve happened that would re-shape how the league looks today. One of those possible events that could’ve changed the way the NBA looks now is a trade deal the New York Knicks tried to put together to ship big man Kristaps Porzingis out to either the Boston Celtics or Phoenix Suns. Little did we know in the Windy City that this trade would have directly impacted the Chicago Bulls.

According to the New York Post, the Celtics put together a large trade deal for Porzingis and the Suns were ready to including star guard Devin Booker in the framework. Who knows who the Celtics could’ve included in this deal for Porzingis. Yet, with any deal made with the Knicks at that time the former president of the organization Phil Jackson would be directly involved.

With that in mind, if Jackson was looking to send Porzingis out of the Big Apple it would alter the course of events in the 2017 NBA Draft. Jackson reportedly liked the idea of getting potent big man Lauri Markkanen in that draft to replace Porzingis at the four. He thought Markkanen was a “more durable” form of what the Knicks had in Porzingis.

It’s ironic how this storyline turned out now with Porzingis tearing his ACL this past year before being traded to the Dallas Mavericks. Jackson might’ve been right on some level that Markkanen has a ceiling just as high as Porzingis, but his health held up better so far (fingers crossed for the future too).

There’s no questioning the talent level and high ceiling that both Porzingis and Markkanen bring for the Mavericks and Chicago Bulls with the style of play in today’s NBA. Porzingis will also now get to play with fellow international star forward Luka Doncic with the Mavs.

An ideal plan for the Knicks in these trade talks a few years back involving Porzingis would be to get a combination like Markkanen and Booker in the mix for the future. That’s a very solid combination that likely would work out well.

The only issue is that the Chicago Bulls were able to land Markkanen in the 2017 NBA Draft instead of the Knicks. Markkanen was originally selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves and then sent to the Windy City. He was taken one spot before the Knicks selected French point guard Frank Ntilikina who still has yet to work out in the Big Apple.

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It’s weird to think what could’ve happened if the Knicks and Jackson managed to get their hands on Markkanen in the 2017 NBA Draft. Porzingis wasn’t able to be dealt during that summer thanks to a weird decline in trade value. All in all, it seemed like this saga worked out well for the Chicago Bulls amid other rumors with Markkanen and Porzingis.