Chicago Bulls, Phoenix Suns should open up Lauri Markkanen trade talk

(Photo by Michelle Farsi/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Michelle Farsi/NBAE via Getty Images) /

How would it work out if the Chicago Bulls tried to pull off a Lauri Markkanen trade deal with the Phoenix Suns before draft night?

Chicago Bulls forward Lauri Markkanen could make for a valuable trade chip, if his name comes up in trade talks with the Phoenix Suns prior to the 2019 NBA Draft. Here’s a look at how the Bulls can acquire the top two projected prospects Zion Williamson and Ja Morant.

It is about that time of year when front office staff, coaches and players are tasked with evaluating their progress to determine if they are headed in the right direction and where to go next.

For the Chicago Bulls, it’s unclear what they have in the young core comprised of Lauri Markkanen, Zach LaVine, Otto Porter Jr., Wendell Carter Jr., Denzel Valentine, Chandler Hutchison and Kris Dunn. As such, it’s not too early to begin bating other teams for the chance to land both Zion Williamson and Ja Morant in the 2019 NBA Draft.

Among the Bulls stars with most intriguing trade value is Markkanen. Markkanen finished his second year showing flashes of what made him a lottery pick. It leaves some to wonder what if they could re-do the 2017 draft if only the league knew what they do now. As a seven-footer, Markkanen likely could’ve commanded positioning among the top three picks.

Still, much of the league has yet to recognize what a unicorn they have with the likes of Markkanen. Markkanen gets snubbed at times when people refer to the emerging talent of the 2017 draft class and fail to mention his name.

Why, you ask?

In order for Markkanen to get to the next level, he needs to develop more of a post presence. When healthy, the second-year forward has shown flashes of transcendent talent. Markkanen has the ability to handle the ball and stretch the floor in ways that clearly separate him from athletes with similar skill sets.

However, the Chicago Bulls need to plug in the type of athletes who can impact the game more instantaneously in transcendental ways. With the likes of Williamson and Morant, the Bulls can make that a reality.

This is not a knock against Markkanen and what he could potentially do in the league. It’s just business. The way Markkanen has progressed from one year to the next is noteworthy, but the Bulls need to act quickly if they want to speed up the timeline of its rebuild and return to relevancy in the league. The 2019 draft presents an interesting complex for the Bulls, should they entertain trade talks with the Phoenix Suns.

The Suns, like the Bulls, are in the midst of a rebuild. With the way the Western Conference is stacked year after year, the Suns and its front office are hungry to return to relevancy in the league. One way to speed of the timeline for both franchises is to explore a Markkanen trade.

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The idea, although a bit of a gamble, is to package a deal that allows the Bulls to improve their odds of drafting both Williamson and Morant with the top two picks. With the Bulls and the Suns both projected to have high draft lottery positioning, the prospect of dealing Markkanen is something to ponder.