Chicago Bulls: Which player should be traded first at the 2020 deadline?

(Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images) /

4. Lauri Markkanen, Power Forward

Although the Chicago Bulls are getting better play out of the 22-year-old seven-footer and power forward Lauri Markkanen in about the last dozen games, he might still be on the trade block if he continues his mediocre production. Markkanen didn’t take the steps forward that head coach Jim Boylen and co. had to be looking for out of him in his third year in the NBA.

So far this season, Markkanen is averaging 14.7 points per game, 6.8 rebounds, and 1.7 assists, while shooting 41.1 percent from the field and 33.2 percent from beyond the arc. The shooting numbers are getting slightly better of late for Markkanen, but his true shooting percentage is still at the lowest point of his career to date (54.6 percent).

However, Markkanen would still bring a lot of value to the table in potential trade talks. He’s a former top 10 overall draft pick that proved he can be a real offensive weapon from the four or five spot, when he’s on.

But that’s the problem with Markkanen as it pertains to the Bulls. A team that really needs him to show up on offense, and at least not be a net negative on defense, is having a hard time finding answers with Markkanen’s inconsistency this season.

A career best defensive rating of 106 is a good sign, but pretty much all of his other significant stats have regressed compared to last season.

If the Bulls can continue to at least keep Markkanen’s production trending in the right direction, then they might not be fulling selling on him while his stock is low. It is clear, though, now that the Bulls likely don’t have a franchise cornerstone in Markkanen.