Chicago Bulls: 3 reasons to trade Lauri Markkanen this offseason

Lauri Markkanen, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
Lauri Markkanen, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
(Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images) /

1. Lack of growth when it mattered most

Second and third seasons in the NBA are really when players with star potential like Markkanen are supposed to make that true leap to prominence. We have seen nothing of the sort for him since the outset of last season. At least nothing consistent over a longer span of games. The hottest stretch Markkanen caught was that often discussed February run in 2018-19.

While Markkanen did recover from an extremely slow start to this season in the last two or three months (when he wasn’t dealing with injury problems), his performances were still rocky. He was a net negative (-7.8) when he was on the floor during the month of January. Markkanen didn’t play at all in February and didn’t have a complete body of work in March.

Through 50 games played this season prior to the hiatus, Markkanen was averaging four less points per game, 2.7 less rebounds, and shooting worse from the field and three-point range compared to last year. His numbers were picking up of late, and his overall field goal percentage isn’t completely down the drain, but he’s not showing the progress he needed to this season.

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If the Bulls do decide to keep Markkanen next season, he’ll be in the final year of his rookie contract and due for an extension soon. His trade value will likely have been lessened compared to what it will be this coming offseason and they would have to pay him more money to keep him around heading into the 2021-22 season.