Chicago Bulls: Pros and cons of keeping Lauri Markkanen

Lauri Markkanen, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Lauri Markkanen, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
(Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /


The cons of keeping Markkanen around are going to be a bit more tricky for Karnisovas to come up with. It’s too early to tell how a lot of the pieces of Markkanen’s game will develop given the spotty status of the Bulls rebuild in the last two seasons.

Con #1: Get him out before it’s too late

This is a reason that could go either way for Markkanen and the Bulls. If the stock is low on the trade block for Markkanen, then it just wouldn’t be the right time for the front office to dish him out. Unless there’s another team willing to offer a good return for what Markkanen brings to the table this offseason, there’s little to no reason to trade him before the start of next season.

On the other hand, the Bulls shouldn’t keep Markkanen around until they can actually get nothing for him and he possibly hits the free agency market next offseason. If he has a solid start to the 2020-21 regular season, it might be worth dishing him out to another team that wants to control his offer sheet. Or the Bulls could find a suitor that can help put their cap sheet in a more advantageous spot ahead of the coveted 2021 free agent class.

Con #2: Injury history

There has yet to be a single season where Markkanen remained even somewhat healthy. He had his healthiest season yet this year, and still hit the COVID-19 pandemic-induced hiatus dealing with a pelvic injury.

Con #3: Not showing the signs of progress when he needed to most

At some point, the Bulls are going to need to realize that Markkanen’s development just isn’t getting to the spot where they were hoping it would be by his third year in the NBA. The current season was supposed to be where Markkanen would blossom, and he’s producing at his lowest level in his career to date (career lows in player efficiency rating, box plus/minus rating, and real plus/minus rating).