Markkanen will head to the Cavaliers. In return, via Shams Charania, the Bulls will receive Derrick Jones Jr. from the Portland Trail Blazers, Portland’s 2022 lottery-protected first-round pick, and an additional future second-round draft pick.
Markkaken is signing a four-year $67 million deal with the Cavaliers, which will earn him roughly $16.75 million per year over that span. He will join a crew with different talents, such as dominant young center Jarrett Allen and a young backcourt of Darius Garland and Collin Sexton.
The Bulls crossed off the final roster move they needed to make before the start of the season — finding a new home for Markkanen.
Bulls: Derrick Jones Jr., Portland protected first-rounder, Denver protected 2023 second-rounder
Cavaliers: Lauri Markkanen
Trail Blazers: Larry Nance Jr. https://t.co/slpHsB08cm
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 27, 2021
Letting go of Markkanen was the best move for the team.
In quick retrospect, letting Markkanen find a new home was the best move for the Bulls. Markkanen lacks many dimensions of his game, such as defense, facilitating, and offensive aggressiveness.
While Markkanen has a lot of upside as a player, Vice President Arturas Karnisovas and general manager Marc Eversley are expediting the speed at which the Bulls are looking to contend for a title.
After the additions of Lonzo Ball, DeMar DeRozan, Alex Caruso, and Nikola Vucevic in the past six months, they transformed the Bulls from one of the younger and underdeveloped teams in the league to a possible top-five seed in the Eastern Conference.
This move shows a lot of intelligence from the Bulls front office.
Karnisovas and Eversley have been working hard to reform the Bulls roster for next season. As I mentioned before, the Bulls brought in plenty of talent this offseason.
On the flip side of things, the Bulls received a lot of this talent at the expense of players already on the roster, which is a good thing.
Markkanen’s sign-and-trade now marks the fourth sign-and-trade that the front office has completed this offseason. Ball, DeRozan, Theis, and now Markkanen were all sign-and-trade deals made this offseason.
That is a huge accomplishment for the Bulls front office. It shows a level of dominance behind the scenes of NBA management and it saves the Bulls a lot of cap space haywire.
Chicago is now $6.4M below the luxury tax with 13 guaranteed contracts.
$11.8M below the hard cap
Derrick Jones Jr. is on an expiring $9.7M contract.
— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) August 27, 2021
Let’s talk about the return in specifics.
Derrick Jones Jr. has shown excellent flashes as a versatile player in the NBA. He can score, rebound, defend, and play full-court offense.
He spent his last season in Portland before spending the last three before then in Miami, then Phoenix. This may come as a surprise, but the five-year NBA veteran is just 24-years old.
Last season, he averaged 6.8 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game in 22.7 minutes per game. Nothing to awe at, but he recorded a positive net rating on the floor, and in his past has kept his defensive rating under 110, an excellent indicator of defensive ability.
As far as the draft selections, the Bulls will take anything they can get.
The team has sacrificed a lot of draft capital to get the all-stars here. Next year, the Bulls will have their own first-round pick plus the Trail Blazers if it doesn’t land in the lottery.
The Bulls will also have a future second-round pick, which is always helpful since Karnisovas is a skilled draft master in the second round. He drafted Nikola Jokic, Marko Simonovic, and Ayo Dosunmu all in the second round.
All-in-all, the front office made another fantastic deal in getting Markkanen off the books. You may not agree with the personnel, but as a package, anything in return is better than nothing.
Remember, Markkanen was a free agent. The Bulls didn’t have to get anything in return for him. Something is always better than nothing.