It seems that Lauri Markkanen isn’t happy with the overall situation in his Chicago Bulls, and the Finnish power forward might leave the Windy City sooner than anyone could have predicted.
The media from Chicago is suggesting that the former No.7 pick at the 2017 NBA Draft wants to see changes at the top of the organization; otherwise, his presence among the Bulls won’t be possible anymore.
“Make no mistake about it, third-year big man Lauri Markkanen was one unhappy camper before the coronavirus put the NBA on hiatus. Unhappy enough that if the direction of the organization was going to stay unchanged, he’d rather be elsewhere,” stated in Chicago Sun Times yesterday.
Make no mistake about it, third-year big man Lauri Markkanen was one unhappy camper before the coronavirus put the NBA on hiatus. Unhappy enough that if the direction of the organization was going to stay unchanged, he’d rather be elsewhere. https://t.co/kzSMI8djBP
— Sun-Times Sports (@suntimes_sports) April 4, 2020
It appears that Markkanen has some problems with the General Manager Gar Forman and the rest of the executives. Also, the forward isn’t very thrilled with Jim Boylen and his offensive system. He didn’t hide the frustration and was pretty open when talking to the media on several occasions.
After having an excellent rookie and even better sophomore season, his numbers severely deteriorated in this campaign. He scored 15.2 points, had 7.5 boards in 68 games in his first season. Last year, Markkanen played 52 games, averaging 18.7 points with 9 boards in 32.3 points, and many believed that this should be the season when he explodes and establishes himself as one of the future superstars of the league. However, things went in a different direction.
In 50 matches, the Fin dropped 14.7 points, 6.3 boards, becoming more of a spot-up shooter from the perimeter, and without too much freedom in the offense. Many blame Boylen for this. In general, the Bulls’ head coach is not a very popular figure in Windy City.
The team isn’t improving all, and it is still far away from the playoff zone. In the meantime, the Bulls president Michael Reinsdorf is looking to refresh the organization and is ready to hire the new vice president of the basketball operations. Among others, Nuggets’ GM Arturas Karnisovas and Toronto’s GM Bobby Webster are two of the top targets for Reinsdorf. Pacers’ GM Chad Buchanan decided to stay in Indianapolis and remove himself from all negotiations with the Bulls’ president.
This could be of vital importance for Markkanen’s future in Chicago. If there is a change, the 22-year old might stay and do the last year of his rookie contract before exploring his options.
The Bulls formed a young and talented team. Still, they are far away from being competitive when talking about the playoff battle. Zach LaVine, Coby White, Wendell Carter, along with Markkanen, should form the core which would carry this franchise throughout the next several years.
However, if he decides to leave, that would be an enormous hit for the six-time champions. In the moment of the NBA season suspension, Chicago had a 22-43 record and was 11th in the East. The eighth-placed Orlando Magic were 30-35, meaning that the Bulls had only theoretical chances of reaching the postseason.
Apart from this, they were on a cold-streak winning just three games in the previous 10, losing the pace, and slowly sinking towards the bottom of the conference. The last-placed Cleveland Cavaliers are just three games behind them, 19-46.
The list of potential destinations for Markkanen would be pretty long, and there isn’t a team in the league who wouldn’t want to have this guy. It is up to Chicago to react.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.