Report: Dallas Mavericks Interested In Lauri Markkanen, "Would Love To Get Him"

While many of the trades and signings occurred early on in free agency, there are still ample names on the market. Bulls forward Lauri Markkanen is a player rumored to be on the move and the Mavericks appear to be his strongest suitor. According to NBA reporter Marc Stein, Dallas is "definitely interested" in Markkanen and "they would love to get him."

Stein also highlights how the Bulls have all the leverage in any deal that includes Markkanen, be it with the Mavericks or another franchise. This is due to no team having the cap room to absorb the 24-year-old's ~$15 million per year outright, therefore a sign and trade would have to transpire. Moreover, Chicago doesn't have to trade Markkanen, since they can merely retain him for their qualifying offer of $9 million.

Although Markkanen is a tantalizing young prospect, his tenure with the Bulls has been relatively underwhelming. The former All-Rookie has struggled with injuries since entering the league in 2017 and has been unable to find a consistent role in the team's offense. To his credit, however, he averages 15.6 points and 7.1 rebounds for his career, despite playing for a beleaguered organization with a rotating door of coaches and seldom playmakers. 

Other notable teams interested in Markkanen include the Celtics, Pelicans and Timberwolves, per Bleacher Report's Jake Fischer. Fischer adds that the Bulls are asking for a first-round pick to "facilitate the transaction," as well as a "third trade partner to take on the outgoing salary needed to create space for Markkanen's contract."
Dallas, New Orleans, Boston, and Minnesota have all shown interest in signing Markkanen to deals worth around $15 million in average annual value, sources said, but the Bulls are seeking a first-round pick in exchange for helping facilitate the transaction. Additionally, Chicago brass are requiring Markkanen's new team to find a third trade partner to take on the outgoing salary needed to create space for Markkanen's contract, Fischer explained.
Earlier this month, the Finland native told Finnish journalists that "I want a fresh start to my NBA career somewhere else." 

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