Rumor: Lauri Markkanen to the Hornets

Chicago Bulls restricted free agent forward Lauri Markkanen has been linked to the Charlotte Hornets, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. Supposedly, the Hornets are interested in offering a three-year deal in the $60M range. 
However, as the Bulls have extended a qualifying offer back in late July, it's clear that they want to keep the four-year veteran from Finland. On top of that, the Bulls were unwilling to give up the Finnish player as part of the DeMar DeRozan sign-and-trade, as they gave up Thaddeus Young and Al-Farouq Aminu instead. And of course, the Bulls have the option to match any deal that has been offered to the restricted free agent. 
Markkanen put up 18.7 ppg and 9.0 rpg in his second year with Chicago, but has dropped his level since, as his averaged has gone down in both his third and fourth seasons. Still, at only twenty-four years of age, he did put up a 40.2 3P% last year and has been hampered by injury concerns. If Markkanen can stay healthy, and learn to work with the new talent that he has been surrounded with, he has a solid chance of replicating the numbers from his second season. 

A restricted free agent such as Markkanen can sign an offer sheet during the moratorium period (which is currently taking place), but the two-day matching period doesn’t begin until the moratorium ends, so we will see how this plays out over the next few days. 

Photo Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports