Chicago Bulls Rumors: Charlotte Hornets potential suitor for Lauri Markkanen

Chicago Bulls (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Chicago Bulls (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Bulls might lose out on their 7-footer, Lauri Markkanen. According to Shams Charania, the Charlotte Hornets are prepared to make him an offer sheet. Restricted free agents can start signing offer sheets on Friday.

The Bulls can match the offer sheet since Markkanen is a restricted free agent. The question is whether or not the Bulls will decide to match whatever offer the Hornets make Markkanen.

Markkanen has already stated he would not be interested in playing under the qualifying offer the Bulls gave him to start free agency. Most likely, the Bulls wouldn’t be interested either. Markkanen would make around $9 million next year, and the Bulls would take a $20 million cap hit on the deal.

Based on the figures presented by Spotrac, the Hornets have over $17 million in practical cap space left. This means they can offer Markkanen the full value of his desired contract.

The Hornets have a lot of young talent in their frontcourt. P.J Washington, Vernon Carey, Kai Jones, Nick Richards, and Jalen McDaniels are all younger than Markkanen.

Markkanen is virtually a better shooter than all of these players and has more versatility with his outside game. He would make a great fit playing alongside one of the best young facilitators in the game — LaMelo Ball.

The Bulls have not shown much interest in keeping Markkanen. In fact, they have been tied into rumors of trying to sign-and-trade him to another team. One team, they nearly signed and traded him to was the Spurs for DeMar DeRozan. But, the Bulls got away with just having to give up Thaddeus Young and Al Farouq-Aminu.

Nevertheless, the Bulls will be looking to get value for the young Finnish center. Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley’s work has been uncanny this offseason. They have pulled off two sign-and-trade deals, which is unheard of for one team in a single offseason.

Seeing as they have been dominating the market in sign-and-trade deals, signing and trading for Lonzo Ball, DeRozan, and a trade exception for Daniel Theis, it would be optimal for them to try their hand with dealing Markkanen.

However, it wouldn’t be unheard of the Hornets to decline to do so to save them from having to give up any assets for Markkanen. This way, they can just sign Markkanen, knowing the Bulls will decline to match any offer they release anyways and be on their way with a new starting power forward.

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