NBA free agency has calmed down now that plenty of teams have used up the majority of their money, but the Chicago Bulls still have one move left to make.
The only notable transaction in Chicago that will happen going forward is if and when forward Lauri Markkanen is traded. For a few weeks now, Markkanen’s desire to be traded has been public.
After telling a Finnish news outlet that he would like a fresh start, talks have seemed to ramp up about a potential Markkanen deal. The only issue is, it would have to be via sign-and-trade because there’s not many teams out there that could sign him outright.
One of the teams that remains interested in Markkanen is the Dallas Mavericks. Markkanen would become one of the top offensive options for All Star point guard Luka Doncic on a team that looks to be on the rise.
The Chicago Bulls may end up executing a player-for-player deal involving Lauri Markkanen and the Mavs.
According to a recent report out of The Athletic, Markkanen has about a “30 to 40 percent chance” to end up in Dallas. But, the report also mentions a new wrinkle.
The Bulls now have interest in Mavericks power forward Maxi Kleber. The 6-foot-10 Kleber would give the Bulls plenty of depth in their front court, as well as a big man who shot 41 percent from downtown last year.
Kleber has two years left on his original deal with the Mavericks, in which he will be paid roughly $9 million annually — which isn’t too bad for a guy who can score at his size. Kleber would likely replace Markkanen and Thaddeus Young as one of the primary big men off the bench.
If the Bulls could execute some kind of swap to get Kleber back in return for Markkanen, it wouldn’t necessarily be the best case scenario. Ideally, the Bulls would get a future first-round pick for Markkanen.
Depending upon whether the Mavericks can also send a future first rounder to the Bulls, Chicago could make out pretty well in this deal. A third team may need to get involved to help with salary concerns, as has been rumored for a few weeks now.
Regardless, finally moving past the Markkanen saga would be a positive. The Bulls have a lot to look forward to with newcomers Lonzo Ball and DeMar DeRozan, and getting past this small bump in the road with Markkanen wanting out will allow the team to fully move forward.