Lauri Markannen Seeking ‘Fresh Start’ Away From Bulls

Bulls forward Lauri Markkanen told French journalist Antti-Jussi Sipila that he would like a “fresh start” and to move on from Chicago, as relayed by Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.Lauri Markkanen

“We have offers from several different teams,” Markannen told Sipila. “I want a fresh start to my NBA career somewhere else.”

Markannen is a restricted free agent, giving the Bulls the right to match any offer from a rival team. He has been linked to the Hornets, but given that Charlotte is expected to acquire Warriors free agent forward Kelly Oubre Jr., perhaps its interest in Marfkannen has cooled.

Per Luke Adams of Hoops Rumors, the Hornets have about $14 million in available space under the salary cap, and could even up that a little by waiving a player on a nonguaranteed contract — such as Cody MartinCaleb Martin or Jalen McDaniels.

Markkanen, 24, is 7-foot-0 and averaged 13.6 points and 5.3 rebounds in 51 games last season. He also shot a career-high 48 percent from the floor.

The Spurs, Pistons and Thunder are others who have recently been linked to Markkanen, but each has made some moves since those rumors came to light.

“With cap room drying up across the league, there are few teams left that could realistically sign the 24-year-old outright to an offer sheet that exceeds the Bulls’ qualifying offer or the full mid-level exception ($9.5MM),” Adams wrote.

The Thunder and Pelicans could potentially clear the necessary cap space to make a run at Markkanen, Adams added. So based on the above, other than the Bulls, it sounds like OKC would be the only logical next destination.

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