Markannen is seeking a deal in the range of $15 million per year, Fischer reported a source as saying.
Markkanen is a restricted free agent, meaning the Bulls could simply match any offer and keep him. But he recently 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.
“We have offers from several different teams,” Markannen told Sipila. “I want a fresh start to my NBA career somewhere else.”
He has also been linked to the Hornets, Spurs and Thunder. Still, a return to Chicago might make the most sense financially.
“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),” wrote Luke Adams of Hoops Rumors.
Plus, the Bulls could be seeking a first-round pick in any sort sign-and-trade arragement, Fischer confirmed, perhaps giving rival teams pause.
“Chicago is playing this masterfully from no other perspective than a contract management standpoint,” a team capologist told Fischer. “It won’t do any favors relationship-wise, but they’re bleeding his market based on their tax situation, and nobody else can offer him any kind of money without them.”
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.