This Bulls-Timberwolves offseason trade gives Lauri Markkanen a fresh start

Last offseason, Lauri Markkanen was up for a contract extension with the Chicago Bulls, yet the two sides were never able to reach an agreement. Multiple reports said that they were millions apart on a potential deal, which could mean that Markkanen will look to maximize his value as a restricted free agent this NBA offseason. He will be a name to monitor in NBA rumors as a result.

The Bulls could probably afford losing Markkanen since they have Thaddeus Young and newly acquired All-Star Nikola Vucevic in their frontcourt, but no team ever likes to let their players walk without getting some kind of value in return.

READ MORE: NBA Trade Rumors: 3 steps to a perfect offseason for the Chicago Bulls

If Lauri Markkanen wishes to not return to Chicago in the offseason, they could look to execute a sign-and-trade to at least try and salvage some value from the young forward. With not much cap space to go out and sign players in free agency this upcoming offseason, the Minnesota Timberwolves will be looking for ways to increase the talent on their roster, which is why they could be a prime candidate to land Markkanen. 

With Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell and Anthony Edwards all healthy, this team has actually played pretty well down the stretch-run of the season, but they are in need of some frontcourt help. Jaden McDaniels is a young forward that is still growing, but outside of him, they do not possess much talent underneath. 

This is why Lauri Markkanen could be a target for the Minnesota Timberwolves and be a key, young talent that they need to finally flip the script and start winning games for once! Let’s take a look at a hypothetical offseason trade presented by Bleacher Report’s Greg Swartz that would send Lauri Markkanen to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for Ricky Rubio and some more compensation. 

Lauri Markkanen, Chicago Bulls, Celtics
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Chicago Bulls Receive: G Ricky Rubio, MIN 2022 2nd Round Pick, MIN 2023 2nd Round Pick

Minnesota Timberwolves Receive: F Lauri Markkanen (via sign-and-trade)

The only way this deal gets done is if Lauri Markkanen decides that he does not want to return to the Bulls, but that would mean that he would have the final say in where he would end up being traded to. As a restricted free agent, Markkanen will be pulling all the strings in terms of signing an offer sheet with any team he wishes, but the Bulls could still match any offer he agrees to. 

If he does not wish to return though, the Bulls could look to execute a sign-and-trade like the one listed above with the Timberwolves. In this deal, at least the Bulls would salvage some value in Ricky Rubio and two second-round picks for the young forward. 

With Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic being the two All-Star talents on this team now, the Bulls have the pieces in place to start winning games, but they will need to figure out their point guard situation rather quickly if they are to have any success moving forward. 

READ MORE: NBA Trade Rumors: 3 steps to a perfect offseason for the Chicago Bulls

Coby Whtie has been a really strong, young talent for them in the backcourt, but he may be a better off-the-ball guard than true floor general and ball-handler. Maybe they will go after Kyle Lowry or Lonzo Ball in free agency, but Ricky Rubio is more than capable of being a steady presence for them at the starting point guard position. 

This season, Rubio has started in 49 of the 65 games he has played in and has averaged 8.8 points, 3.2 rebounds, 6.4 assists and has shot 39.2% from the floor. He is not a score-first point guard, but Rubio is a terrific ball-handler and always seems to make the right pass to set his teammates up for success. 

He could very well end up being a great fit next to LaVine and White in Chicago’s backcourt, which is why this sign-and-trade could definitely be an option for the Bulls. Now, let’s dive into this trade from each team’s perspective and truly see if this trade makes sense for both the Chicago Bulls and the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Ricky Rubio, Minnesota Timberwolves, NBA Rumors, New York Knicks
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Does this trade make sense for the Chicago Bulls?

If the Bulls and Lauri Markkanen still cannot seem to work out a deal in the offseason to keep the young forward there long-term at the price he wants, then Chicago should be more than willing to execute a sign-and-trade with the restricted free agent. 

READ MORE: NBA Trade Rumors: 3 steps to a perfect offseason for the Chicago Bulls

Markkanen missed some time earlier in the year with the Bulls due to a shoulder injury and in his place, veetran forward Thaddeus Young stepped up and has been a great contributor for the Bulls all season long. Due to how well Young has played, Markkanen has been moved to a reserve role off-the-bench and is not viewed as a key contributor for this team anymore. 

As a result, moving him in the offseason via a sign-and-trade is a very real possibility and getting Ricky Rubio and two second-round picks in the process is not a bad move either. Rubio can be a key facilitator for this team and while he is not the best option to be the Bulls starting point guard, he is definitely someone who can hold his own on both ends of the court. 

There is also the possibility that the Bulls could either look to flip Rubio again after this trade is done or at next year’s trade deadline depending on how things are playing out. Regardless of what their plans would be, this trade gives the Bulls options instead of nothing if Markkanen was to just leave and sign elsewhere. 

Overall, this is not a bad move for the Chicago Bulls to make if Lauri Markkanen truly does not want to return to this organization. 

Lauri Markkanen, Bulls
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Does this trade make sense for the Minnesota Timberwolves?

The Timberwolves need to find ways to add more talent in the offseason and with virtually no cap space to play around with in free agency, their only chance of adding another high-level talent would be to do so through a trade. 

Right now, the T-Wolves roster is actually not that bad, as their core of Russell, Edwards, Beasley, McDaniels and Towns have played really well together, but injuries have hindered this team’s chances of being special this year. 

At full strength, the Timberwolves have a chance to start winning games and with another young, high-level talent in Lauri Markkanen, they could increase their chances to win even more! They need a key talent in their frontcourt to pair with Towns and McDaniels and Lauri Markkanen would be an excellent fit given his ability to stretch the court. 

In 48 games with the Bulls this year, Markkanen has averaged 13.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and has shot 38.8% from three-point range, which is exactly the kind of production the Timberwolves need from a power-forward. 

READ MORE: NBA Trade Rumors: 3 steps to a perfect offseason for the Chicago Bulls

The Timberwolves have been known to run a ton of pick-and-roll sets this year and Markkanen has made a name for himself thriving in these sets by stepping out on the perimeter to knock down a three-point jumper after setting a screen. Getting a key talent who is about to be 24-years-old would be a great move for the Minnesota Timberwolves to make.

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