Celtics

Report: Lauri Markkanen on trade block; should C's have interest?

Celtics

Might the Boston Celtics' quest for "shooting with size" lead Danny Ainge to call up the Chicago Bulls?

As rumors swirl about the Celtics' interest in Orlando Magic veterans Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier and Atlanta Hawks teammates John Collins and Bogdan Bogdanovic, The Athletic's Shams Charania reports there's a new name on the trade block: Bulls forward Lauri Markkanen.

Several teams have "expressed interest" in Markkanen ahead of Thursday's NBA trade deadline, and Chicago "is listening to potential suitors," Charania reported Tuesday.

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The No. 7 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, Markkanen is a 7-footer with range who's averaging 17.7 points per game this season while shooting a career-high 48.3% from the floor and 39.6% from 3-point land.

Injuries have kept Markkanen from reaching his full potential -- he's missed 65 games over the last two-plus seasons -- but the 23-year-old has plenty of upside if he can stay on the floor.

 

Markkanen would be an intriguing target for the Celtics as a floor-spacing big man who can open driving lanes for All-Stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. He's also making just $6.7 million on the final year of his rookie contract and easily would fit under Boston's traded player exception while allowing the team to make additional moves with its $28.5 million allotment.

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The Bulls should command a hefty return for Markkanen, however. He'll also hit restricted free agency this offseason, which means teams can sign him to an offer sheet that the Celtics would have to match to keep him in Boston.

Whether the C's pursue a trade for "The Finnisher" likely depends on Chicago's asking price. But he's an intriguing name to watch as Thursday's deadline nears.