The Chicago Bulls finally ended the winding saga of Lauri Markkanen's restricted free agency by agreeing to a sign-and-trade proposal that will send the fourth-year forward to the Cavaliers, two sources confirmed.
Coming to the Bulls from the Trail Blazers is former slam dunk champion Derrick Jones Jr., along with a 2022 lottery-protected first-round pick from Portland and a 2023 second-round pick from Cleveland. Headed to the Trail Blazers is forward Larry Nance Jr.
Markkanen will sign a four-year, roughly $67 million deal and leave the Bulls, who once considered him a cornerstone franchise piece after acquiring him in the Jimmy Butler trade that plunged the franchise into a full rebuild. Markkanen averaged 15.6 points and 7.1 rebounds in 221 games, including 195 starts.
According to two sources, the talks originally centered on Markkanen landing with the Trail Blazers in exchange for Jones Jr. and the lottery-protected first-round pick. When the Bulls sought an extra second-round pick, the talks expanded to include the Cavaliers.
The Bulls acquired two draft picks at a time that they badly need draft capital. They traded a combined three first-round picks to acquire Nikola Vucevic and DeMar DeRozan. They also could be docked draft capital should a league investigation surrounding their acquisition of Lonzo Ball produce a guilty verdict regarding tampering.
Jones, who played one season with the Trail Blazers, has averaged 6.8 points in 229 NBA games. The 6-foot-5-inch small forward is known for his athleticism and long wingspan and has potential for his defensive play. He's also on an expiring $9.7 million deal.
Coby White and Zach LaVine are the only remaining Bulls on the roster that Artūras Karnišovas inherited upon his April 2020 hiring.