4:58pm: There will be no extension agreement today for the Bulls and Markkanen, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). He’ll become a restricted free agent in 2021.
10:20am: Although the Bulls and Lauri Markkanen have both publicly expressed a desire to work out a contract extension for the fourth-year forward, it appears unlikely that the two sides will agree to a deal by Monday’s deadline barring a “dramatic change,” says K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago.
Michael Scotto of HoopsHype first reported on Saturday that the Bulls and Markkanen were far apart in extension negotiations. According to Johnson, conversations about a potential deal continued on Sunday, but “sputtered on life support.” The gap between the two sides remains significant, sources tell NBC Sports Chicago.
Markkanen is coming off a season in which he averaged 14.7 PPG and 6.3 RPG on .425/.344/.824 shooting in 50 games (29.8 MPG). While those numbers aren’t bad, he put up much better stats in an injury-shortened 2018/19 campaign (18.7 PPG, 9.0 RPG, .430/.361/.872 shooting).
The promise that Markkanen showed in his first two NBA seasons and the step back he took in ’19/20 are at odds when it comes to negotiating his value for the next three or four seasons. Markkanen’s reps, making a case for a lucrative deal, will likely point to those ’18/19 stats and argue that the 23-year-old is poised for a bounce-back season under new head coach Billy Donovan. The Bulls, meanwhile, will push for a team-friendly rate following Markkanen’s down year.
According to Johnson, there was a sense that Markkanen might be willing to take a modest “hometown” discount to gain some long-term security and ensure his family’s happiness in Chicago. However, if that’s the case, it sounds like the sides may not agree on what exactly that hometown discount looks like.
If Markkanen doesn’t sign a rookie scale extension by today’s deadline, he’ll be on track to reach restricted free agency in 2021.