The NBA’s investigation of the Bulls for possible tampering involving Lonzo Ball could complicate efforts to find a new team for Lauri Markkanen, writes K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. Because Markkanen is a restricted free agent, he will need cooperation from Chicago to go elsewhere, either by not matching his offer or working out a sign-and-trade, but Johnson doesn’t believe the league will permit sign-and-trade negotiations until the probe of the early agreement with Ball is wrapped up.
The Pelicans and Mavericks both have large trade exceptions, so they remain potential destinations for Markkanen, Johnson adds. The Bulls are asking for a first-round pick in any sign-and-trade deal, and they’re not willing to take on a large, lengthy contract in return. Another possibility is for Markkanen to accept his one-year, $9MM qualifying offer and remain in Chicago, but he has indicated that he prefers to play somewhere else next season.
There’s more from the Central Division:
- The Pistons will face a roster crunch if they keep restricted free agent Hamidou Diallo, observes James L. Edwards III of The Athletic. Detroit already has 15 guaranteed contracts for the upcoming season, and while Diallo is searching for a better deal than his $2.1MM qualifying offer, he will likely sign it if he can’t get more money elsewhere. Edwards expects Josh Jackson, Jahlil Okafor or Sekou Doumbouya to be traded or released if Diallo stays in Detroit.
- Jordan Brink and Austin Dufault have been promoted to player development coaches with the Pistons, Edwards tweets. Brink has been with the team since 2016 and is the only remaining member of Stan Van Gundy’s staff. Dufault played collegiately at Colorado and spent six seasons as a player in Europe.
- The Cavaliers were satisfied with their Summer League showing, which included the first on-court experience for No. 3 pick Evan Mobley, per Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. In three games, Mobley showed off the skills that made him one of the top prospects in the draft, but also displayed areas where he needs work, as he shot just 1 of 8 from three-point range and didn’t have reliable moves in the post. Summer League also provided a showcase for Lamar Stevens, Fedor adds, who could end up fighting for the final roster spot with Mfiondu Kabengele and Damyean Dotson if the team makes more roster additions.