The Bulls and Lauri Markkanen have both expressed interest in working out a rookie scale extension for the fourth-year forward prior to Monday’s deadline, and conversations between the two sides are ongoing, says Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times.
Bulls head coach Billy Donovan said he’ll leave those negotiations to executive VP of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas and Markkanen’s agent, but referred to the former lottery pick as an “important piece to our team.” For his part, Markkanen confirmed that there have been contract discussions, but couldn’t offer any additional updates, telling reporters, “We’ll see what happens.”
With or without an extension in place for Markkanen, the Bulls project to have a significant chunk of cap room available in 2021, writes K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. Now that a number of potential top 2021 free agents have signed extensions and will be unavailable, the Bulls’ new front office regime may have to get creative when it comes to using that cap room, Johnson observes.
Here’s more from around the Central:
- Michael Scotto of HoopsHype spoke to eight executives from around the NBA to get their reactions on Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s super-max extension with the Bucks, while Eric Nehm of The Athletic relays that head coach Mike Budenholzer learned of the agreement from his sons while he was driving. “It was a don’t-run-the-red-light moment and kill yourself (moment),” Budenholzer said with a laugh. “In the midst of the excitement, I was able to honor the red light and stop and do a little screaming and yelling with my boys.”
- In his review of the Pacers‘ offseason and preview of their coming year, John Hollinger of The Athletic notes that there are still two big lingering questions hanging over the franchise: Whether Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner can thrive alongside one another, and whether it makes sense to trade Victor Oladipo before he reaches free agency.
- Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said he received glowing reviews on JaVale McGee from Warriors assistant Mike Brown and Lakers head coach Frank Vogel, as Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com details. McGee told reporters on Thursday that he was surprised to be traded, but is looking forward to being “a great example of a hard-working vet” for his new team.