Basketball News: Multiple media sites reported on Friday that the Cleveland Cavaliers are acquiring restricted free agency forward Lauri Markkanen from the Chicago Bulls in a three-team transaction that also includes the Portland Trail Blazers.
In a sign-and-trade agreement with the Bulls, Markkanen will join the Cavaliers on a four-year, $67 million deal, according to ESPN.
The Trail Blazers will send Chicago high-flying forward Derrick Jones Jr. and a lottery-protected 2022 first-round selection. If not communicated before 2028, the pick is protected 1-14 and becomes Portland’s second-round pick in 2028.
According to rumours, the Bulls will also receive a 2023 second-round selection from the Cavaliers through the Denver Nuggets.
To complete the deal, Portland will acquire Cleveland forward Larry Nance Jr.
In 51 games (26 starts) last season, Markkanen, a 24-year-old stretch power forward or a centre from Finland, averaged 13.6 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 0.9 assists.
Since being picked with the seventh overall choice in the 2017 NBA Draft, he has averaged 15.6 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 1.2 assists in 221 career games (195 starts).
Markkanen had high aspirations in Chicago, but with the Bulls’ busy off-season, which included signing Lonzo Ball, DeMar DeRozan (both in sign-and-trades), and Alex Caruso, in addition to existing All-Stars Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic, there was just not enough cap space to re-sign him.
In his debut season with the Trail Blazers in 2020-21, Jones, who is also 24, averaged 6.8 points and 3.5 rebounds in 58 games (43 starts). Over the course of his career, he averaged those numbers in 229 games (89 starts) with the Phoenix Suns, Miami Heat, and Portland Trail Blazers.
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