Lauri Markkanen is still searching for a landing spot this offseason after making it clear he has no desire to remain in Chicago. One-off bullet points in larger free agency news pieces and months old comments by Markkanen himself made it seem like the possibility that he’d end up in Dallas was at least the wisp of an idea floating around in the ether, if not a fully formed rumor.
Now, though, Marc Stein has given that gossip its strongest leg to stand on yet, tweeting out on Tuesday that Dallas and New Orleans are the two teams still engaged with Chicago in an attempt to land the big shooter, hoping to rehab his play after injuries, coaching changes, and lack of success in Chicago have the Finn looking for a fresh start.
Sign-and-trade via TPE is Dallas' most feasible path to a deal since Chicago would not have to take back any salary. But Markkanen is seeking a richer deal than the Mavs can offer that way and can make $9M just by playing next season out as a Bull and becoming an unrestricted FA. https://t.co/zjHTfpSEW7— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) August 10, 2021
Landing Markkanen on a reasonable multi-year deal in Dallas has all the makings of a coup. Our own Lauren Gunn laid out the on the court reasons a Lauri Markkanen addition would make sense for Dallas, but allow me to propose perhaps an even better reason fans should be hoping for a signing: trade ammo.
With Dallas still out another first round draft pick owed to the Knicks to complete the Porzingis/Hardaway jr trade, they’ve found themselves figuratively handcuffed when it comes to upgrading the roster around Doncic.
Years ago, Dallas took chances on project players with potential like Al-Farouq Aminu and Seth Curry (the first time he was in Dallas) on single year deals. When those players spent a year playing in Dallas and increasing their player value, Dallas would then see them promptly leave the following free agency for multi-year deals. It’s the reason I wasn’t upset about a contract like the one the team gave to Trey Burke. And if there’s any player in the league who can inflate the value of a knock down shooter, it’s Luka Doncic. Markkanen is right in wanting to find his way to Dallas if his primary interest is to get his career back on track.
Dallas needs to take as many chances as they can to get players on reasonable contracts. If they play well, great - they’re a positive asset to the team that Dallas can use in its ongoing team building. If they play so well Dallas wants to keep them around on a team friendly contract, even better.
Bottom line, until Dallas is able to start wheeling and dealing with draft picks again, Lauri Markkanen is the exact kind of low risk, high reward rehab project the team should be embracing.