According to a report from the Chicago Sun-Times, the Finnish forward is an “unhappy camper” with the Bulls, as Markkanen has “completely gone backwards in his development” under head coach Jim Boylen, who was questionably given an extension by the Bulls despite an unsuccessful stint as interim head coach that included a near-mutiny by some of the team’s younger players.
Before the coronavirus postponed the 2019-20 season, Markkanen was having the worst season of his career from a statistical standpoint, averaging 14.7 points and 6.3 rebounds per game, while shooting 42.5 percent from the field, 34.4 percent from 3, and 82.4 percent from the free-throw line.
All those numbers are career lows. Compounding that, he also missed several weeks with an ankle sprain.
“His catch-and-shoot and spot-up diets increased, his drives and possessions as the roll/pop-man in the pick-and-roll decreased and his efficiency tanked across the board,” wrote NBC Sports Chicago’s Rob Schaefer. “A player at his best on the move spent too many games at a standstill.”
Markkanen is his third year with the Bulls, who have gone 71-158 during that stretch.
The former Wildcat has one more year on his contract with Chicago, then he can either enter restricted free agency where the Bulls would have the ability to match any offer for him, or he can decline an extension and sign a lucrative one-year qualifying offer with the Bulls so that he can hit unrestricted free agency after the 2021-22 season.
That is quite a ways away, so hopefully for Markkanen’s sake Chicago will install new leadership or is willing to trade him to an organization that he feels can put him in a better position to succeed as he gets closer to inking that all-important second contract.