Former Arizona Wildcats big man Lauri Markkanen will continue his NBA career with the Cleveland Cavaliers after he was acquired as part of a three-team, sign-and-trade agreement.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Cleveland signed Markkanen to a four-year, $67 million contract.
ESPN Sources: Cleveland’s acquiring Chicago’s Lauri Markkanen in three-way sign and trade with Portland. Bulls get Derrick Jones Jr., POR’s lottery protected future 1st and Cavs’ future second-rounder. POR gets Larry Nance Jr. https://t.co/CgN3mhaLHY— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 27, 2021
Cleveland is trading Larry Nance Jr. to the Portland Trail Blazers and a 2023 second round to Chicago, while Portland is trading Derrick Jones Jr. and a lottery-projected 2022 first round pick to Chicago as part of the deal.
Markkanen entered the offseason as a restricted free agent. There little chance he would rejoin Chicago after the Bulls acquired DeMar DeRozan in early August.
Markkanen averaged 15.6 points and 7.1 rebounds in four seasons with Chicago, but the 7-foot Finland native was repeatedly sidelined by medical scares and injuries.
In March 2019 Chicago sidelined Markkanen for the remainder of the season after he experienced an episode of a rapid heart rate and fatigue. The following season, he missed more than a month of games with a hip injury.
Markkanen’s strong start to the 2020-21 season was halted in February due to a shoulder sprain that kept him out for more than a month.
If Markkanen can stay healthy, he has a chance to see plenty of playing time with the rebuilding Cavaliers over the coming years.
Cleveland significantly added to its front court by selecting USC center Evan Mobley in this year’s NBA Draft, but the Cavaliers lack quality depth beyond Kevin Love and Jarrett Allen.