The Cleveland Cavaliers, Portland Trail Blazers, and Chicago Bulls have agreed to a three-team trade that will send Lauri Markkanen to the Cavs, Larry Nance Jr. to the Blazers, and Derrick Jones Jr., a protected first-round pick from Portland, and a second-round pick from Cleveland to the Bulls.
Markkanen, the number seven pick in the 2017 NBA draft, has been the subject of trade rumors for months.
Through three seasons in Chicago, Markkanen struggled to capitalize on his high-potential, averaging 15.6 points and 7.1 rebounds to mask some porous defense.
Cleveland is clearly betting on Markkanen to figure things out on both ends of the court, not only because they traded for him, but because they signed him to a four-year, $67 million extension as well.
Nance Jr., who boasts career-averages of 8.3 points and 6.7 rebounds per game, will have an immediate impact on the Blazers’ front-court; especially on the defensive end.
The Bulls get the ultra-athletic Jones Jr. in the deal along with some draft capital.
All in all, it’s a deal that makes sense for all sides, although one’s left to wonder how Cavs’ head-coach J. B. Bickerstaff will find minutes for Markkanen in a front-court headlined by Jarrett Allen, Evan Mobley, and Kevin Love.
Love is the odd-man out, which means the organization will likely have to buy his contract out to find minutes for the young core.