The Chicago Bulls weren’t able to reach an agreement on contract extension talks with forward/center Lauri Markkanen due to a financial gap of $4M, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports.
Johnson reports that both sides were willing to make a new deal, but they could not bridge their negotiation disparity. As a result, Markkanen is bound to become a restricted free agent next summer.
In that case, the Bulls could match any offer that the four-year player will receive. However, Markkanen has a strong desire to remain with the franchise, according to Johnson.
“Even after proposal exchanges, the two sides were roughly $4 million apart for the starting salary figure in the first year of a multi-year deal, sources said.”
“It’s clear the new regime wanted Markkanen back on a take-it-or-leave it price to afford flexibility as it works to reshape the roster in its philosophy. If Markkanen has a huge year, the Bulls own the right to match any offer sheet he might get.”
Markkanen had a down year with the Bulls last season, as he averaged career-lows in points (14.7), rebounds (6.3) and three-point shooting (34.4%).