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Lauri Markkanen Tops Free Agency Talk

And other news and rumors from around the league.

NBA: Chicago Bulls at Portland Trail Blazers Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bulls came out roaring in the NBA’s 2021 free agency period, conducting moves meant to add Lonzo Ball from the New Orleans Pelicans to the roster, as well as signing free agent DeMar DeRozan. However, unhappy big man Lauri Markkanen has yet to be moved, despite a great deal of conversation about the restricted free agent. Several possible deals have been proposed, but few have gained traction given that the Bulls want a first-round pick and more per Marc Stein. Per Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, the Bulls are being deliberate about their strategy around Markkanen.

For a third team to take on unwanted salary, this hypothetical front office would also ask for draft-pick compensation. So any team that wants to add Markkanen now would have to send a first-round pick to Chicago and likely another first or two second-rounders elsewhere. It’s a clear roadblock the Bulls seem to have intentionally created.

“Chicago is playing this masterfully from no other perspective than a contract management standpoint,” said one team capologist. “It won’t do any favors relationship-wise, but they’re bleeding his market based on their tax situation, and nobody else can offer him any kind of money without them.”

Stein reports that the Dallas Mavericks and New Orleans Pelicans are both interested in Markkanen.

In other free agency news, Dennis Schroder is headed to the Boston Celtics on a one-year deal, per Jordan Schultz. Adrian Wojnarowski confirmed the deal; Schroder is signing for the taxpayer mid-level exception.

Chris Chiozza is signing with the Golden State Warriors on a two-way deal, according to Adrian Wojnarowski.

The Phoenix Suns will sign Elfrid Payton for a one-year deal, reports Shams Charania.

According to Tim Bontemps, Dwayne Bacon is headed to the New York Knicks.

Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks signed a rookie extension worth $207 million over 5 years, which is the largest guaranteed rookie supermax in history, per Adrian Wojnarowski.