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The exchange: Rudy Gobert and Ed Davis for Otto Porter Jr., Lauri Markkanen, Chandler Hutchison and a first round pick in 2020
Prior to the Chicago Bulls’ hiring of Arturas Karnisovas as executive vice president of basketball operations, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, rumors of Markkanen’s dissatisfaction with the Chicago Bulls began to surface.
“Make no mistake, Lauri Markkanen, a great third-year man, was an unhappy camper before the coronavirus paused the NBA,” wrote Joe Cowley for the Chicago Sun-Times. “Quite dissatisfied that if the leadership of the organization remains unchanged, he prefers to be elsewhere. “
Now with Karnisovas on board, who knows if a change could even involve Markkanen. This season, he posted career declines in usage (21.1), points per game (14.7) and three-point percentage (34.4). And with Zach LaVine on contract, the Bulls may be looking for a more defensive 5.
Gobert, of course, is as defensive as possible. Chicago would have a number of issues elsewhere on the list, but it would have an established defensive identity.
In exchange for two wings that have combined for less than 1000 minutes this season, a big one who has apparently plateaued in 3rd year and a choice in a weak draft class is decent value.
For Jazz, this agreement would represent a cultural change. Gobert has been the centerpiece of their success for more than half a decade. Largely because of its defense, Utah was plus-5.6 points per 100 possessions with it on the ground compared to minus-1.1 with it off.
Going to a 5 stretch like Markkanen would mean big changes at both ends of the floor. The defensive scheme that channels players to Gobert has disappeared. Pick-and-rolls may be slightly less likely to attack without Gobert’s elite rim working.
But if Jazz decides to remake the team like Mitchell, Markkanen is an intriguing adjustment. Having him, Bogdanovic, Ingles and Porter spacing the floor would theoretically open up lanes for Mitchell.
Perimeter defenders should be better, but even with the inevitable decline to that end, Utah may be able to score enough to do something like this.