As part of a three-way deal with the Portland Trail Blazers, the Chicago Bulls have traded restricted free agent forward Lauri Markkanen to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The contract signed was a four-year, $67 million deal. Furthermore, the Cavs are also sending forward Larry Nance Jr. to the Trail Blazers and a 2023 second-round draft pick from the Denver Nuggets to the Bulls. Plus, the Trail Blazers are trading small forward Derrick Jones Jr. and a lottery-protected 2022 second-round pick to Chicago.
In the 2020-21 NBA season, the seven-foot power forward averaged 13.6 points, 5.3 rebounds and almost one assist per game in 51 games played. He finished last season with a field goal percentage of 48 percent while shooting 40.2 percent from three-point range. Last season, he earned $6,731,508.
Moreover, the 24-year-old was selected seventh overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 2017 NBA Draft. However, he was then immediately traded to the Bulls on draft night, along with Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine. In return, the Timberwolves received Jimmy Butler and Justin Patton.
Bulls: Derrick Jones Jr., Portland protected first-rounder, Denver protected 2023 second-rounder
Cavaliers: Lauri Markkanen
Trail Blazers: Larry Nance Jr. https://t.co/slpHsB08cm
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 27, 2021
On March 2, 2020, Markkanen was recalled from the G League’s Windy City Bulls. The fourth-year player now has the opportunity to play alongside third overall pick Evan Mobley and center Jarrett Allen. As for Chicago, Derrick Jones Jr. played 58 games last season for Portland. He averaged 6.8 points, 3.5 rebounds and nearly one assist per game. The 24-year-old went undrafted in 2016 out of UNLV.
On November 22, 2020, he signed as a free agent with the organization. It was a two-year deal worth $19 million. The small forward earned $9,258,000 last season and is set to earn $9,731,707 in the 2021-22 season. The Bulls’ offseason has featured all kind of excitement. In a sign-and-trade deal with the San Antonio Spurs, the Bulls added DeMar DeRozan about a month ago as well. In addition to this signing, Chicago added Lonzo Ball on August 3rd.
The Trail Blazers finally pursue a trade
For Portland, in 35 games played last season with the Cavaliers, Larry Nance Jr. averaged 9.3 points, 6.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game. He shot 47 percent from the field and 36 percent from behind the arc. The 28-year-old power forward was selected 27th overall by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2015 NBA Draft. In the 2019-20 season, he had an offensive rating of 122.3, ranking 16th in the league. On October 15, 2018, he signed a multi-year contract with Cleveland. Nance Jr. is set to earn $10,690,909 in the 2021-22 season.
Does this mean the Trail Blazers are officially off the list to trade for the Philadelphia 76ers’ Ben Simmons? It appears this way. The team had the fourth-best odds (+900) of trading for the point guard before making a move on Nance Jr. Hopefully, this will put the Simmons-to-Trail Blazers trade rumors to rest now. This news also comes a few days after Damian Lillard said he wanted to remain in Portland during an Instagram live stream. Nance Jr. should fit in nicely under new head coach Chauncey Billups.