Could Chicago’s Lauri Markkanen be the ‘shooting with size’ Boston needs?

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Justin Quinn
·3 min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

By now it is common knowledge that the Boston Celtics are looking for some “shooting with size” as a potential criteria for trade targets ahead of the 2021 deadline, and with that intel intentionally leaked by Celtics team president Danny Ainge has come a raft of rumors and speculation of who it might be.

The combination of luxury tax concerns, future needs and the importance of upgrading the roster makes the path for Boston to commit to any deal a narrow one, but some recent rumbles from the vicinity of the Windy City suggest it could be wise to expand the field of potential Celtics trade targets a bit further.

Just today, an article proposing Boston pursue the Chicago Bulls’ Thad Young is making the rounds from our friends at The Athletic, but there’s another player the Celtics may want to consider probing the ask on based on what we’re hearing about the six-time champion franchise.

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

In a recent piece by ESPN senior writer Brian Windhorst, it is related Young is indeed a popular target -- but not the one the Bulls would be likely to part with. "The Chicago Bulls have drawn interest in versatile forward Thaddeus Young, sources said," related Windhorst. "But the Bulls, like the Kings, are on the playoff bubble and aren't anxious to be sellers even though they're under .500." "They might be willing to make a deal involving another power forward, free agent-to-be Lauri Markkanen," he adds, "but Young will likely be staying in Chicago." https://twitter.com/TheCelticsWire/status/1372935611452112899?s=20

For Boston, Markkanen is indeed of the ilk one would call "shooting with size" as a true 7-footer who is hitting 40.8% of his 3-point attempts at a rate of 7.5 per game. Making just $6.7 million in the final year of his rookie deal, the Finnisher would be easy to match salary with for Boston without threatening to come anywhere near the tax, and would preserve the Celtics' $28.5 million traded player exception (TPE) for other potential pursuits. Presumably the ask wouldn't be anywhere near the premium asks players like Harrison Barnes or perhaps even Larry Nance Jr. might command, with a young player plus a first-rounder likely enough to at least start the conversation. https://twitter.com/TheCelticsWire/status/1372774917800816646?s=20

While Markkanen's injury history -- he has only played more than 52 games once in the previous seasons, and then only 68 games -- is a legitimate concern, they haven't been of the career-threatening variety to date. And while that and the uncertainty of what the soon-to-be-restricted free agent will get for offers make his ask within the range Boston might conceivably pay, there is some risk of flight with the Arizona product. But considering the Celtics are already rostering too many late-first and early second-round draft picks already, it seems that Markkanen is a player worth at least exploring the potential of as a trade target for Boston. This post originally appeared on Celtics Wire. Follow us on Facebook! [lawrence-related id=48004,48001,47980,47971] [listicle id=48007]

1

1