Also joining ‘Tower City’ is the newly acquired former Bulls lottery pick Lauri Markkanen, who comes to Cleveland with a fresh four-year, $67 million contract via the bittersweet sign-and-trade deal in which the Cavs dealt away homegrown son and fan-favorite Larry Nance Jr.
The 24-year-old Finnish forward still has the potential to become a high ceiling player but is also viewed as one with plenty of limitations. Never mind being an immediate downgrade from Nance defensively.
Markkanen does still bring a lot to the table, especially on the offensive end. Despite losing significant minutes alongside his starting role in Chicago, he still averaged 13.6 points per game while shooting 40 percent from beyond the arc; a much-needed boost for a team wallowing at the very bottom of the NBA in three-point shots made last season.
One of the things that baffled many is Cleveland’s insistence to go after the seven-footer while failing to address the gaping hole at the small forward position.
Maybe he is meant to play a bigger role in the grand scheme. Perhaps even figuring in a potential trade?
All in all, the Markkanen deal ties a nice little bow on a relatively good offseason for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Very much a refreshing change from the idleness of the past.