Arizona forward Lauri Markkanen smiles during a practice in San Jose, Calif., on March 22, 2017.
After languishing at the bottom much of last season, the Bulls finished tied for 24th in 3-point shooting at 34 percent.
Is Lauri Markkanen Finnish for savior?
Scouts consider Markkanen, a native of Finland who shot 42 percent for Arizona from the shorter 3-point line in college last season, one of the strongest shooters in the NBA draft.
Acquiring Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn from the Timberwolves in the Jimmy Butler trade addressed athleticism during the draft Thursday night. Adding Markkanen with the seventh overall pick obtained from the Timberwolves is designed to address shooting.
"Definitely my biggest strength is stretch the floor, make shots and help the team," Markkanen said. "I’m trying to be a complete player. Much of it is staying in the weight room and getting stronger."
Markkanen said he never has been to Chicago and had little contact with Bulls officials leading up to the draft.
"I’m definitely happy to be there," Markkanen said. "I’ve been working on my shot, making NBA 3s. I can make that shot better than (the college distance)."
Free for all: Bulls management downplayed expectations for big spending in free agency in April, even before news broke late Wednesday that next season’s salary cap will be $2 million less than projected.
The official number will be set June 30 in advance of the league’s fiscal calendar year starting July 1. But as a byproduct of the limited number of playoff games in a lopsided postseason, a memo circulated to all teams projected the 2017-18 cap to be $99 million, down from $101 million.
But with the trade of Butler, the Bulls could have roughly $30 million of salary cap space even with Dwyane Wade picking up his $23.8 million player option for next season. With Rajon Rondo and his $13.4 million on the books, that number would drop obviously.
Alternatively, the Bulls can waive Rondo and pay him only the $3 million guaranteed on that deal as long as it’s before June 30.
At its season-ending news conference, management publicly stated its desire to bring Rondo back. Rondo and his representatives were under the impression he will return. But the Bulls delayed the decision to see how this week played out. Now that Dunn enters an already crowded point guard position, Rondo could be gone.
The Bulls’ cap space doesn’t account for the potential re-signings of restricted free agents Nikola Mirotic and Cristiano Felicio. Sources said re-signing Mirotic remains a goal despite the arrival of Markkanen.
Summer fun: Randy Brown has been tabbed to coach the summer-league team. Pete Myers coached the entry to the title last season. Coach Fred Hoiberg merely wanted to give someone else an opportunity and Myers still will be involved on the summer-league staff.