Free Agency

Houston Rockets: “Pass or pursue” on Lauri Markkanen 

Toronto Raptors v Chicago Bulls
Toronto Raptors v Chicago Bulls / Stacy Revere/Getty Images
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Lauri Markkanen, Houston Rockets
Cleveland Cavaliers v Chicago Bulls / Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Why the Houston Rockets should Pursue Lauri Markkanen

The Rockets might be in a rebuild, but that doesn’t mean it needs to last a half-decade. Markkanen would make the Rockets better right away, is shockingly young, and has some real upside. These are three reasons why the Rockets should pursue Lauri Markkanen. 

Reason #3 Why the Houston Rockets should Pursue Lauri Markkanen: 3-point shooting

The Rockets were one of the worst 3-point shooting teams in the league last season. For a team that nearly took half of their shots from beyond the arc, that’s not a winning strategy. 

Markkanen, for all his defensive faults, is an exceptional 3-point shooter. He’s a career 36.6-percent 3-point shooter and just had a career-best season from distance. 

Players who are accurate from deep are usually the first to ink deals in free agency, which makes Markkanen’s availability all the more puzzling. The Rockets need 3-point shooting, Markkanen is a certified sniper, there’s a deal to be done.  

Reason #2 Why the Houston Rockets should Pursue Lauri Markkanen: Age

Markkanen won’t turn 25 until May of 2022, which makes his continued free agency all the more puzzling. Teams covet youth as much as players who can shoot and Markkanen checks both boxes.

The Rockets are in the middle of a rebuild and need to target players that fit their competitive timeline. Markkanen is just entering his prime and could be a core member of the Rockets’ next playoff team.

Reason #1 Why the Houston Rockets should Pursue Lauri Markkanen: Change of scenery 

Markkanen struggled to find a consistent role last year in Chicago. While he had the most efficient season of his career, for the first time in his career he came off the bench. 

Not only did the Bulls diminish Markkanen’s role just as he was blossoming but they never figured out if he was a power forward or center. Sometimes the best thing for a young player is to go somewhere new. 

The Rockets could offer Markkanen a chance to once again be a prominent player on offense. A frontcourt with Christian Wood and Markkanen might not be scary defensively but it’d be lethal on offense. 

Should the Houston Rockets Pursue Lauri Markkanen verdict: Pursue

Rebuilding teams need to capitalize when talent is available. Markkanen is not a free agent because he’s a bad player, he’s a free agent because the right teams don’t have salary cap space. 

Next. Rockets were impressed by Jalen Green's intangibles in Summer League. dark

If the Rockets can land him for a bargain it could be the steal of the offseason. Even if his presence means the frontcourt is a little crowded it’s a flyer worth taking. The Rockets want to win in 2024, not 2022. Signing a player of Markkanen’s quality and age is a rare opportunity. The Rockets need to seize the moment before someone else does. 

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