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NBA Trade Deadline 2021: The Wizards tried to get Lauri Markkanen from the Bulls, according to report

The trade involving Troy Brown and Moritz Wagner could have been bigger if Washington was willing to part with a first round draft pick.

Chicago Bulls v Washington Wizards
Lauri Markkanen was close to being a Wizard.
Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

The Washington Wizards have traded Troy Brown and Moritz Wagner to the Chicago Bulls for Daniel Gafford and Chandler Hutchison. If this trade idea sounds underwhelming to you, it is. But one thing about trades that intrigue me the most isn’t so much about the trades that happen. Rather, it’s about the trades that almost happen, but ultimately don’t.

According to reporter Quinton Mayo, Washington was interested in acquiring Lauri Markkanen as part of the deal. However, the Wizards didn’t get him because the Bulls wanted to get a first round pick.

Markkanen would have been a good addition to the Wizards. He’s averaging 17.7 points and 5.9 rebounds this season while shooting 48.2 percent from the field and 39 percent from three. Some people in women’s basketball writing circles, including Howard Megdal mused whether he was the “male Emma Meesseman” not too long ago. He’s also on the last year of his rookie contract, making $6.7 million this season.

That said, the Wizards determined that a first round pick was too high of a price to pay for Markkanen. I’d agree that’s the right call.

First, the Wizards aren’t necessarily guaranteed to keep Markkanen after this season. His contract extension negotiations with the Bulls failed last December. But second and more importantly, Washington could feasibly draft in the Top 5 of this year’s or even next year’s draft. They could find a player who could be at least as good as he is, without having to pay an annual salary of well over $10-12 million starting this fall.

Do you wish that Markkanen was actually traded to the Wizards? Let us know in the comments below.