DALLAS - It is the vision of the people who run the Dallas Mavericks that a) Luka Doncic will serve as a recruiting lure of other NBA standouts and that b) the combination of Luka and Kristaps Porzingis can be especially elite if it makes up two-thirds of a "Big Three.''
Does Lauri Markkanen's reported desire to leave the Chicago Bulls for Dallas fulfill the vision?
According to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times, the Finnish forward, who hits NBA restricted free agency this summer, wants to play alongside fellow Europeans Doncic and Porzingis in Dallas.
The 7-0 Markkanen, 24, has spent four seasons with the Bulls, never quite living up to the expectations that came along with being the No. 7 overall pick in his draft. This year, his numbers were not especially impressive -he averaged a career-low 13.6 points with a career-low 5.3 rebounds, meaning maybe his price will also be at a low - and has not achieved stardom.
But he can shoot from the perimeter and he fits the "Fallen Angel'' beliefs of Mavs owner Mark Cuban, who openly talks of the value of reclamation projects involving talented players ... especially ones who are 7-0 and who are 24 and who were admired by Dallas in their draft years.
Markkanen is all of those things, and already has a friendship with Doncic (not to mention one with retired Mavs icon Dirk Nowitzki). The Bulls do not seem to see him as a starter, and maybe the Mavs do not, either - that is to say, a starter in the same lineup with KP, and a starter on a title contender.
But the Mavs have cap room and have some level of admiration for Markkanen ... and he apparently feels the same.