TORONTO, ONTARIO - OCTOBER 13: OG Anunoby #3 of the Toronto Raptors battles with Lauri Markkanen #24 ... [+]

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The Chicago Bulls begin their 2019-20 season against the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday night, but first they had to do a little housekeeping. Kris Dunn and Denzel Valentine unsurprisingly didn't get contract extensions on their rookie contracts, but the Bulls did exercise the 2020-21 team options on Lauri Markkanen, Wendell Carter Jr. and Chandler Hutchison.

These moves were merely a formality as this group of youngsters continue their NBA careers in Chicago.

Markkanen's fourth-year option will pay him $6,731,508 after he makes $5,300,400 this season. The 22-year-old will be eligible for a contract extension next summer, making this 2019-20 campaign an important one as he plays for a potential max deal.

The Finnish big man has high expectations, but he was somewhat disappointing in preseason for a Bulls team that is entering the regular season with plenty of optimism. Markkanen averaged 11.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 22.7 minutes per game while shooting just 38.1% overall and 33.3% on 3-pointers. Too often he was just floating around the perimeter and not involved enough with the offense. It also didn't help that he simply didn't make shots at a high rate.

There's no reason to panic about Markkanen after a few sluggish preseason games, but the Bulls need him to be the 1B to Zach LaVine's 1A. He needs to be more aggressive when looking for his shot, and he also needs help from his coaching staff and teammates to get him in the right spots to succeed.

Markkanen's frontcourt partner, Carter, is still working his way into game shape as he enters his second season. The 20-year-old will make $5,201,400 in 2019-20 and then $5,448,840 in 2020-21. His fourth-year team option is worth $6,920,027 and will almost certainly be picked up before next season begins.

Carter's rookie campaign was cut short by wrist surgery, and he then underwent core muscle surgery in the offseason. While he entered training camp healthy and ready to go, he dealt with a sprained ankle, bruised tailbone and tweaked thumb in preseason.

Carter showed flashes of his defensive prowess in his limited preseason action. However, he also looked slow and out of sorts at times. The Bulls are counting on him to be their defensive anchor and a versatile offensive weapon at the center spot, but it may take some time before he finds his groove.

Finally, there's Hutchison, who's still recovering from a hamstring injury suffered in the offseason. It's unclear just when Hutchison is going to return to the lineup as he embarks on his second season in the NBA. The 22-year-old will make $2,332,320 this season and $2,443,440 next season.

Hutchison's fourth-year team option is worth $4,019,459. While it's a good bet that it'll get picked up before next season, he needs to show more this season to make it a certainty. The forward's mostly unimpressive rookie campaign was cut short by a foot injury, and now he's hurt again after struggling in Summer League.

Hutchison has defensive potential on the wing, but his shooting is a concern and his offense in general is a question mark outside of making plays on cuts and in transition. The Bulls would really benefit from Hutchison showing legitimate improvement given the lack of wing depth, but he can't do that until he gets healthy.

With these three players in the fold for 2020-21, Chicago has $77,538,469 in guaranteed money on the books for next season. Otto Porter Jr. has a $28,489,239 player option to decide on next summer.


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