Troubling NBA rumors on the likelihood of Lauri Markkanen trade, big issue for Utah Jazz

Lauri Markkanen, NBA rumors, Utah Jazz
Credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

NBA trade rumors this summer have revealed several All-Star players available this summer, with few generating more attention than Utah Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen. However, there appear to be significant hurdles that could prevent a deal from happening.

Utah doesn’t necessarily want to trade its best player. Markkanen, 7-foot, has blossomed under coach Will Hardy and become one of the top scoring wings in the Western Conference. However, NBA rumors earlier this summer revealed that the Jazz attempted to pull off multiple blockbuster trades that fell through.

Related: Golden State Warriors, Sacramento Kings made Lauri Markkanen trade offers

  • Lauri Markkanen stats (2023-’24): 23.2 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 2 APG, 48% FG, 39.9% 3PT

The team attempted to acquire Mikal Bridges from the Brooklyn Nets, but the New York Knicks won the bidding war. Utah also engaged in trade talks for Atlanta Hawks point guard Trae Young, but the two sides never came close to a deal.

With the opportunities to find a co-star to pair with Markkanen dwindling, the Jazz have since explored trading the All-Star forward. While there is significant interest in acquiring him, it also appears a deal might not come to fruition this summer.

Related: Kings, Spurs, Golden State Warriors have 1 untouchable for Lauri Markkanen trade

According to NBA insider Marc Stein, teams believe the Jazz will find it “difficult” to move Markkanen this summer. While part of that is tied to the team’s lack of eagerness to make a deal, there’s another factor in play for Utah.

“More than one rival team has shared the observation that it would be difficult for the Jazz to trade him in the short term — even if they wanted to. It obviously complicates Jazz efforts to get a trade package in return for Markkanen on the level of Brooklyn’s haul for Mikal Bridges when Markkanen is not under team control for more than a season and when his salary is relatively low”

Marc Stein on a potential Lauri Markkanen trade, difficulties the Utah Jazz face

Utah could allow other teams to speak to Markkanen’s camp and see if the two sides could agree to a long-term deal. However, the 27-year-old forward might believe it’s in his best interest to wait until NBA free agency rather than signing a contract extension in August.

The longer this drags out, the greater the risk of Utah losing suitors. While the Sacramento Kings are very interested in Markkanen, that will likely change if they acquire DeMar DeRozan. Similarly, the San Antonio Spurs have an interest in Markkanen but could pivot given recent NBA rumors regarding Brandon Ingram.

It could still work out for the Jazz long term, especially if Markkanen is eventually willing to sign an extension. Considering Danny Ainge’s reputation for trying to win every deal and his ambitions for the return package in a Markkanen trade, a deal might not be coming.

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