New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers linked to surprise blockbuster trade for ‘dream target’ who could soon be available

new york knicks, lauri markkanen
Credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

A new report suggests that both the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers would be contenders for a young star that surprisingly might be up for grabs in a blockbuster trade this summer.

This will be an interesting next few months for the Knicks and Lakers. Both teams have strong rosters that should easily land them in the playoffs again next season — barring major injuries. But they are still a piece or two away from being a favorite to reach the finals.

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That is why both organizations are expected to be active this offseason, especially in the trade market. The pair of popular franchises have already been thrown into various trade rumors and the offseason hasn’t even started yet. However, this week landed the two teams in speculation to trade for a player that might surprise many NBA fans.

On Tuesday, Heavy.com NBA insider Sean Deveney reported rival executives believe Utah Jazz President Danny Ainge will listen to offers this summer for top star Lauri Markkanen. The seventh overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft seemed headed to being a bust after being traded twice early in his career. However, since landing in Utah two years ago he has elevated his game and was an All-Star last season. So it is surprising that Ainge would move the best player on his current roster.

  • Lauri Markkanen stats (2023-24): 55 games, 23.2 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 2.0 APG, 40% 3PT

“They always listen. Danny’s reputation is overblown,” a Western Conference executive told Deveney. “He wants a championship team, he wants to do what Sam Presti has done in Oklahoma City. He knows he is a long way off still. They’ll be tough and the price will be high but that’s how it should be.”

Yet beyond potentially being available this summer, one general manager told Heavy that the seven-foot sharpshooter would be viewed as a “dream” addition for several contenders.

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“There are a few teams that, when you look at it, he is going to be their dream target,” the NBA general manager told the outlet. “The Lakers, you get a guy like him with Anthony Davis, and that’s perfect for both guys. The Knicks would love to get hold of him. The Heat, again, put him with Bam [Adebayo] and that is the pair you want to build around … Just the floor-spacing aspect of it, it’s so valuable. He could make things easier on your stars.”

Of those three teams, the New York Knicks have the most assets to offer in a potential trade. Including All-Star Julius Randle and a boatload of future first-round picks — two of them in Round 1 of this month’s draft. Markkanen will be a free agent after next season.

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