UTAH JAZZ

Report: Jazz ‘Willing To Listen’ To Trade Offers For Lauri Markkanen

Dec 15, 2023, 3:38 PM | Updated: Dec 18, 2023, 10:33 am

SALT LAKE CITYYahoo! Sports’ Jake Fischer reported that the Utah Jazz are “willing to listen” to offers for NBA All-Star forward Lauri Markkanen, who teams believe is “no longer untouchable” in trade talks.

Lauri Markkanen reportedly not “untouchable” in Jazz trade talks

The NBA reporter detailed the interest of opposing franchises in the Finnish forward in an article published on Friday, December 15.

“Lauri Markkanen has indeed emerged as a fascinating, albeit unlikely trade candidate before February’s buzzer,” Fischer wrote.

He explained that the Jazz “held designs” of competing with the top teams in the Western Conference after Markkanen’s first-career All-Star nod last season. However, the Jazz did not pull off trades for Damian Lillard or Jrue Holiday during the offseason.

Utah has gotten off to a slow start this season and currently owns a 9-16 record, which is good for the fourth-worst spot in the West standings.

The team’s start to the 2023-24 campaign has prompted “several teams to phone Utah’s front office in order to gauge its willingness to move Markkanen,” sources told Fischer.

Fischer added that Markkanen has been a “true favorite of Jazz officials, sources said,” and Utah is “by no means expected to trade” the forward.

However, the reporter said that the Jazz “indeed left opposing executives with the sense that Markkanen is no longer untouchable in trade conversations, league sources told Yahoo Sports.”

After this season, Markkanen will have one season remaining on his current four-year contract. Markkanen will be an unrestricted free agent following the 2024-25 season.

“There’s a sentiment among cap strategists that Utah perhaps won’t consider Markkanen’s next salary point a worthwhile cost if the Jazz are so far from the playoff picture with Markkanen as their best player,” Fischer wrote. “It would surely take a massive haul for some team to pry the 26-year-old from the Jazz.”

One NBA general manager told Yahoo! Sports that he doesn’t expect Markkanen to be dealt unless a great offer came Utah’s way, something akin to the package the Minnesota Timberwolves presented the Jazz with regarding Rudy Gobert in 2022.

“Do I expect Utah to trade Lauri? No,” the GM said. “They are saying they’re willing to listen. They are willing to listen to calls on everyone, but it’s a matter of meeting their price like Minnesota did for Rudy [Gobert].”

Fischer continued by stating that Markkanen’s status “already has and will continue generating significant buzz around the league” if the Jazz keep listening to offers.

“It would be front-office malpractice not to at least understand what it would take to land Markkanen,” Fischer said.

The NBA reporter shared that three teams are believed to “value” and have had early talks with the Jazz surrounding Markkanen.

The Sacramento Kings, Atlanta Hawks, and Oklahoma City Thunder are the preliminary “suitors” for Markkanen, per Fischer.

He added that in addition to Markkanen, the Jazz are reportedly listening to offers for Jordan Clarkson, Kelly Olynyk, John Collins, Collin Sexton, and Talen Horton-Tucker.

Fischer singled out rookie Keyonte George as a player the Jazz aren’t taking calls on.

Lauri Markkanen this season

This season, Markkanen is averaging 23.7 points per contest on 48.7 percent shooting, including 39.0 percent on three-pointers. Markkanen also averages 8.6 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 0.8 blocks, and 1.1 steals in 33.5 minutes per game. He’s played in 16 games this season.

Markkanen is currently the league’s 21st-highest scorer per game in 2023-24.

Since November 22, the forward has missed nine of Utah’s last 10 games as he works his way back from a hamstring injury.

Utah’s next game is on the road against the Kings on Saturday, December 16 at 8 p.m. (MT). The game will be broadcast on KJZZ, Jazz+, NBA TV, KSL Sports Zone (97.5 FM), KSLSports.com, and the KSL Sports app.

Kyle Ireland is a Sports Producer and Locals in the NFL Insider for KSLSports.com. He’s also co-host of the Yards After College Podcast. Follow him on Threads (@kyleirelandksl), Instagram (@kyleirelandksl). and X (@kyleireland).

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Report: Jazz ‘Willing To Listen’ To Trade Offers For Lauri Markkanen