UTAH JAZZ

Will Lauri Markkanen Sign Contract Extension With Jazz?

Apr 17, 2024, 2:18 PM | Updated: Apr 29, 2024, 4:06 pm

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Utah Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen (23) celebrates after a put back shot and foul as the Jazz and the New Zealand Breakers play at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City on Monday, Oct. 16, 2023. (Courtesy of Deseret News)

(Courtesy of Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – After missing the playoffs for the second consecutive year, the Utah Jazz enter the offseason with hopes of signing Lauri Markkanen to a contract extension.

With his contract set to expire in the summer of 2025, the Jazz can offer Markkanen a four-year extension on his current deal worth upwards of $160 million.

Though priorities can change quickly in the offseason, the Jazz front office has indicated a desire to ink the All-Star forward to an extension when he becomes available in August.

What Did Markkanen Say About Signing Extension?

Heading into the offseason, Markkanen discussed how he’s approaching extension talks.

“I’ve seen the NBA part of people turning down extensions, or signing them too early,” Markkanen said. “[I’ve] kind of seen everything, so I’ve got to sit down and think about it.”

The former seventh-overall pick has experienced the business end of the NBA firsthand beginning his career in Chicago before being traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2021.

After one season in Cleveland, the Cavaliers sent Markkanen to the Jazz in a blockbuster trade for Donovan Mitchell, leading to the Finnish forward’s breakout as a number-one option in Utah.

Though Markkanen has yet to qualify for the postseason in Utah, he’s been happy during his time with the Jazz.

“We love to be here, I’ve said it multiple times and my family likes to be here, especially if they get a hockey team now,” Markkanen joked. “But I’ve been emphasizing the winning part, too.”

Can Jazz Improve Around Markkanen?

The Jazz have remained steadfast in their messaging that they want to improve the roster, but their actions haven’t always paid immediate dividends.

During Markkanen’s first season in Utah, the Jazz traded veterans Mike Conley, Jarred Vanderbilt, Malik Beasley, and Nickeil Alexander-Walker for future draft capital.

They repeated that process in February sending out Kelly Olynyk, Simone Fontecchio, and Ochai Agbaji at the trade deadline, netting only future draft picks as long-term returns.

Related: What Type Of Help Do The Jazz Need This Summer?

“They had to make those tough decisions and obviously they want to win championships as well,” Markkanen said of the Jazz front office. “So they’re doing the best they can towards that, and I think we have a lot of good people in this organization, and that they’ve shown that they can do the job, so I’ll have to trust those guys.”

Armed with $40 million in cap space, and a slew of draft capital, the Jazz can extend Markkanen this summer, have cap space left over, and still add multiple pieces through the draft or via trade.

But Markkanen recognizes the onus isn’t solely on Danny Ainge and Justin Zanik to get the Jazz back to the playoffs.

“One way to affect that is just to get so much better and work on your game that it speeds things up,” Markkanen added. “The better I play the better our team is playing, obviously it’s going to speed up the process.”

With the NBA Draft being held on June 26-27, and free agency opening on July 1, the Jazz will have ample time to shape the roster this summer before Markkanen becomes extension-eligible on August 6.

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Ben Anderson is the Utah Jazz insider for KSL Sports and the co-host of Jake and Ben from 10-12p with Jake Scott on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone. Find Ben on Twitter at @BensHoops or on Instagram @BensHoops.

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Will Lauri Markkanen Sign Contract Extension With Jazz?