Three Teams That Could Pursue Lauri Markkanen Trade

Jul 1, 2024, 3:50 PM | Updated: 3:56 pm

Lauri Markkanen of the Utah Jazz...

Lauri Markkanen of the Utah Jazz (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

(Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY –  The Utah Jazz have remained steadfast in their desire to build around Lauri Markkanen, but that hasn’t stopped other teams from trying to trade for the All-Star.

Markkanen is eligible to sign a contract extension with the Jazz beginning in August, and the team has said both publically and privately that keeping the Finnish forward was one of the top priorities this offseason.

Related: Jazz Sign Drew Eubanks To Two-Year Deal

However, with several teams striking out in free agency, interest in Markkanen has reached a fever pitch.

Here is a look at three teams who would benefit from adding Markkanen and have the assets to pique the Jazz’s interest.

Which Teams Could Trade For Lauri Markkanen?

Golden State Warriors

The Golden State Warriors have been the name mostly closely tied to a potential Markkanen trade since free agency opened late Sunday evening.

Longtime Warriors sharpshooter Klay Thompson is headed to Dallas in a sign-and-trade, leaving Golden State in need of a new star to fill his Hall of Fame shoes.

Armed with a $16 million trade exception, former lottery picks on rookie contracts in Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody, All-Rookie guard Brandin Podziemski, and the ability to trade two first-round picks (2025 and 2027 or 2028), and draft swap options, the Warriors have several pathways to piecing together a deal that may meet the Jazz’s needs.

Where a trade could hit a roadblock is if the Warriors are unwilling to include the promising young Kuminga, or simply don’t have enough first-round draft capital to include in the deal to outbid other suitors.

San Antonio Spurs

The San Antonio Spurs appear to be fast-tracking their rebuild with Victor Wembanyama after signing Chris Paul to a one-year, $11 million deal on Sunday.

While Paul won’t be a staple in San Antonio at 39 years old, they could add another longer-term fit in Markkanen who would pair perfectly with Wembanyama in the Spurs frontcourt.

Between Devin Vassell, Keldon Johnson, this year’s number four overall pick Stephon Castle, Jeremy Sochan, and any combination of 12 first-round draft picks between 2025-2031, San Antonio has more than enough ammunition to entice the Jazz.

The question for San Antonio is whether they’d be willing to give up on a young player like Vassell or a prized pick like Castle, and how many first-round picks they would offer to make a run at the playoffs next season.

Houston Rockets

The Houston Rockets looked like a threat to make the Play-In Tournament in the West after a late-season surge, but ultimately fell short losing six of their last nine games and finishing with a 41-41 record.

Houston has now missed the playoffs for four straight seasons, and despite a significant number of talented young pieces on their roster, they could miss the postseason again in the loaded West without a major upgrade.

With Alperen Sengun, Jabari Smith Jr., third overall pick Reed Sheppard, Cam Whitmore, and control of eight first-round picks through 2031 (of which they could trade as many as five), the Rockets could compile several different trades to meet the Jazz’s needs.

But, if Houston is unwilling to part with any of their more significant young players, would draft capital alone be enough for the Jazz to make a blockbuster trade?

Ultimately, the Jazz are in no rush to trade Markkanen, and could very well follow the plan they’ve laid out to renegotiate the 27-year-old’s contract for next season while tacking on four years in a long-term extension.

But, if the team does decide to further deconstruct the roster, the Warriors, Spurs, and Rockets could be logical trade partners.

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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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Three Teams That Could Pursue Lauri Markkanen Trade