Trade Proposal Sends Lauri Markkanen To Nuggets, Michael Porter Jr. To Jazz

One NBA analyst proposed that the Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz make a blockbuster trade with each other this offseason. 

NBA, Jazz, Nuggets, Lauri Markkanen, Michael Porter Jr.
Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

Grant Hughes of Bleacher Report proposed the following trade idea between the Nuggets and Jazz:

Denver Nuggets Receive: Lauri Markkanen

Utah Jazz Receive: Michael Porter Jr., the No. 28 pick in 2024, first-round swaps in 2026, 2028 and 2030; second-round picks in 2025, 2026 and 2029

Markkanen appeared in 55 games for the Jazz this season. He averaged 23.2 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.9 steals and 0.5 blocks while shooting 48.0% from the field, 39.9% from beyond the arc and 89.9% from the free-throw line. 

A one-time All-Star, Markkanen won the 2022-23 Most Improved Player of the Year Award. He has one year left on his contract. 

Porter Jr. appeared in 81 games for the Nuggets this season. He averaged 16.7 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.5 assists while shooting 48.4% from the field, 39.7% from beyond the arc and 83.6% from the free-throw line. 

“Markkanen is effectively a better version of Porter, but he’s also about to get more expensive,” Hughes wrote in his NBA column. “Porter is on the hook for $35.9 million, $38.3 million and $40.8 million over the next three seasons, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see Markkanen’s next deal start at a rate above the one in the last year of Porter’s current contract.

“Injury concerns are inescapable with MPJ, but he’s over a year younger than the Finn and logged 143 games (plus another 33 in the playoffs) across the last two seasons. Markkanen only appeared in 111 contests during that span.

“If Utah isn’t sure it wants to max out Markkanen, and if teams that could beat this offer fall asleep at the wheel (looking at you, Thunder), you can squint and imagine this deal getting done.”

Porter Jr. will make $35.9 million next season. The swingman has career averages of 15.7 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.2 assists. 

Meanwhile, Markkanen will make $18 million next season. He has career averages of 18.1 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 0.7 steals and 0.5 blocks with the Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers and Jazz.

Utah missed the playoffs this year, while Denver lost to the Minnesota Timberwolves in the second round in seven games. 

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