Thunder, Hawks, Kings reportedly have strongest interest in Jazz’s Lauri Markkanen

There’s no reason to believe the Utah Jazz are looking to trade forward Lauri Markkanen. But the rumor mill has begun to churn, and yes, Markkanen’s name is surprisingly on it.Lauri Markkanen

According to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, the Jazz apparently have ever-so-slightly opened the door that they may be open to moving Markkanen at the right price. Or if you know head of basketball operations Danny Ainge, at an extremely high price.

But when it comes to Markkanen, who emerged as an All-Star last season, the Jazz should indeed accept nothing less than a massive haul in return, should they actually go that route.

At any rate, the Oklahoma City Thunder, Atlanta Hawks and Sacramento Kings have emerged as the teams that have the strongest interest in Markkanen, Fischer reported.

“Do I expect Utah to trade Lauri? No,” one rival general manager told Fischer. “But 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).”

As RealGM relayed: “Markkanen will be eligible to negotiate and extend his current contract before its final season begins in 2024-25. Given Utah’s struggles this season and their probable timeline of contention, trading Markkanen at the age of 26 may make more long-term sense for the franchise.”

As for the potential suitors, the Thunder have more draft capital than anyone — and if the Jazz were to make such a bold move, lots of draft picks would have to be part of the return. At least, we can assume as much.

But in reality, it’s hard to envision the Jazz find a suitable deal for Markkanen. As we relayed earlier, they have made other players available, and those names (such as guard Collin Sexton and forward Kelly Olynyk) are more realistic trade candidates.

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