Latest NBA rumors on potential Lauri Markkanen trade cost, 4 potential landing spots

Author:
Sportsnaut

The Utah Jazz reportedly were in the running to acquire Mikal Bridges before the Brooklyn Nets agreed to a deal with the New York Knicks. With Bridges off the board, new NBA trade rumors are suggesting Lauri Markkanen could be acquired.

Markkanen, age 27, earned the NBA Most Improved Player honor in 2023 along with his first All-Star selection. In two seasons with the Jazz, the 7-foot forward has averaged 24.5 points and 8.4 rebounds per game.

  • Lauri Markkanen career stats (ESPN): 18.1 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 1.5 APG, 45.9% FG, 37.5% 3PT

However, Markkanen is in the final year of his deal with an $18.044 million salary for the 2024-’25 season before becoming a free agent in 2025. It’s led to NBA rumors about the Jazz possibly acting as sellers, potentially trading the All-Star forward away instead of signing him to an extension.

Tony Jones of The Athletic recently suggested that Utah could be looking to receive four or five five-round picks and a star-level talent in exchange for Markkanen. During an appearance on ESPN, NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski said it would take a “great, great deal” to pry Markkanen away from Utah but teams are trying and the Jazz aren’t turning down inquiries.

“Teams are being aggressive in this marketplace, he’s had a renassance in his career with Will Hardy in Utah. I think it would take a great, great deal to pry him out of there, but Utah has to listen.”

Adrian Wojnarowski on Utah Jazz forward Laruri Markkanen

  • Lauri Markkanen stats (2023-’24): 23.2 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 2 APG, 48% FG, 39.9% 3PT

With all of that in mind, we’ll examine a few potential trade destinations for Markkanen.

Examining 4 Lauri Markkanen trade destinations

Lauri Markkanen trade landing spots
Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma City Thunder

No team is better equipped to pull off a trade for Markkanen than the Thunder. Oklahoma City holds multiple first-round picks in 2025 and 2025, including a top-10 protected first that belongs to Utah. While Markkanen wouldn’t provide outstanding rebounding for the Thunder, he is effective working the glass and he would add another scoring presence to the lineup. Oklahoma City could also afford to sign him to a contract extension, moving forward with a core of Markkanen, Chet Holmgren and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

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San Antonio Spurs

San Antonio is looking for complementary talent to plug around Victor Wembyanyama. Not only would Markkanen fit the team’s long-term vision, but his ability to play from outside the paint and his reliability as a perimeter threat would diversify the Spurs lineup. San Antonio could immediately offer Markkanen the contract extension he’s seeking and the combination of spacing and shot creation that Markakanen provides makes him an excellent on-court fit.

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Sacramento Kings

The Sacramento Kings whiffed on trades for Pascal Siakam and Alex Caruso. With pressure on the front office to make this team more competitive and to keep a star player committed long-term, Sacramento must be even more aggressive. Facilitating a trade with Utah for Markkanen would be difficult, as the Atlanta Hawks own the Kings 2025 first-round pick. If draft picks aren’t enough, the Kings might have to consider flipping Keegan Murray to Utah. Of course, that move can only be made if Markkanen agrees to a long-term deal.

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Houston Rockets

The Rockets are more focused on big fish trade targets like Kevin Durant or Devin Booker, but neither option seems particularly realistic. Houston’s desire to improve its roster and take a significant step forward is promising, but the Rockets front office also needs to be realistic about what it can do. Markkanen isn’t a star player by any means, but he’d be a nice complementary piece in the Rockets lineup.

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