Report: Team with Markkanen interest confident Jazz will trade him

Report: Team with Markkanen interest confident Jazz will trade him originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

As the Lauri Markkanen trade sweepstakes heats up, an NBA insider believes one franchise is confident the Utah Jazz star will get moved.

At least one team interested in Markannen is projecting confidence that Utah will trade the NBA All-Star forward in the near future, even if they extend him, NBA insider Marc Stein reported on Friday.

Stein’s report also indicates that despite Markkanen wantting to stay with the Jazz, Utah remains motivated to trade him due to the difficulty it’s faced in acquiring top-level players alongside him.

“That could make the trade route more attractive … especially given the projected strength of the NBA’s 2025 and 2026 drafts,” Stein said.

The important caveat in this is the way Markkanen’s current contract is structured. The Jazz cannot use their $30 million in cap space until Aug. 6, so they would not sign the Finnish big man to an extension until then. If Markkanen re-signs with Utah at that junction, the Jazz could not trade him for exactly six months, which happens to be the trade deadline for the 2024-2025 season.

The Warriors have emerged as a possible destination for Markkanen, though the trade would potentially drain the franchise of important draft picks. Jazz CEO Danny Ainge is famous for his trading acumen when it comes to leveraging draft picks for superstar players.

There are other difficulties as well, namely that the 27-year-old has one year left on his contract and would command significantly more money than the $18 million he is due next season. So, any team that trades for him would have to work out a long-term contract to make the trade worthwhile.

Utah has failed to build a consistent playoff team around Markkanen, so they may move on from him at some point. Golden State still is looking for another high-caliber player to pair alongside Steph Curry, and the seven-foot forward could be exactly what the franchise needs.

Still, there is nothing concrete at this point, as reports have suggested that the Jazz may just stay put and work out a long-term contract extension.

For now, Warriors fans still can keep their hopes of seeing Markkonen and Steph Curry raining three-pointers together.

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