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B/R’s Trade Proposal Sends Nuggets’ MPJ to Jazz, Lauri Markkanen to Denver

The trade buzz surrounding Michael Porter Jr. of the Denver Nuggets continues to heat up, with numerous NBA analysts and writers speculating about his potential trade destinations should the Mile High franchise decide to move him.

Grant Hughes of Bleacher Report has proposed a major trade between the Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz for this summer.

The trade:

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

This season, Markkanen played in 55 games for the Jazz, averaging 23.2 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.9 steals, and 0.5 blocks. He shot 48.0% from the field, 39.9% from three-point range, and 89.9% from the free-throw line.

An All-Star once, Markkanen earned the Most Improved Player of the Year Award for the 2022-23 season and has one year left on his contract.

Porter Jr. played in 81 games for the Nuggets this season, posting averages of 16.7 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 1.5 assists. He shot 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. is set to earn $35.9 million next season. The swingman has career averages of 15.7 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 1.2 assists.

Meanwhile, Markkanen is slated to make $18 million next season. His career averages are 18.1 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 0.7 steals, and 0.5 blocks, having played for the Chicago Bulls, Cavaliers, and Jazz.

Utah missed the playoffs this year, whereas Denver was eliminated by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the second round in a seven-game series.

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