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Kings, Timberwolves Have Jazz’s Lauri Markkanen on Their Radar

According to multiple reports, Jazz’s power forward Lauri Markkanen is likely to leave Salt Lake City this summer, with the team actively fielding trade offers, reports’ Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports.

Earlier, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported on the Golden State Warriors’ interest in Markkanen, a rumor confirmed by Adrian Wojnarowski on Sports Center.

Wojnarowski said, “Utah is not sure it wants to trade (Markkanen), but they have to listen; they’ve been listening. And a lot of the teams that missed out on Mikal Bridges of Brooklyn have transferred over to try and see if they can land Lauri Markkanen of Utah. Golden State is one of those teams.”

Alongside the Warriors, the Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs, and Minnesota Timberwolves are among the teams showing the most interest in acquiring Markkanen, as Fischer notes.

“In addition to Golden State, Sacramento and San Antonio have been the two other teams characterized by league figures with knowledge of the situation as strong possible suitors for Markkanen at this point. For the Kings to land Markkanen, NBA personnel believe the Jazz would require Sacramento to part with Keegan Murray, and that might leave other trade options like Brandon Ingram as a more palatable outcome for the Kings. Minnesota has shown interest in Markkanen as well, sources said. Philadelphia never appeared to place real attention on Markkanen throughout the Sixers’ long approach of finding a third star to slot between Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey.”

Markkanen, named the 2023 Most Improved Player, is considered one of the top players in the NBA. This past season, he averaged 23.2 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.9 steals, and 0.5 blocks for the Jazz, shooting 48.0% from the field, 39.9% from three-point range, and 89.9% from the free-throw line.

“The Jazz have so far indicated to various parties around the NBA they would still like to renegotiate and extend Markkanen when the two sides become eligible to do so in August, sources said, and that listening to offers for Markkanen is just part of doing good business,” Fischer added.

A one-time All-Star, Markkanen is set to earn $18 million next season in the final year of his contract, with the option to sign an extension this offseason. He holds career averages of 18.1 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 0.7 steals, and 0.5 blocks with stints at the Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Jazz.

With the Kings expected to be active in the trade market this offseason, a potential move to Sacramento remains a focal point. The team is also linked with Brandon Ingram of the Pelicans, although negotiations have stalled.

For the Timberwolves, they are still trying to find a way around the new CBA rule, as they are likely to face luxury tax implications if they want to maintain their current roster for next season.

However, if a trade were to happen, either Rudy Gobert or Karl-Anthony Towns is expected to be a possible trade candidate to help them bring Lauri to Minnesota

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