NBA Trade Rumors: 2 Blockbuster offers to help Atlanta Hawks acquire Lauri Markkanen

Could the Atlanta Hawks make a big move for Lauri Markkanen ahead of the NBA Trade Deadline?

Brooklyn Nets v Utah Jazz
Brooklyn Nets v Utah Jazz / Alex Goodlett/GettyImages
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Hawks Markkanen Trade #2

Blockbuster package No. 1

Lauri Markkanen has the feel of a player who would excel alongside Trae Young. Markkanen excels as an off-ball scorer, which could be boosted by Young's playmaking. He's shooting 39.3% on catch-and-shoot 3s this season. That number could go up as he gets better and better looks while playing alongside any mixture of three strong playmakers in Young, Dejounte Murray (if the Hawks keep him), and Jalen Johnson.

I personally think the lineup of Young-Murray-Johnson-Markkanen-Capela is a very strong one. That would potentially be the Hawks starting lineup after this trade. They would then have Bogdan Bogdanovic, Saddiq Bey, Onyeka Okongwu, and Kris Dunn off the bench among others. Bey could also start at the 3 instead of Johnson (as Bey and Johnson have been splitting starts at the 4 prior to Johnson's injury) if this trade happens.

De'Andre Hunter is a very interesting player. He's still decently young (26) and is a capable player, but he just hasn't always been what the Hawks hoped for after they selected him 4th overall in 2019. One reason for that has been injuries, which is the case right now. Hunter recently underwent a non-surgical procedure on his knee and will be out for several weeks., which significantly complicates any trades involving him.

So far this season, Hunter is averaging 14.9 points and 4.1 rebounds per game on 46% shooting from the field and 40.4% shooting from deep. That pretty much matches up where he's been for his career (career numbers of 14 points and 4.1 rebounds per game on 44.5%/36.1%/81.1% splits).

Hunter has three years remaining on his contract, which would give the Jazz an extra two years of team control compared to Markkanen. Markkanen will also likely command more than Hunter's money due in 2025-26 and 2026-27, so this could help the Jazz be cheaper. Hunter is a solid player that I think can help the Jazz as they work through this modified rebuild.

AJ Griffin had a strong rookie season a year ago for the Hawks after they selected him at No. 16 overall. Griffin averaged 8.9 points per game on 46.5% shooting and 39% from deep and looked like a blossoming 3&D player. However, his playing time dipped significantly once Quin Snyder was hired last year, and that has carried over into this season.

For whatever reason, there has just seemed to be a disconnect between Griffin and Snyder. Griffin is now out due to personal issues (which I'm not going to speculate on), which also shrouds his potential value. However, Griffin is still a very talented youngster (still just 20 years old), who isn't far removed from being picked right outside of the lottery with sky-high potential. He also has 2.5 years of team control remaining. He's a guy that could flourish in Utah with extended opportunities compared to Atlanta.

The Kings 2024 top 14 protected first-rounder that is included in this trade is the one the Hawks received in the Kevin Huerter trade. If it isn't conveyed this year (it is currently slated to convey for what it's worth), it would turn into a top 12 protected pick in 2025. Then a top 10 protected pick in 2026. If it doesn't convey at that point, it turns into two second-rounders.

In this trade, the Hawks also bring back Kris Dunn. Dunn played for the Hawks in 2020/21, although he was limited to just 4 games due to injury. Dunn is averaging 5.3 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game on 45.8%/36.4%/68.8% splits this year for the Jazz. While Dunn probably won't play the 15.9 minutes per game in Atlanta that he is in Utah, he could be a capable 4th guard for the Hawks. He is also a bit more of a traditional backup PG that the Hawks don't really have right now (besides Dejounte Murray).

In this trade, the Hawks land Markkanen and a potential rotation piece in Dunn. Meanwhile, the Jazz land a solid starter caliber 26-year-old with three years of team control remaining, a high potential 20-year old, two first-round picks, and two pick swaps to add to their asset collection.

For the Hawks, the main issue with this trade is that it opens up a need for a small forward while adding Markkanen to both Jalen Johnson and Saddiq Bey at the 4. The Hawks would likely mix and match playing Johnson and Bey at the 3 (I would guess that Johnson would start), while also featuring Bogdan Bogdanovic there as well. Markkanen has the ability to play at either the 3 or 5 as well if needed.

One big issue for the Hawks in this trade could potentially be the impact on defense. Markkanen has the length to be a quality defender, but that hasn't always showcased itself. Hunter has frustrated Hawks fans defensively at times but is still one of the team's better defenders. Losing him would hurt, and Bey playing more at the 3 also could affect his capabilities.