NBA Trade Rumors: Lauri Markkanen could emerge as surprise candidate at deadline?

Could Lauri Markkanen steal the NBA Trade Deadline headlines?
New York Knicks v Utah Jazz
New York Knicks v Utah Jazz / Alex Goodlett/GettyImages

NBA Trade Rumors: Could Lauri Markkanen be the real prize of the 2024 NBA Trade Deadline? We explore this suddenly very real possibility.

With the 2024 NBA Trade Deadline less than two months away, it's no surprise that the trade market is already beginning to develop. Names like Zach LaVine, Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, and even Donovan Mitchell have already come up and are going to continue to over the course of the next few weeks.

However, there may be another name that could end up dictating this year's NBA Trade Deadline. And that's Lauri Markkanen. A recent report has indicated that the Jazz are open to the possibility of listening to offers for their All-Star forward. This doesn't mean that the Jazz are shopping Markkanen ahead of the trade deadline, but they wouldn't exactly hang up the phone before listening to an inquiry.

That's a stark shift from the offseason in which he was considered off-limits and an untouchable in trade talks for the team. And you can't help but wonder, what exactly has changed over the last few months for the Jazz?

Why the Utah Jazz may trade Lauri Markkanen

Quite frankly, it's pretty simple. The Jazz is still trying to establish a strong foundational core for their future. Keyword: future. For as talented of a player as Markkanen is, he may not be considered a huge part of the team's future anymore. He's going to be 27 years old by the end of this season and without other established pieces around him, the Jazz would essentially be wasting away the best playing years of his career in the NBA.

There's an easy argument to be made that the best course of action for the Jazz is to trade Markkanen in an attempt to add more assets to help the Jazz jump-start their rebuild.

On the open market, you can make the case that Markkanen could be the most sought-after player at this year's trade deadline. Considering what the current market is for a star wing, the Jazz could probably get a young player and anywhere between 2-3 future first-round picks.

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For a team that is still in the very early stages of a rebuild, that has to be music to their ears. The question is, will the Jazz pull the trigger in-season? With just one year remaining on his contract with the Jazz, a decision has to come sooner rather than later. All of a sudden, it's not that outlandish of a possibility for Markkanen to be traded at the deadline.