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Anonymous GM predicts Lakers-Jazz Trade for Lauri Markkanen

Despite no signs from the Utah Jazz front office of wanting to trade Lauri Markkanen, there is still talk around the league about the possibility of a trade happening this offseason. The latest comes from an anonymous General Manager who believes that if Markkanen were on the trade block, the Los Angeles Lakers wouldn’t have enough assets to compete with the competition if a bidding war were to break out. On Tuesday, the source revealed his insight in a piece written by NBA insider Sean Deveney Heavy sports.

“The problem for the Lakers is that the best offer is going to be Rui (Hachimura) and Austin Reaves and two first-rounders, let’s say. Well, if I’m Oklahoma City, I can beat that. If I’m Houston, I can beat that. The Warriors can beat it, it’s a long list,” said one NBA GM.

“So the only way that happens is that other teams might be concerned about his injury history and the Lakers are there with the best offer. If Utah knows they won’t extend him, you should think about it. I think they will extend it, but you still have to take it into account.’

You can definitely count the Lakers out when it comes to which team could come up with the best offer. If Markkanen were to become available, it would be the Thunder in the driver’s seat. Not only do they have the most draft picks to negotiate with, but they also currently have players on the roster that the Jazz would certainly be interested in.

Josh Giddey, Luguentz Dort and Cason Wallace could be used to sweeten the deal if necessary, and let’s not forget the 15 first rounders owned by the Thunder over the next seven years. This is of course hypothetical, and the most likely outcome is that Markkanen re-signs with the Jazz.

However, anything is possible if Jazz CEO Danny Ainge is steering the ship. Deveney’s source appears to know that Markkanen is coveted in Salt Lake City, but Ainge will still entertain offers.

“They will listen,” the Western Conference executive said. “They always listen. Danny’s reputation is exaggerated. He wants a championship team, he wants to do what Sam Presti did in Oklahoma City. He knows he’s still far away. They will be heavy and the price will be high, but that is how it should be.”

The other teams mentioned that would be interested in Markkanen are the New York Knicks and Miami Heat. Despite not having the resources to compete with other franchises, the Lakers should still be busy this offseason in an effort to give LeBron James enough talent around him to make one final push for a title to make.

Realistically, the only path the Lakers have to Utah’s best player is if his trade stock drops due to his injury history. Markkanen has not been able to complete the season for two years in a row and yesterday it was announced that he will not play in the Olympic qualifiers due to a lingering shoulder injury. With a max extension just around the corner, there are a lot of moving parts if a trade does happen and we can expect the rumor mill to get going about Markkanen’s progress.

It’s also unclear if Utah is ready to reach the playoffs or is still in tanking mode as the 2024-2025 season approaches. Jazz fans should get a quick answer to the question of which direction Utah is headed when the free agency frenzy begins on June 30.

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