What should be the cap the Utah Jazz have for Lauri Markkanen?

Lauri Markkanen, Utah Jazz (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
Lauri Markkanen, Utah Jazz (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images) /

Lauri Markkanen is up for a contract extension from the Utah Jazz but how much should the team be willing to offer?

The Utah Jazz have Lauri Markkanen under contract for another two seasons, with the 2024-2025 portion of his contract being partially guaranteed. It was a contract he signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers while technically a member of the Chicago Bulls, and was seen by many as a gamble by the Cavs. Markkanen had been inconsistent through his first few years in the league, but while not having an impressive stat line, really came into his own with the Cavs.

He was one of the key pieces of the trade the Cavs made for Donovan Mitchell, and his arrival in Utah reshaped the expectations the club has going forward. The Jazz went from “full rebuild” to “full reload”, looking more and more like a team that’s about to step back into the playoff picture after just a year out of it.

A year they nearly didn’t need, as they fell just short of the play-in tournament. Over the last two seasons, Markkanen has shown a reliability and steadiness to his shot, and with the Jazz building their offense around, and focusing the action through Markkanen, he became the player everyone thought he’d be when he landed with the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 2017 NBA Draft.

Now, after a breakout year, what should the Jazz realistically offer him on a contract extension? He’s currently making under $20 million a year, and if he has another All-Star year, that’s incredibly cheap for what he brings to the table. If he lands another All-Star spot and helps carries the Jazz not only to the playoff but to playoff success, it’d be fair to say that he’d deserve a lot more than $18-odd million.

Being reasonable, and keeping in mind that you don’t want to just overpay anyone and everyone, a cap for him should be no more than $30 million a year.

Preferably, you’d want a $25 million note for the first year or so, and then it can raise into the higher $20+ million range as he’s able to continue to prove his worth and value on the court. Anything past that may be too much for Markkanen.

That said, if he exceeds even the expectations put forth already, say he has a realistic shot at the MVP, maybe he would deserve more than $30 million a year.

And if he wins an NBA title and NBA Finals Most Valuable Player, yeah, that could see him making well over $45 million per year. So it really only comes down to how well the team plays, and how impactful he is to the team’s success. But if we’re thinking that his most recent year, the 2022-2023 season, was the best he could do and is his new normal, then somewhere around $25-$28 million would hopefully get it done.

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