5 Lauri Markkanen trades that the Jazz cannot refuse

Utah Jazz, Lauri Markkanen
Utah Jazz, Lauri Markkanen / Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
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4. Hawks go all-in on Lauri Markkanen

The Hawks are rumored to be interested, according to Jake Fischer. They went hard after Pascal Siakam before the start of the regular season and need a power forward upgrade. De’Andre Hunter figures to be the primary salary return, but his four-year $90 million contract is likely viewed as a negative moving forward.

The Jazz would need a monster package if it is headlined by Hunter. Atlanta can trade their 2024 1st round pick or the Kings plus theirs in 2029 or 2030. Would that plus a couple of swaps be enough? Danny Ainge would certainly ask for a young talent like Kobe Bufkin, which makes this the most likely deal if the two sides agree.

Markkanen to Atlanta

Markkanen’s trade value should be higher than Siakam’s. The Raptors two-time All-Star is on an expiring contract and is no guarantee to stay without a maximum extension. Markkanen has an $18.0 million team option for the 2024-25 season and is looking for a long-term home. He will get a massive raise in 2025 but will be more than worth it if he continues scoring 23-plus with eight rebounds a night.

Do the Jazz view Bufkin as a long-term piece in their backcourt? Playing him next to Keyonte George would be difficult, but Utah is rebuilding. They should always acquire talent and figure it out from there. Bufkin was just the 15th pick in the 2023 NBA Draft and the 20-year-old has plenty of potential.