Thunder Trade For Jazz’s Lauri Markkanen In Bold Proposal

Lauri Markkanen, Utah Jazz, Oklahoma City Thunder, NBA Trade Rumors
NBA Analysis Network

In business, it’s always smart to sell high. If you’ve got an asset, and you think it’s peaking in value, you should sell it. That’s as true in the NBA as it is anywhere else. 

Meanwhile, Lauri Markkanen of the Utah Jazz just won the league’s Most Improved Player award. Is he likely to get better? it’s hard to say. Often, the Most Improved Player award is handed, in retrospect, to a player who’s had a career year. On the other hand, we shouldn’t make assumptions about Markkanen on those grounds. 

Should the Jazz? It’s hard to say. If they’re stuck on keeping Markkanen, we couldn’t blame them. On the other hand, they could also justify selling high on him. If that’s the route they want to take, here’s a deal that sends him to the Oklahoma City Thunder. 

The Trade 

Utah Jazz Receive: G/F Luguentz Dort, F Ousmane Dieng, 2024 First-Round Pick (UTA via OKC), 2025 First-Round Pick (PHI via OKC), 2026 First-Round Pick (Top-4 Protected – HOU via OKC)
Oklahoma City Thunder Receive: F/C Lauri Markkanen 

On the other hand, there’s a downside in selling high – you’re losing something valuable. Let’s extend the business analogy. You buy a painting. In time, it appreciates in value.

By now, you don’t think it will get much more valuable? Should you sell it? That depends – do you love the painting? Perhaps the Jazz have no interest in moving Markkanen.

NBA TRADES, NEWS & RUMORS: Lauri Markkanen, Utah Jazz & Oklahoma City Thunder Updates

They may see him as a building block. It’s entirely possible that Utah wouldn’t entertain moving him unless they were getting an MVP-caliber player in return. Should they consider this deal instead? 

Why The Utah Jazz Do The Deal 

We think so. Losing Markkanen would sting. At the same time, it’s worth asking a question: where is this team going?The Jazz missed the playoffs in 2022-23.

On the other hand, they didn’t land a high lottery pick either. This team appears to be stuck in the middle. Meanwhile, it’s difficult to imagine them getting out of that situation with Markkanen on the roster. He makes them too good to tank – but doesn’t seem to elevate them to contention on his own, either. 

NBA TRADES, NEWS & RUMORS: Lauri Markkanen, Utah Jazz & Oklahoma City Thunder Updates

So, it could make sense to move him. The Thunder would be the best possible partner for the Jazz. Getting their own pick back – without protections – allows them to tank in 2023-24. Throw in two more picks and an intriguing young player in Dieng, and this is a good deal for the Jazz. Does it work for the Thunder? 

Why The Oklahoma City Thunder Do The Deal 

Meanwhile, the Thunder did not appear stuck in the middle last season. In fact, they appeared to be rising closer to the top. The Thunder are a young team on the rise. Could they make a win-now move this summer? 

If so, we like Markkanen for them. The Thunder already have a first offensive option. In 2022-23, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander looked the part of a future MVP candidate. A floor-spacing forward would make for a sensible second option behind the Thunder’s star guard. 

NBA TRADES, NEWS & RUMORS: Lauri Markkanen, Utah Jazz & Oklahoma City Thunder Updates

Losing Dort would sting. Parting ways with Dieng would too – in fact, the Thunder would be selling low on him. With that said, this is still a fair price for the Thunder to pay for a recent All-NBA selection – even if they’re buying high. 

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