Pacers Trade For Jazz’s Lauri Markkanen In Bold Proposal

Lauri Markkanen, Indiana Pacers, Utah Jazz, NBA Trade Rumors
NBA Analysis Network

The NBA’s Most Improved Player award is a prestigious one. Being recognized as the player to improve the most out of any player in the NBA is quite an accomplishment. After all, isn’t improvement always the goal? 

In 2022-23, the award went to Lauri Markkanen of the Utah Jazz. He was a deserving winner. Meanwhile, Markkanen is still young. He still has room to improve. Surely, the Jazz are committed to him as a member of their core, right? 

Perhaps. On the other hand, Markkanen’s trade value may never raise beyond the point that it’s currently at. It may seem counterintuitive, but if the Jazz wanted to trade him, they could justify it. Could they send him to the Indiana Pacers? 

The Trade Proposal 

Utah Jazz Receive: G T.J. McConnell, F/C Daniel Theis, 2024 First-Round Pick (IND), 2026 First-Round Pick (IND), 2028 First-Round Pick (IND) 
Indiana Pacers Receive: F Lauri Markkanen 

Let’s take a look at previous Most Improved Player winners. They could tell us something about Markkanen. The last player to win the award before Markkanen was Ja Morant.

Obviously, he’s earmarked for stardom. Prior to Morant, Julius Randle won the award. He followed that up with a mediocre season, and then this past year, he bounced back. 

NBA TRADES, NEWS & RUMORS: Lauri Markkanen, Indiana Pacers & Utah Jazz Updates  

Brandon Ingram. Pascal Siakam. These are the previous two winners, but going further back yields more interesting results. Victor Oladipo won the award in 2018, and Giannis Antetkoumnpo before him. Do the Jazz think Markkanen is an Oladipo or an Antetokoumnpo? Should they trade him before they have a chance to find out? 

Why The Utah Jazz Do The Deal 

In all likelihood, Markkanen is neither. A freak injury knocked Oladipo off course. Meanwhile, Markkanen isn’t likely to hit Antetokoumnpo’s level, either. 

That’s the point here. In all likelihood, you can’t build a champion around Markkanen. With that in mind, it could make sense for the Jazz to sell high in case his stock slips. Following this deal, they’d be tanking. Of course, that may not appeal to Utah fans – after all, they don’t own their own first-round pick next year.

NBA TRADES, NEWS & RUMORS: Lauri Markkanen, Indiana Pacers & Utah Jazz Updates   

Sure. Here’s what they would own – the second-best collection of draft capital in the NBA. If the Oklahoma City Thunder make a consolidation trade soon, the Jazz would have the most future first-round picks in the NBA. Suppose they tank for two seasons and draft a superstar in 2025. Now, they’ll be able to trade for his co-star instantly. Should the Pacers set them up so nicely? 

Why The Indiana Pacers Do The Deal 

Meanwhile, there will be no tanking in Indiana. The word isn’t in this organization’s vocabulary. It never has been. 

With that in mind, the Pacers had a fairly competitive 2022-23 season. Still, they missed the playoffs. If they aren’t going to tank, there’s no reason to hoard their own draft picks. The Pacers aim to improve, and this deal improves them.

NBA TRADES, NEWS & RUMORS: Lauri Markkanen, Indiana Pacers & Utah Jazz Updates   

If they think Tyrese Haliburton is a franchise-caliber player, this should be especially enticing. Meanwhile, the Pacers should think Haliburton is on that level. He flashed tremendous potential in 2023-24. Why not add the league’s Most Improved Player as his long-term co-star? 

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