Warriors Trade Proposal Adds $68 Million All-Star for Young Assets

Warriors potential trade target Lauri Markkanen

Getty Warriors potential trade target Lauri Markkanen

Jazz star Lauri Markkanen was not quite as good as he was in 2022-23, his breakout season in Utah. He was not an All-Star. He will not be a factor in postseason awards. The Jazz took a step backward as a team. When it comes to the possibility of trading him, then, Markkanen should be a bit cheaper than he might have been a year ago. But does that put him in the wheelhouse for a trade to a team that could certainly use him, the Warriors?

It’s a notion brought up at Bleacher Report this week by writer Dan Favale, in a post titled, “1 Trade Target for Every NBA Team This Offseason.” The Warriors target is Markkanen, but getting him to Golden State won’t be easy.

A swap sending out Jonathan Kuminga would be the easy route, but the Warriors have no interest in trading Kuminga. But to keep Kuminga out of the deal, the Warriors will have to send a package of two picks and swaps, and find a way to add another pick to the mix.

It is likely the Warriors would need to find a third team that wants to add Andrew Wiggins, one that would be willing to add young assets to sweeten the pot for the Jazz.

Warriors Trade Would Cost Picks, Youth

A deal could be worked out with Dallas, which has had eyes on Wiggins for two years, that would look like this at its base:

Golden State Warriors get Markkanen

Dallas Mavericks get Andrew Wiggins

Utah Jazz get Moses Moody, Trayce Jackson-Davis, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Josh Green, plus two future first-rounders from the Warriors (and two swaps) and one first-rounder from Dallas.

Would it be enough for the Jazz? The young players are not potential stars, but all could eb solid role players.

The juice is in the picks. The Warriors would slot their picks well into the future (provided they do not win the lottery this year), and Jazz president Danny Ainge can afford to be patient, with the picks coming to bear fruit after Stephen Curry retires. The pick from Dallas would come in 2031, a hazy future gamble for Utah.

Hardaway could either be waived or re-traded. If Ainge wants to eb aggressive in making a big-fish trade, he would have more assets on hand to do so.

Marrkanen averaged 23.9 points last year after winning the NBA’s Most Improved award in 2023. He shot 48% from the field and 39.9% from the 3-point line, and has the size (7-feet) and youth (he turns 27 next month) the Warriors want.

But one factor that might hurt the Jazz’s attempts to trade him remains: Markkanen played just 55 games this season, mostly missing time with a shoulder injury. For a player whose early career was stunted by nonstop injury woes, that will be a hindrance to a deal.

Lauri Markkanen to Stay in Utah?

Favale points out that the Jazz could be willing to keep Markkanen on an extension—he has one year and a reasonable $18 million left on his contract, which runs four years and $68 million. He could also wait until 2025 and be eligible for a bigger contract.

Still, if Marrkanen is a building block in Utah, obviously, he is out as a Warriors target.

“Any move they make must be seismic and clarifying. Lauri Markkanen qualifies. Getting him will be a chore. The Utah Jazz sound willing to pay him. But between the youngins and the (likely) ability to ship out two firsts and up to four swaps, the Warriors have a mishmash of viable starting points,” Favale wrote.

“Pairing Markkanen with Curry, Green, a re-signed Thompson and, let’s say, Kuminga doesn’t guarantee Golden State re-entry into the title discussion. They probably need a higher-level self-creator who’s taller than miniature.”

All that is true. But the Warriors need size, they need some youth and they need to break up their current rut. Markkanen would do that.

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