1) Lauri Markkanen
While it appeared as if the Jazz viewed Markkanen as untouchable around the time of last year’s trade deadline, lately, rumors have suggested that perhaps Utah has changed their mind and is willing to hold discussions for their all-star big man.
While they are technically in no hurry to trade Markkanen now, it would certainly benefit Utah in tanking for a higher draft pick. The Jazz are currently 9-17 and are 12th in the Western Conference, outside of play-in range but not quite bad enough to land a top pick.
While Markkanen is certainly lighting up the stat sheet, averaging 23 points and eight rebounds while shooting 49% from the field and 39% from three, his on-court impact is likely viewed by front offices as a bit less than those numbers show.
Don’t get me wrong; Markkanen’s a great player, but he isn’t a very capable defender, and his numbers are likely at least a bit inflated by playing for a bad team. This isn’t to say that a team shouldn’t trade for Markkanen, but his value isn’t as high as some might expect.
Nonetheless, the Jazz would get a decent return here by acquiring two lightly protected first-round picks and a pick swap, as well as a solid veteran player in Harrison Barnes who could be flipped for more assets.
The Kings would be taking a big risk trading for Markkanen, but it seems as if they’re taking themselves seriously in the West this year, and if they have serious aspirations of making a playoff run, a win-now move like this could be in the cards.