Lauri Markkanen Trade Rumors: Kings ‘Were Close to a Deal’ Amid Warriors, Spurs Buzz | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats & Rumors

SACRAMENTO, CA - DECEMBER 16: Lauri Markkanen #23 of the Utah Jazz attempts to pass the ball during the game against the Sacramento Kings on December 16, 2023 at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that by downloading and/or using this photo, user agrees to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2023 NBAE (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)

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According to Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer, the Sacramento Kings were close to a deal for Utah Jazz star Lauri Markkanen.

“The Kings, to my knowledge, were close to a deal earlier this week,” he said during Wednesday’s press conference. No Cap Space podcast (40:30 mark). “I think so, based on the conversations I’ve had. I can’t say more than that, but there have been conversations with people around the NBA that would indicate that the conversations were legitimate there.”

He added that both the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs have reportedly shown interest, but that the Jazz “are going about their business with a 10 percent chance that they’re going to move him.”

With Mikal Bridges already traded to the New York Knicks and Paul George signing with the Philadelphia 76ers, Markkanen has become a hot topic in the NBA rumor mill.

Sactown Sport 1140 @Sactown1140

According to @TjonesonthenbaThe Kings are “very interested” in Lauri Markkanen.
“Sacramento has a strong offer on the board according to the Kings.”

On Tuesday, TNT Sports’ Chris Haynes said the Warriors were the “aggressors” in the pursuit of Markkanen, but that the Spurs “were also involved.”

“It would really put a dent in the Warriors’ roster if they tried to make that deal and let the Jazz bite,” he said. “I’d like to see how they would handle that. But you know Danny [Ainge]he’s hungry for first-round picks. What can the Warriors do to get the picks they need? … I’m told the Warriors, more importantly, are really pursuing, really trying to see what they can do to make it happen.”

Whether the Jazz are interested in a deal for Markkenen, however, is another matter entirely. Much of the reporting has suggested that the Jazz would have to be tempted with an offer they simply couldn’t refuse.

There’s a reason these teams apparently covet Markkanen. The 27-year-old has emerged as one of the NBA’s best stretch-4s, averaging 23.2 points, 8.2 rebounds and two assists last season while shooting 39.9 percent of his three-pointers. An All-Star in 2022-23, he’s made huge strides in his two seasons with the Jazz.

It’s easy to see how he’d fit in with the Warriors, who could use another star alongside Stephen Curry after losing Klay Thompson this offseason. Markkanen’s ability to stretch the floor would work well in Steve Kerr’s offense, essentially replacing Thompson’s impact at the 2 with a stretch-4.

Meanwhile, the Kings are looking for a third star to pair with De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis, though the Jazz would likely want Keegan Murray in such a deal, which should give the Kings pause. Murray is just 23, took a solid step forward last season (15.2 PPG) and is a 38.4 percent three-point shooter for his career.

The Kings have already had a busy and solid offseason, re-signing Malik Monk, drafting Devin Carter at No. 13 overall and acquiring Jalen McDaniels in a trade. Acquiring Markkanen would take that offseason to another level, though giving up Murray may be too high a price to pay.

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