NBA executive links Lauri Markkanen to Lakers as part of ‘dream’ scenario

Jason Simpson
4 Min Read
Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

The 2023-24 Los Angeles Lakers season proved that the Purple and Gold will likely need to bring in some outside help in order to get closer to the promised land, and in the eyes of one NBA general manager, Utah Jazz star Lauri Markkanen would be a dream addition for Los Angeles.

“There are a few teams that, when you look at it, he is going to be their dream target,” the general manager told Heavy Sports. “The Lakers, you get a guy like him with Anthony Davis, and that’s perfect for both guys. The [New York] Knicks would love to get hold of him. The [Miami] Heat, again, put him with Bam [Adebayo] and that is the pair you want to build around, you can send Jimmy [Butler] wherever he wants.

“Just the floor-spacing aspect of it, it’s so valuable. He could make things easier on your stars.”

Markkanen, 27, has spent the last two seasons with the Jazz and is currently under contract for one more season.

“The problem for the Lakers, the best offer is going to be Rui [Hachimura] and Austin Reaves and two first-rounders, let’s say,” the general manager added. “Well, if I am Oklahoma City, I can beat that. If I am Houston, I can beat that. The [Golden State] Warriors can beat it—it’s a long list.

“So the only way that happens is maybe other teams get worried about his injury history and the Lakers are sitting there with the best offer. If Utah knows they’re not gonna extend him, you’d have to consider it. I do think they extend him, but still, you’ve got to consider it.”

Markkanen enjoyed a career year in the 2022-23 campaign. In his first season with the Jazz, he earned an All-Star nod and took home Most Improved Player honors, averaging 25.6 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game.

This season, he was only able to appear in 55 games, but he remained productive, averaging 23.2 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.0 assists per contest.

He has been a 3-point threat throughout his entire NBA career, but during his stint with the Jazz, he has been particularly good from deep, shooting 39.5 percent on 7.9 attempts per game.

For the production he provides, he’ll be playing at a bargain rate next season, as he’s set to earn about $18 million in the last year of his deal. Of course, if the Lakers were to acquire him, they’d likely want to lock him down for multiple years, especially since he’s still on the younger side.

Markkanen could have several good years left in the tank. While he’d have to adjust to a new role with the Lakers — one in which he’d be less of an offensive focal point — he spent time earlier in his career being less of a star and more of a supporting player.

Moreover, if he were to join the Lakers this offseason and ultimately remain with the franchise for years to come, there would possibly be an opportunity for him to take on a star-sized role with the team in the post-LeBron James days.

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Jason is excited about the LeBron James era of Lakers basketball and hopes that the end result will be multiple championships.