Timberwolves Have Reported Interest in Trading for Blossoming Utah Jazz All-Star Forward

Lauri Markkanen, Utah Jazz
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Timberwolves have moved on from the 2024 NBA Draft and are now focusing on free agency. Options are limited, though, given their status as a 2nd apron luxury tax team. Still, Tim Connelly is trying to swing for whatever veteran minimum fences he can reach.

Earlier Monday, he somehow got Luka Garza to agree to a minimum deal that guarantees little playing time, and they’ve been trying to convince incumbent role players like Kyle Anderson and Monte Morris to take pay cuts too.

Lauri Markkanen to the Minnesota Timberwolves?

Now, according to NBA insider Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, the Wolves are one of a few teams “showing interest” in All-Star Lauri Markkanen, who’s just 27 years old and knows how to get buckets.

The Jazz are indeed welcoming calls on Markkanen, league sources told Yahoo Sports... In addition to Golden State, Sacramento and San Antonio have been the two other teams characterized by league figures with knowledge of the situation as strong possible suitors for Markkanen at this point... Minnesota has shown interest in Markkanen as well, sources said.

Jake Fischer – Yahoo

Markkanen, who is just one season removed from winning the league’s Most Improved Player award, entered the NBA in 2017 with the Chicago Bulls. It was the Timberwolves who drafted him, though, before making him a main piece in their trade for Jimmy Butler.

Throughout Markkanen’s first seven years in the league, he has consistently been a double-digit scorer. But his numbers shot through the roof once he arrived in Utah for the 2022-23 season. As a member of the Jazz, Markkanen averaged 25 points and over 8 rebounds per night.

YearTeamGPGSMPGFG%3P%FT%RPGAPGSPGBPGPPG
2017–18Chicago686829.70.4340.3620.8437.51.20.60.615.2
2018–19Chicago525132.30.430.3610.87291.40.70.618.7
2019–20Chicago505029.80.4250.3440.8246.31.50.80.514.7
2020–21Chicago512625.80.480.4020.8265.30.90.50.313.6
2021–22Cleveland616130.80.4450.3580.8685.71.30.70.514.8
2022–23Utah666634.40.4990.3910.8758.61.90.60.625.6
2023–24Utah555533.10.480.3990.8998.220.90.523.2
Career403377310.4590.3750.8667.31.50.70.518.1
Basketball-Reference

Markkanen would bring a significant offensive boost to the Timberwolves, but with his current season cost exceeding $18 million and a potential extension looming, Minnesota may need to part with a player or two to make room. That wouldn’t be a problem, because the Jazz aren’t looking to give him away for free.

How big of a deal would this be?

If Tim Connelly can work out a trade that lands Markkanen, I’m not sure Jaden McDaniels keeps his starting job. Could McDaniels be part of the package sent back to Utah? That certainly can’t be ruled out. Could this be part of a bigger deal for Karl-Anthony Towns? How could we rule that out either?

Related: Luka Garza is Somehow Returning to the Minnesota Timberwolves

If this deal were to go down, it would be (at the very least) a semi-blockbuster. The type of trade that would shake up the way we look at this Minnesota Timberwolves roster today. That’s how big of a deal this would be.

Clearly, the Timberwolves are committed to going all in on the 2024-25 season and any trade for Lauri Markkanen would hammer that point home (yet again).

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