5 trades to land James Harden a co-star on the Houston Rockets
By Jack Simone
2. Lauri Markkanen
Fresh off of his first All-Star season, Lauri Markkanen might not be on the table in trade talks for the Utah Jazz. But should he be? This could be the perfect time for them to capitalize on his value.
The Houston Rockets would be trading for an elite offensive fit next to James Harden. Markkanen just wrapped up one of the most efficient seasons in basketball for a high-volume scorer.
Next to Harden, Markkanen would be able to space the floor and add some great length on the defensive end. He’d make a great secondary option in Houston.
The Rockets would also be bringing back Kelly Olynyk in this deal, who had a great stretch with them just a couple of years ago. He’d be perfect big man depth.
For the Jazz, this deal would see them take advantage of the value Markkanen built for himself this past year, sort of like what the San Antonio Spurs did with Dejounte Murray last summer.
Rather than trying to put a decent playoff team around Markkanen, trading him for Jabari Smith Jr., the fourth pick, and Kevin Porter Jr. would amplify Utah’s young core and fill it with high-potential players.
Utah would take a step back in the short term, but if Smith Jr. and whoever they take with the fourth pick can grow nicely next to Walker Kessler, this trade could benefit them in the long run.
As of now, it seems unlikely that Utah will look to move Markkanen, but again, capitalizing on his value could be an intriguing option.
Potential starting lineups:
Rockets: James Harden, Jalen Green, Jae’Sean Tate, Lauri Markkanen, Alperen Sengun
Jazz: Kevin Porter Jr., Collin Sexton, Ochai Agbaji, Jabari Smith Jr., Walker Kessler