According to NBA insider Marc Stein, there is a “rising belief leaguewide” that the Utah Jazz is “open to listening to trade pitches to anyone on the roster” outside of Lauri Markkanen or Walker Kessler.
The Jazz is one of the most intriguing teams in the NBA. Having traded away the former face of the franchise Donovan Mitchell and perennial Defensive Player of the Year candidate Rudy Gobert last offseason, it appeared as if the Jazz were preparing to tank for a top pick in the 2023 NBA Draft.
However, when the 2022-23 season started, Markkanen continued to build on his momentum from the 2021-22 season and his FIBA EuroBasket appearance the following summer. Now averaging a career-high 24.8 points per game on 52.0 percent shooting from the field and 42.7 percent from 3-point range, Markkanen is likely a frontrunner for the Most Improved Player award and the Jazz are 8th in the Western Conference with a 24-25 record.
Not that all the credit belongs to Markkanen, of course. The Jazz has also received strong performances from players like Jordan Clarkson (21.2 points per game) and Collin Sexton (14.4 points per game), whom they received in the trade that saw Markkanen sent to Utah in exchange for Mitchell.
Kessler, a rookie center out of Auburn University, has also impressed.
Still, none of the aforementioned players seems suited to be the top option on a championship contender. As a result, the Jazz may still want to put themselves in a position to draft a prospect like Metropolitans 92 big man Victor Wembanyama or G League Ignite guard Scoot Henderson in the upcoming draft. If so, expect the Jazz to be highly active ahead of the NBA Trade Deadline (Feb. 9).