3. Lauri Markkanen
Markkanen would likely prefer to be contending for a playoff spot, but he has been forced to trade spaced and join Will Hardy’s ragtag bunch. Markkanen might be a projected starter right now, but Utah could easily roll with Jarred Vanderbilt and get some assets in exchange for the Finnish vet.
Markkanen averaged 14.8 points and 5.7 rebounds per game with 44/36/87 shooting splits. A 6-10 forward who thrives from the perimeter, Markkanen seems like the type of player Ujiri and Nick Nurse typically will move mountains to acquire. Patrick Beverley didn’t stay, and Markkanen might not either.
Lauri Markkanen might fit with the Toronto Raptors.
While Markkanen has a minimum of two years left on his deal, the Raptors might be able to acquire him if they can give away a first-round pick in addition to salary filler. That might sound like a lot, but he’ll be more valuable than a late first-round pick if he becomes a consistent double-digit scorer for a championship contender.
While Thad Young and Chris Boucher make up a tremendous power forward punch in the backcourt, Markkanen is just a cut above. Cleveland made a powerful statement, so the Raptors need to punch back with something in the next few months.