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USA Today via Reuters

USA Today via Reuters

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  Debate

Debate

Are the Jazz making a mistake by holding onto Walker Kessler instead of trading with the Knicks?

Over the last few days, Danny Ainge and the Utah Jazz front office have made repeated appearances on the NBA headlines. Firstly, they created a trade frenzy with Lauri Markkanen. Now that the Markkanen pursuit seems to have died down after Ainge’s reluctance, the franchises’ attention, especially the NY Knicks‘, fell on the Jazz big man, Walker Kessler. However, the 65-year-old Exec has pulled off a similar response amidst the Knicks-Kessler pursuit.

Jalen Brunson’s employers looked at the 22-year-old Kessler as the perfect replacement for Isaiah Hartenstein, who recently moved to OKC Thunder. Even though Hartenstein emerged as an outstanding talent in the last season, he came into the Knicks fold as a backup center to Mitchell Robinson. SNY’s Ian Begley revealed that the NY side had “some interest” in Kessler until it was squashed by Ainge.

Begley in his latest report, added, “The Jazz are looking for at least a first-round pick in return for Kessler in these conversations that had gone on earlier in the off-season. So, that’s gonna be a tough price for the Knicks to meet or match. I’d assume that they wouldn’t be able to get that deal done.” The Knicks have burned a lot of picks to rope in Mikal Bridges from the Brooklyn Nets.

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As mentioned earlier, the Jazz had similar reluctance when it came down to Lauri Markkanen, the 2023 Most Improved Player awardee. The 27-year-old forward, who will enter his free agency next August, triggered the franchises that missed out on the recent free agency deadline. An earlier report from Hoopshype revealed that the Jazz was looking for a trade similar to the Knicks’ Mikal Bridges deal.

The Knicks gave away four first-round picks, a right-to-first-round pick swap in 2028, a first-round pick from the Bucks, and a second-round pick in 2025 alongside two players. Interestingly, the Jazz had turned off an offer that matched their initial request.

The Lauri Markkanen situation

The Sacramento Kings were one of the hot pursuits for the Lauri Markkanen trade. The team even presented the Jazz with a picks-heavy deal, but the Utah side still declined it. Importantly, the team expected a young talent along with the picks to give away Lauri. However, the Kings pulled back the offer and signed a deal with DeMar DeRozan.

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Despite the heavy demand from the Jazz, the Golden State Warriors still seemed to be interested in the trade. While the Sac-Town protected Keegan Murray from their offer, the Dubs seemed to have prepared themselves to give away Jonathan Kuminga. Nevertheless, the only downside is that the Dubs have only two first-round picks.

The Bay Area side is definitely desperate to rope in a second star to help Stephen Curry. After the exit of Klay Thompson and Chris Paul, the team couldn’t do much in the off-season trade hunt. Markkanen’s trade seemed to be the team’s last resort to give the Baby-faced Assassin a chance to win his 5th ring. However, Danny Ainge’s reluctance has turned into a big hurdle for the team.

Will the Dubs go all out to trade Lauri Markkanen? Let us know in the comments.

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Before you go, do not forget to check out Shaquille O’Neal’s ex-agent, Leonard Armato, to open up about the infamous Shaq-Kobe feud. Keep checking this space for more such updates.