Report: Miami Heat showing interest in Lauri Markkanen

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Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat are among a laundry list of NBA teams that have expressed interest in trading for Utah Jazz star big man Lauri Markkanen, according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe.

“Trading Lauri Markkanen would buy Utah a one-way ticket toward the front of the tank line, and Markkanen indeed stands as perhaps the league’s most intriguing trade chip with Mikal Bridges now in New York,” Lowe wrote. “A pile of teams have shown interest in him, including the San Antonio Spurs, Sacramento Kings, Miami Heat and [Golden State] Warriors, sources said.”

Markkanen, 27, is one of the more talented power forwards in the NBA today. He was limited to just 55 appearances with the Jazz during the 2023-24 regular season but averaged 23.2 points while shooting 48.0 percent from the floor on top of 8.2 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game.

He averaged the most points per game of any player on the Jazz by a wide margin and averaged the second-most rebounds behind only John Collins, who averaged 8.5 in his maiden season in Utah.

Perhaps what separates Markkanen from most players his size is his effectiveness as a 3-point shooter. Nearly half of his shot attempts from the floor came from deep, and he knocked down an impressive 39.9 percent of his 3s.

Markkanen’s 3-point percentage was the fourth-best on the 2023-24 iteration of the Jazz, but the three players with superior percentages — Kelly Olynyk, Micah Porter and Johnny Juzang — each attempted 3.9 shots from deep per game or fewer.

Considering Markkanen’s elite ability to score the ball, the Heat could seemingly benefit from adding a player of his caliber, especially when taking into account that Miami debatably doesn’t have another starting-caliber player at the power forward spot outside of Jimmy Butler, who has spent much of his NBA career playing the small forward position.

Kevin Love — while still an impactful player thanks to his knack for pulling down rebounds and spacing the floor — is long in the tooth at this stage of his career, as he will turn 36 years old in September. Plus, Nikola Jovic had an auspicious 2023-24 campaign with Miami, but it’s hard to argue that Markkanen wouldn’t be a major upgrade over the 21-year-old.

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Jesse is a 23-year-old sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA.