1. Lauri Markkanen
The Jazz are in the middle of a full-scale rebuild and could look to shake things up. They are currently only two games out of tenth in the Western Conference but are rumored to be deadline sellers. Danny Ainge is trying to stockpile assets to build a contender in Salt Lake City, which could mean trading Markkanen at his peak for a significant haul.
The All-Star is making just $17.2 million this season and is under contract for just over $18 million in 2024-25 before becoming an unrestricted free agent. He would be extension-eligible in the offseason, but likely waits until free agency to maximize his earnings.
Markkanen has averaged 25.0 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game since joining the Jazz. He is a career 37.1 percent 3-point shooter, and the seven-footer is still improving. The Pacers could acquire a prime All-Star to pair with Tyrese Haliburton as they attempt to make a run in the Eastern Conference.
Will the Indiana Pacers make a significant splash before the Feb. 8 trade deadline? There have been plenty of rumors, but the franchise should avoid Pascal Siakam. Indiana should be looking for someone with multiple years left on their contract who can grow next to Tyrese Haliburton. Finding that talent won’t be easy, but stay tuned to see what the Pacers pull off.