A new name appears on the Sacramento Kings' list of potential power forward upgrades

Oct 25, 2023; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA;  Utah Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen (23) is fouled while shooting by Sacramento Kings forward Domantas Sabonis (10) during the second half at Delta Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 25, 2023; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Utah Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen (23) is fouled while shooting by Sacramento Kings forward Domantas Sabonis (10) during the second half at Delta Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports / Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

It is no secret that the Sacramento Kings are in the market for an upgrade at the power forward position. So far, the names we have seen tied to their search are Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Jerami Grant, and Cameron Johnson.

However, on Monday, we saw another name added to the list. Yahoo Sports NBA Insider Jake Fischer reported that the Kings have been inquiring about Lauri Markkanen. Here is what he said.

""In addition to Golden State, Sacramento and San Antonio have been the two other teams characterized by league figures with knowledge of the situation as strong possible suitors for Markkanen at this point. For the Kings to land Markkanen, NBA personnel believe the Jazz would require Sacramento to part with Keegan Murray, and that might leave other trade options like Brandon Ingram as a more palatable outcome for the Kings.""

Jake Fischer, Yahoo Sports

Of all the power forwards the Kings have been connected to, Markkanen is probably the best player of the bunch (at least in my opinion). As I mentioned in my in-depth breakdown of Markkanen in December, he is one of the most dangerous second options on offense in the NBA, thanks to his blend of perimeter and interior play-finishing. Last season, Markkanen finished in the 94th percentile in scoring volume (24.9 points per 75 possessions) and the 87th percentile in scoring efficiency (63.1% true shooting).

On top of that, he has the size to provide the positional rim protection we are always going on about on this website. At 7'0 tall, Markkanen has had four seasons (in his seven year career) where he has finished in the 52nd percentile or higher in block rate. That's not as great as some of the other guys they have been rumored to be interested in (like Kuzma and Grant), but it is still pretty good, given all the invaluable stuff he brings to the offensive side of the ball.

A Hefty Price For The Kings To Pay

Another thing I discussed in the article was how Markkanen, at the time, was worth the equivalent of five first round picks.

""With that in mind, if we’re operating under the assumption that he’s an All-Star caliber player, the last time a player of his pedigree was moved was in October when Jrue Holiday was traded to the Boston Celtics.

Back then, the Celtics gave up two first-round picks, Robert Williams III and Malcolm Brogdon. At that time, prior to Williams’ latest season-ending injury, it was fair to say that both he and Brogdon could have garnered a first-round pick on their own in the open market. So, basically, the Celtics traded four first-round picks for Holiday.

Markkanen isn’t nearly as battle-tested as Holiday, especially considering he’s never even played in a playoff game. But he is seven years younger than Holiday and on a deal that is just as long (expires at the end of the 2024-25 season) and nearly half as expensive.

With those factors in mind, it isn’t that bizarre to believe that Markkanen could land the Jazz one more first-round pick (or the player equivalent of a first-round pick) than the Portland Trail Blazers got for Holiday.""

Mat Issa, Basketball Insiders

I say "at the time" because when I wrote the article, Markkanen still had two playoff runs left on his team-friendly deal. Now, the team trading for him is only getting one playoff run before he enters unrestricted free agency, and there is no guarantee that he will stay with the team that trades for him after that. This mystery likely diminishes his value (probably down to the equivalent of four first round picks).

That brings us back to Fischer's report. The Kings likely don't have enough pure draft capital to entice the Utah Jazz to move Markkanen (who, by the way, has yet to even formally request a trade). So, to sweeten the pot, they may need to add Keegan Murray to the deal (a player who could command two first round picks on the open market himself).

That's a severe price to pay, even for a player of Markkanen's caliber. As we will discuss in an article coming out soon here at A Royal Pain, players like Murray are very difficult to come across. There are very few situations where I would make him available.

Is Markkanen worth that sacrifice? I'm not entirely sure. But one thing is for certain: of all the names that the Kings have been connected to, he's the one I'd be most likely to do it for.

Next. Draft Analysts Devin Carter. Draft Analysts Tell Kings Fans What To Expect From Devin Carter. dark