Jazz don’t plan to trade Lauri Markkanen or Jordan Clarkson, set high price on Jarred Vanderbilt, per report

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The Utah Jazz traded pretty much everybody that wasn’t nailed down last offseason. Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert and Bojan Bogdanovic were all dealt in an apparent rebuilding effort, and as such, it was widely expected that the Jazz would continue to offload veterans during the season to set the stage for a lengthy tank. Instead, they have been the surprise success story of the season. They are 12-7 through 19 games and currently occupy the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference. As such, it seems as though their plans are changing.

According to Yahoo’s Jake Fischer, the Jazz are signaling to other teams that they plan to keep breakout forward Lauri Markkanen as well as incumbent guard Jordan Clarkson. Markkanen was acquired in the Mitchell trade and is a strong candidate for Most Improved Player this season as he’s averaged 22.4 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. Clarkson was in place last season, but has thrived with Mitchell gone as it has allowed him to handle the ball more often for one of the NBA‘s best offenses. In addition to Markkanen and Clarkson, the Jazz have reportedly set a very high price on Jarred Vanderbilt, a forward acquired in the Gobert trade who excels defensively.

All three players are in their 20s and figure to be possible long-term pieces of a Jazz reboot if Utah ultimately does not decide to pivot into the tank. The Jazz do have a number of older veterans like Mike Conley Jr. and Kelly Olynyk who they could deal if they so choose, but given the success of this season, they likely aren’t in any rush to give away talent. Fischer notes that the Jazz are interested in John Collins of the Atlanta Hawks, but the team quickly turned down an offer of him for Markkanen. Collins, in the middle of a hefty five-year contract, would require significant matching salary to come to Utah in a deal.

Whatever Utah does, its early season success has bought it valuable flexibility. The rest of the league knows that the Jazz don’t have to give away their best players for the sake of a tank. If Utah does give anyone away, it will be for fair returning value. 

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