Miami Heat interested in former NBA All-Star

According to ESPN's Zach Lowe, the Miami Heat are interested in signing Utah Jazz big man Lauri Markkanen.

Markkanen's name has been popping up in numerous transfer rumors recently, with teams like the Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings also showing interest in signing the former All-Star. However, according to Sarah Todd of the Deseret News, it's likely that the Jazz are gauging Markkanen's market rather than actively offering him.

Markkanen has spent the last two seasons of his career with Utah after joining from the Cleveland Cavaliers. During that time, the Finnish native was selected to an NBA All-Star team and won the award as the player with the greatest improvement in the 2022-23 season. During his career with the Jazz so far, Markkanen has averaged 24.5 points and 8.4 rebounds per game.

Miami Heat interested in former NBA All-Star

Do the Jazz plan to keep Lauri Markkanen long-term?

At the start of free agency, Yahoo Sports' Jake Fisher Shed light on Markkanen's status with the Jazz. In addition, Fischer essentially repeated what Todd had said earlier. According to Fischer, “the Jazz welcome calls about Markkanen.” However, it doesn't seem like the team is desperate to get rid of him.

“The Jazz are actually welcoming offers for Markkanen, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Perhaps Utah will end up having an offseason similar to Brooklyn, where the Nets once planned to sign star prospects alongside Mikal Bridges before deciding their best course of action was to rebuild – thanks to a massive transfer fee from New York. The Jazz, as previously reported by Yahoo Sports, considered a trade for Bridges, had talks with Atlanta about Dejounte Murray and Trae Young, sources said, and worked to put together a group around Markkanen that might have caught George's attention.”

In addition, Fischer points out that the Jazz remain interested in working on a contract extension with Markkanen next month.

“This latest round of Markkanen transfer talks could well be an attempt by the Jazz to gather information from interested teams, or an over-the-top offer on the order of five first-round picks plus an additional unprotected pick swap from the Knicks for Bridges. The Jazz have indicated to various parties in the NBA so far that they still want to renegotiate and extend Markkanen's contract when the two sides are eligible to do so in August, and that listening to offers for Markkanen is simply part of doing good business.”

The last word on Lauri Markkanen

Signing Markkanen could be a good move for the Heat. Last season, Miami finished 46-36 and 8th in the Eastern Conference. They also lost in the first round in five games to the eventual champion Boston Celtics. With Jimmy Butler's future with the team still unclear, it's important for the Heat to make the most of their chance at a championship. And if they can lure him away from Utah, Markkanen could help the team do just that.