Lauri Markkanen is willing to extend the contract from the Utah Jazz but how much is the team willing to offer?
The Utah Jazz have Lauri Markkanen under contract for two more seasons, with the 2024-2025 portion of his contract partially guaranteed. It was a contract he signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers while a technical member of the Chicago Bulls, and was seen by many as a gamble by the Cavaliers. Markkanen has been inconsistent during his first few years in the league, but despite not having an impressive stat streak, he has really come into his own for the Cavs.
He was a key part of the deal the Cavs made for Donovan Mitchell, and his arrival to Utah has reshaped the expectations the club continues to have moving forward. The Jazz shifted from “Full Rebuild” to “Full Reloaded,” looking more and more like a team about to return to the playoff picture after only a year out of it.
Almost a year they did not need it, because they failed to participate in the tournament. Over the past two seasons, Markkanen has demonstrated reliability and consistency with his shooting, and with the Jazz building their offense around him, centering the action through Markkanen, he’s become the player everyone thought he’d be when he landed with the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 2017 NBA Draft.
Now, after a breakout year, what would Jazz realistically have to offer him on a contract extension? He’s currently making less than $20 million a year, and if he has another All-Star year, that’s pretty cheap for what he brings to the table. If he gets another All-Star spot and helps carry the Jazz to not only playoff but also playoff success, it would be fair to say he’s worth more than $18 million.
Being sensible, considering that you don’t want to overpay anyone and everyone, your max should be no more than $30 million annually.
Preferably, you would want to have the $25M paper for the first year or so, after which it can move up to the upper $20+M range as he can continue to prove his value and worth in court. Anything gone may be too much for Markkanen.
However, if he exceeds even the expectations that have already been put forward, say he has a realistic shot at MVP, he’s probably worth more than $30 million a year.
And if he wins an NBA title and the most valuable player in the NBA Finals, it could make him more than $45 million annually. So it’s just a matter of how well the team performs, and how much it affects the team’s success. But if we think his most recent year, the 2022-2023 season, was the best he could do which is his new normal, then hopefully somewhere between $25-28 million.