Jazz Notes: Trade Candidates, Markkanen, George, Hendricks

There will likely be no shortage of Jazz veterans available on the trade market this season. Following up on reporting from Michael Scotto of HoopsHype and Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune, Marc Stein confirms in his latest Substack story that guards Jordan Clarkson and Collin Sexton and big man Kelly Olynyk are cited frequently by rival executives as players Utah is thought to be willing to move.

According to Stein, there’s also “palpable” curiosity from some teams about the Jazz’s long-term plans for Lauri Markkanen, the franchise’s top scorer and lone 2023 All-Star.

As Stein notes, Larsen wrote this week that Markkanen is at the top of the list of players the Jazz want to keep, so the odds that the Finnish forward will be involved in a midseason trade seem low. However, Stein says there’s a “rising belief” that there will be a club or two willing to “test Utah’s resolve” by making a play for Markkanen.

Here’s more on the Jazz:

  • Utah got good news on rookie Keyonte George, who injured his left foot during the team’s win over New York on Wednesday. As Larsen relays (via Twitter), the Jazz announced on Thursday that an MRI showed George avoided significant damage. The first-year guard missed Thursday’s game in Portland and will remain sidelined for Saturday’s contest in Sacramento before being reevaluated when the club returns home.
  • After making a brief appearance in Utah’s season opener and then not playing at all in the next 18 games, lottery pick Taylor Hendricks has been getting a longer look as of late, averaging 20.9 minutes per night in the team’s past six games. The early returns have been up and down, but Hendricks was a plus-25 in Wednesday’s victory and recorded 10 points and seven rebounds in Thursday’s win, earning praise for his effort, especially on defense. “He’s playing really hard. He’s still learning the detail part of it all,” Jazz head coach Will Hardy said before Thursday’s game, per Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune. “… His activity is great. All I’m asking of Taylor right now is that he just plays as hard as he can. Because he has an ability to block in transition, gets his hand on a couple of passes with his length — his athleticism really shows up.”
  • It’s too early to tell whether Utah’s consecutive wins this week are a blip on the radar or the start of the Jazz turning a corner on their season, writes Tony Jones of The Athletic. Still, as Jones details, there have been some positive signs, including good ball movement, quality defense from Hendricks and Walker Kessler, and some of Sexton’s best scoring nights of the fall.
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