Thunder are dreaming of Lauri Markkanen
The Oklahoma City Thunder have a really good team. Their starting lineup is hyper-talented and incredibly skilled, and they have a versatile collection of bench players to plug into the rotation. While there is an argument for them to improve their rebounding, the one true missing piece on the team is a second Top-25 player to serve as Shai Gilgeous-Alexander's wingman.
It's very possible that Jalen Williams or Chet Holmgren (or both) will get there as they hit their primes, but right now they are a tier below. The Thunder have the assets to chase after such a player, but most stars who fit the bill are either not available or are terrible fits with the rest of the Thunder's core. We discussed LeBron James as an excellent fit a few days ago, but it's not very realistic that The King is traded.
One player who would fit this team like a glove is Lauri Markkanen. The Utah Jazz forward has developed into an elite offensive weapon over the past two seasons, a seven-footer who can run off of screens and hit jumpers from anywhere on the court. He can use his size to score on the block, his jumper is unblockable, and his combination of size and shooting not only fits perfectly with the Thunder's ethos but allow him to be a part of nearly any lineup combination.
If the Thunder could use expiring money, a few prospects and a pile of draft picks to land Lauri Markkanen, there is a good chance they would pull the trigger. The issue is that Danny Ainge and the Jazz likely demand Jalen Williams in a deal, and that will be (and should be) a deal-breaker for Oklahoma City. Josh Giddey or Cason Wallace would likely be on the table, but Williams and Holmgren would not.
That's why Markkanen leads the way as both the perfect fit and a pipe dream of a target. The Thunder will do something this week; it won't be trading for Lauri Markkanen, but it may be just as exciting.