Lauri Markkanen is now on his third team in the NBA and the time he found out that the Cleveland Cavaliers included him in a trade package that acquired them Donovan Mitchell from the Utah Jazz is one that he’ll never forget.
Lauri Markkanen initially did not know he was part of the trade, only knowing first via social media that Mitchell was heading to the Cavs, unaware that he was going to the Jazz at the same time.
“I found out on Twitter that we [the Cavaliers] got Donovan Mitchell — but it didn’t say any names [going back in exchange] at that point,” Markkanen shared, via Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune.
It won’t take long before Lauri Markkanen was contacted by Cavs President of Basketball Operations Koby Altman to let him know that he and Cleveland were parting ways.
“This was the first time that it happened that I wasn’t expecting anything. It was kind of a shock. I didn’t hear anything before, I didn’t see my name in any rumors,” Lauri Markkanen added.
“It was emotional. I understand the business side of it, so I’ve got no hard feelings. I thanked them for the opportunity that I had. But the first moments were really emotional for me, because we really liked Cleveland, and thought we’d found a home there,” the Finnish forward further stressed out.
Lauri Markkanen just had the best season of his career with the Cavs during the 2021-22 NBA season. That stretch, he posted a career-high 1.1 VORP (Value Over Replacement Player) and a 5.0 WS (Wins Shares) while averaging 14.8 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per game.
Lauri Markkanen was obviously feeling at home with the Cavs, but now he will have to try to sustain his form in Utah where he should able to find significant playing time, as the Jazz look to rebuild following the Rudy Gobert-Donovan Mitchell era.