Fascinating plot emerges in Golden State Warriors pursuit of 2023 All-Star

Golden State Warriors v Utah Jazz
Golden State Warriors v Utah Jazz / Alex Goodlett/GettyImages

After the L.A. Clippers proved unwilling to complete a Paul George trade prior to free agency last week, the Golden State Warriors' next star-calibre target appears to be Utah Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen.

Speculation that Danny Ainge and the Jazz could move on their best player has risen in the past few days, with the Warriors viewed as the "aggressors" in Markkanen talks according to Bleacher Report's Chris Haynes earlier this week.

Lauri Markkanen's extension eligibility provides an interesting factor in the Golden State Warriors hopes of landing the 2023 All-Star

Aside from the seemingly ideal fit of Markkanen from an on-court perspective, his $18 million contract for next season makes him an attractive target as one of the most team-friendly deals in the league. However, as reported by NBA insider Marc Stein on Friday, that may also impede Utah from getting the maximum value possible with only one year left on the 27-year-old's deal.

Why would Golden State send out all their future first-round picks and young players when there's a risk that Markkanen could leave as an unrestricted free agent next offseason? So, what's the alternative? The Jazz could wait till August 6 when Markkanen becomes extension eligible, then look to trade him beyond that.

Yet as Stein outlines, that becomes problematic with a very tight window between when Markkanen would be trade eligible, and the timeframe of next year's mid-season deadline.

"One more interesting and incredibly important wrinkle here: Next season's trade deadline is Feb. 6 — eight days before All-Star Weekend (Feb. 14-16) begins in San Francisco. This is hugely important because Markkanen can't be traded for six months after signing an extension in Utah. Six months after Aug. 6 happens to be Feb. 6."

Marc Stein

The Jazz would have to sign Markkanen to an extension no later than August 6 for him to be tradable on the final day of the mid-season deadline, otherwise they'd have to wait until this time next year. The issue for Utah is that if they're motivated to trade Markkanen, it's because they want to enter a more full-blown rebuild.

Why would they want to wait any longer to undertake that? If Utah sign him to an extension, their record may be too good, and their hopes of a landing a top three pick almost over, by the time Markkanen is trade-eligible over halfway through the season.

This provides a fascinating storyline on where the Jazz wish to go over the next month. One thing is for sure though, you can expect there to remain a steep price if the Warriors want to succeed in adding Markkanen as a secondary star for two-time MVP Stephen Curry.