Inflated price for young center hints at Warriors difficulty in trading for All-Star

Utah Jazz v Golden State Warriors
Utah Jazz v Golden State Warriors / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages

The Golden State Warriors are in the hunt to land 2023 All-Star Lauri Markkanen in the coming weeks, but they're dealing with a notoriously tough negotiator in Utah Jazz executive Danny Ainge.

The 65-year-old holds the reputation of extracting maximum possible value for his players, leaving some Warrior fans nervous on what sort of package the franchise will need to give up to get Ainge and the Jazz to relent in trading their best player.

Utah's reported asking price for Walker Kessler suggests the Golden State Warriors will find it difficult to pull off a Lauri Markkanen trade

While there's been little in the way of major updates on Markkanen over the past few days, Ainge's tough stance has been showcased in his reported rejection of an offer for talented young center Walker Kessler.

According to SNY's Ian Begley, "teams had offered two first-round picks to Utah in recent weeks and were rebuffed." That comes after Begley had earlier reported that the Jazz were after at least one first round pick for Kessler.

It's difficult to ascertain exactly how much value Utah place on Kessler -- first-round picks aren't created equal given they depend on protections and from which team they're actually coming from. Regardless, the price appears exorbitantly high for the 22nd overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft.

Kessler averaged 9.2 points, 8.4 rebounds and 2.3 blocks in an impressive rookie season that culminated in All-Rookie First Team honors. His second season was slightly less productive in averaging 8.1 points and 7.5 rebounds, though he still recorded 2.4 blocks in 23.3 minutes per game.

His 7'1" size and shot-blocking ability could be valuable to Golden State as another piece in a Markkanen trade, yet the asking price for both would appear to be astronomical based on Begley's Kessler report.

The Warriors are currently playing the waiting game on Markkanen, with his extension-eligibility date of August 6 sure to provide further clarity on whether he's truly obtainable or if this has been nothing but an exercise of gauging his value.