Newly-acquired Utah Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen recalled his reaction to the trade news while he was leading the Finland NT the EuroBasket.
In addition to being one of the best players in the EuroBasket 2022, Markkanen was one of the centerpieces in the deal that saw the Jazz sending All-Star shooting guard Donovan Mitchell to the Cavaliers.
“It was kind of a shock,” Markkanen said in an interview with Eric Walden of the Salt Lake Tribune. I didn’t hear anything before, I didn’t see my name in any rumors… 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.”
This is the second consecutive offseason relocation Markkanen has undergone during his NBA career, after being involved in a sign-and-trade deal between the Bulls, the Blazers and the Cavaliers last offseason.
In the summer of 2021, he joined Cleveland by inking a four-year, $67.5 million. He started as the team’s small forward for the first time in his NBA career and averaged 14.8 points on 44/35/86 shooting splits, 5.7 rebounds, and 1.3 assists.