Lauri Markkanen shares a joke between him and Rudy Gobert

2022-09-23 09:59

Lauri Markkanen revealed that the trade from Cavaliers to Jazz caught him by surprise, and he didn't initially know he was traded away even after the news broke. Almost two weeks later, Rudy Gobert jokingly offered to buy him house in Utah.

Credit: dpa/picture-alliance-Scanpix
Credit dpa/picture-alliance-Scanpix

On the eve of the start of his EuroBasket 2022 journey with the Finnish national team, Lauri Markkanen was traded from Cleveland Cavaliers to the Utah Jazz in a package centered around Donovan Mitchell.

Talking with The Salt Lake Tribune, the forward revealed how he found out about the trade.

He was hanging out with his teammates and playing video games. During a break in between, the player decided to check his social media. 

Lauri Markkanen

Lauri  Markkanen
Position: PF, C
Age: 25
Height: 213 cm
Weight: 116 kg
Birth place: Finland

"I found out on Twitter that we got Donovan Mitchell, but it didn't say any names at that point," Markkanen recalled. The group started wondering who the involved players might be. "Oh, I wonder if I'm going to Utah," he even said.

Not even a minute later, a call from the Cavaliers President of Basketball Operations Koby Altman came where he explained the situation to the Finnish star.

"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," the player said. "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."

"I actually saw a text from a neighbor in Cleveland first. He was like, 'Oh man, I saw the news. Let me know if I can help you guys with anything.' And I was like, 'What?'" Markkanen's wife Verna Aho recalled.

It was not the first time Markkanen had been involved in a blockbuster trade. When the Minnesota Timberwolves drafted him in 2017, the club was in the process of landing Jimmy Butler. Last summer, the Finnish forward signed a new four-year deal with the Chicago Bulls but was later used in a sign-and-trade deal to ultimately land in Cleveland.

Markkanen knew about the deals ahead of time in both cases. This time it was different. However, an unexpected encounter happened almost two weeks later when Finland transferred to Berlin for the EuroBasket playoffs.

"I saw Rudy [Gobert] in the hotel lobby in Berlin, and he asked me if I want to buy his house," Markkanen remembered.

"I always have a positive mindset that maybe this is home that we've found," the forward concluded.

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