Report: Utah Jazz Make 3 Players Untouchable

The Utah Jazz are one of the wild cards as we approach Thursday's trade deadline. They could buy and they could sell. There's no telling what Jazz CEO Danny Ainge—"Trader Danny"—has up his sleeve. 

"With this particular team, we know we have so many guys that are wanted, so many guys that are in those talks," veteran point guard Mike Conley said. "You know something's going to happen. It can be one, it can be four, it can be three, however many guys." 

But no matter how many guys are dealt, one thing we do know is that three of Utah's players are off-limits in trade talks.

According to Tim MacMahon of ESPN, the Jazz have informed teams that they aren't interested in discussing potential deals involving these three players, who are thought to be long-term building blocks:

Laurie Markkanen

The 25-year-old first-time All-Star came over from Cleveland in the Donovan Mitchell trade, and has embraced the opportunity, putting himself in the running for Most Improved Player. He's averaging 24.8 points and 8.7 rebounds.

Walker Kessler

The 21-year-old first-rounder was also acquired in Ainge's summer sell-off, coming as part of the Rudy Gobert trade to Minnesota. The rookie has quickly established himself as one of the top rim protectors in the NBA averaging 2.1 blocks per game in only 20.4 minutes per contest. In 12 games as a starter, he's posting 11.2 points, 10.3 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game.

Ochai Agbaji

The No. 14 overall pick in last year's draft, Agbaji was also acquired as part of the Mitchell deal. As MacMahon notes, he's been a solid contributor on both ends of the floor even in limited minutes.

So those guys are "untouchable." But as far as what they will do? Ainge is keeping it all in play. "We're not looking to break it up or necessarily go win a championship this year, either. We're trying to do things that will help us long term. We're not looking for a short-term fix so that we can get to the seventh seed instead of the 10th seed, unless it helps us long term."

Photo: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports