Story time.

Two years ago, in Utah’s inaugural “rebuilding” season, the Jazz determined they had three cornerstone pieces.

“Untouchables” if you will, meaning that despite all the wheeling and dealing the Jazz may participate in, these three players were simply too valuable to even entertain in trade discussions.

Ochai Agbaji

Walker Kessler

Lauri Markkanen

These were the players that would reform the Jazz as we knew them.

Fast forward to today, and the once optimistic future of the Jazz is once again up in the air.

The core 3 is down to 2.

Ochai Agbaji didn’t make it through his sophomore season in Salt Lake City before being shipped off to the Toronto Raptors.

Lauri Markkanen, as valuable as he is, cant help but be inserted into just about every trade discussion available, which is just a common by product for a Utah All-Star.

As the media amps up Markkanen’s trade prospects, no one knows how Danny Ainge and company actually feel.

Will he sign an extension, becoming a long term face for the franchise, or will his ability to bring in more future assets reign supreme?

Walker Kessler, despite a sophomore slump, was the one staying free of any type of rumors or rumblings in terms of trade talk.

Until today.

Fischer, a senior NBA reporter for Yahoo Sports, gets the vibe that other teams are getting the vibe that Utah may be willing to split with the former Auburn big man.

Despite being drafted by Minnesota, Kessler was tasked to fill the shoes of a departed Rudy Gobert while being involved in the trade that got Gobert to the Twin Cities.

His first year in Utah was a major success.

A member of the All-Rookie team, and a 1 time NBA rookie of the month winner, Kessler was as impactful as could be hoped for.

In 74 games for the rookie, Kessler would finish shooting 72 percent from the field for 9.2 Points a night.

Walker would rip down 8.4 total boards a game and send back shots with 2.3 blocks on the nightly.

Kessler was the only person not named Paolo Banchero who got a vote in the 2022-2023 rookie of the year race.

Life was good, the future was bright and Kessler was set to patrol the paint for years to come.

Then came year #2.

The dreaded sophomore slump proved to be reality as Kessler appeared in ten less games (64) and only started 22 of those contests, 18 less than his rookie season.

Kessler saw his numbers decrease in Field Goals (65.4 %), rebounds (7.5) and points (8.1).

He had more turnovers, less blocks (with ten fewer games albeit) despite averaging 0.1 more per game, and struggled to steady the defense as he had in year one.

In fairness to Walker, there was no single player solution to fixing Utah’s defensive woes last season, but the slight decline was most noticeable in the rotation itself.

Walker Kessler played 30 or more minutes 19 times his rookie season, it only happened 7 times last season.

It could be as simple as play style, a personnel fit or a case of uncertainty, but at one point Kessler was a sure thing, now he’s more of a potential thing.

One season with slightly decreased numbers and less impact is no reason to think that Kessler wont have his best days ahead, but at the same time, it also makes him seemingly more replaceable on paper.

What the Jazz ultimately decide to do is in the hands of the front office, but where there’s smoke there’s fire, and the Jazz are burning up as we barrel towards the draft.

Regardless of prior notions or beliefs, it would serve fans best to realize that not a single soul is guaranteed to be a future player of the Utah Jazz, as they still try to figure out the best route to secure that illusive championship.