The suddenly cash-strapped Utah Jazz still have work to do in free agency to build their roster following the Mike Conley trade.
For the last several months preceding NBA Draft Week, much of the hoops-related talk in the 801 has centered upon the Utah Jazz’s possible pursuit of a big-name free agent on the open market.
Instead of leaving their fate in the hands of players who may or may not want to come to Utah, though, Jazz brass elected to strike early, finally executing the oft-discussed trade with the Memphis Grizzlies for point-man Mike Conley.
Make no mistake about it — it was an exciting move, and a winning one at that. In Conley, the Jazz now have a lockdown defender, pick-and-roll maestro, knockdown shooter and 21-point scorer to pair with Donovan Mitchell in the backcourt. As a result, it’s hard not to consider the team a dark horse title contender next season.
For those of us who were hyped about the free agent frenzy, though, the summer lost a lot of its luster in the wake of the Conley deal. That’s no complaint, mind you; the Jazz have already become an offseason winner with that single move.
But the idea that names like Tobias Harris, D’Angelo Russell and Kemba Walker are off the table after we spent so long talking about them is weird.
That said, free agency still holds the potential for Jazzland fireworks in the lower tiers of the market. The Conley trade depleted the team’s roster in a big, bad way and, while they don’t have a ton of money to spare at this point, the Jazz find themselves with several spots to fill ahead of opening night.
Financially, we’re talking about minimum contracts and the room exception (which will fall at just under $5 million next season). So the Jazz don’t have a ton of wiggle room with which to build their bench. However, there are actually a slew of players who can bring something to the table under those constraints.
With that in mind, and in an effort to get hyped about the potential of July, here’s my list of 15 realistic free agent targets for the Jazz post-Conley trade…