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Favors, Jerebko Lead the Way in Jazz’s Rout of Nuggets

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With no games on the Saturday or Sunday, it seemed like a good opportunity for a Salt City Hoops Q&A. To my surprise, only question came in about the team as presently constituted1. The rest focused on potential future Jazzmen, including G-Leaguers, trade targets, or free agents. 

On to the questions!

 

What would have to happen to replace Derrick Favors in the starting lineup? – @caseygreer2

Casey chimes in with the only question about the Jazz on the court, as opposed to a potential personnel move, so he’s first in line.

First off, Favors is a huge asset to the Utah Jazz. It’s hard to imagine the Jazz being able to find a more talented backup center for the minutes Rudy Gobert rests or (God forbid) any games Gobert misses. On the current roster, those minutes would be taken by the steady but offensively limited Ekpe Udoh, or in theory second-year man Tony Bradley, who has yet to play 10 NBA games or 30 NBA minutes.

That said, fans often question Favors’ fit in the starting lineup, probably with good reason. Advanced stats make it pretty clear that the starting lineup is outplayed pretty handily by the Rubio-Mitchell-Ingles-Crowder-Gobert combo, and it’s not really close. Starters have tallied a 0.6 net rating to date, while the same lineup with Crowder in for Favors scores a 17.5 net rating. Across the board, the numbers favor a Favors-less, Crowder-ful team on the floor. Shooting is better and the ball moves better; only rebounding percentage is slightly better with the Favors lineup.

So what has to happen for Crowder to get the start and for Favors to come off the bench? Honestly, I’m surprised it hasn’t happened already, given what I perceive as Quin Snyder’s affinity for a stretch four on the floor. Last season Crowder was new to the Jazz and less prepared physically, so not making the change then was understandable. This season the sample size is still fairly small. At some point, if the results stay the same or close, I think Snyder makes the change unless he feels like he would lose Favors in the process.

I have more thoughts about how that rotation might work, but if I get into that, this will become an entire column, not an answer to a single question.

 

Do the Jazz have any rights to (SLC Stars forward) Willie Reed? Or does he just play for the Stars? – @deige22

In short, he just plays for the Stars. Only NBA assignees (Tony Bradley in the Jazz/Stars case) or players with Two-Way Contracts (Naz Mitrou-Long and Tyler Cavanaugh) have contracts with the NBA affiliate. As such they are only eligible to be called up by that affiliate, not by other teams.

The vast majority of G-League players sign a contract with the league, not the NBA affiliate, and this is the case with G-League draft picks like Reed. The Stars have no exclusive right to call him up to the Jazz; any NBA team that wants to call Reed up can do so. That said, the Stars selected him, so the Jazz may have had some interest in evaluating him up close. They seem somewhat pleased with the pick, having filmed his introductions with the front office and interviewing him during a Jazz game2. If the Jazz want to retain Reed longer term, they could opt to offer Reed either a Two-Way Contract or a full NBA contract (presumably for the minimum salary, although the Jazz could use an exception to offer more). Either option would require the Jazz to clear a roster spot.

In his first three games, Reed has likely turned some heads somewhere in the league, averaging 30.7 ppg on .755 FG%, 13.7 rpg and 1.3 bpg. If he keeps that up for long, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see someone call him up. He’s very long (although not a stretch four or five – a potential strike against him in today’s NBA), and he has NBA experience.

 

What’s the next significant move the Jazz make and when? – @Jazzies12

There are a couple ways to answer this question. The first is that any move Dennis Lindsey makes could be significant. When the Jazz claimed Joe Ingles off waivers, nobody called that a significant move, and yet he has been proven to be an NBA starter and a huge asset for the Jazz. In hindsight, that was a significant move.

That said, I assume you mean a SIGNIFICANT move, like bringing in a high-level player who is already proven and a good fit, then adding the Jazz development and system like a cherry on top. The short answer is that it could happen any time. There could be a blockbuster trade tomorrow (but I doubt it), or there could be a move at the deadline that qualifies as significant. In my opinion, the best chance for a significant move is a free agent pickup during the offseason, and we’ll talk about that more later.

 

When is Favors eligible to be traded (not that I want that – he played really well yesterday – just curious on options)? – @trueblueclint

That’s a simple answer, so I won’t belabor this one. Because Derrick Favors was signed with Larry Bird rights and the Jazz are over the salary cap, Favors can’t be traded until January 153.

 

I’m really curious about trade ideas, mostly dealing with Favors or Alec Burks. Seems like expiring contracts don’t carry the same weight they used to. I feel like the Jazz need more shooting, any thoughts on who and what they’d cost? – @dallas_sawyer

It is true that expiring contracts haven’t been as valuable in recent years as they once were, but with a larger crop of good free agents in 2019, we might see a shift.

Even with Burks’ resurgence this year, I sense that the Jazz and Burks will part ways next July 2019, when he will be an unrestricted free agent. It may be his decision or the team’s, or it may very well be mutual. If I’m reading those tea leaves correctly, it would make sense to move Burks if the Jazz get a chance to gain some kind of asset, as long as that asset doesn’t hamper future flexibility.

Favors is a different story. I don’t know if the Jazz will pick up the guarantee for the second year of Favors’ contract, but the harsh reality is that the Jazz need him for the reasons stated above. The Jazz might survive without power forward Derrick Favors, but they really need backup center Derrick Favors. He shouldn’t be traded unless it improves the team, and that would have to include a capable backup center either coming back in the deal or joining the team some other way.

Finally, I agree the Jazz could use a little more consistent shooting, but improving shooting via trade doesn’t necessarily equate to improving the team. For example, the worst three-point shooters so far have been Ricky Rubio and Dante Exum. Any shooter the Jazz acquire in a deal likely doesn’t take minutes from either player, but from a someone who is shooting better (like Burks at .579 from three). Donovan Mitchell is also shooting a subpar percentage, but I’m pretty sure I don’t want to sit him so that a career great shooter like Kyle Korver can launch some threes. For the moment, I think shooting improvement comes from in-season improvement, but obviously that assessment could change if it continues to be a problem at the 20, 30 or 40-game mark.

 

Do you think the Jazz are real players in free agency, or should they focus on the trade deadline to build next year’s roster like they did last season? – @JamonWinegar

Everything I’ve read (no inside information from me, sorry!) tells me that Plan A is free agency. The Jazz feel like they can be players not at the very top of the free agent list, but in the range where they can still get a player they want. More on those types of players later.

In order to abandon Plan A in February in favor of a deadline deal, the Jazz would want to get a similar type of player with a reasonable amount of time left on a contract. If they can’t do that, I think they wait and roll the dice in the summer. There’s an exception for deals involving taking on expiring contracts, as those don’t affect Plan A.

 

Do you think the Jazz will go after Tobias Harris or Khris Middleton in free agency? – @newbymiles89

I think both players are on Lindsey’s radar, and are exactly the type of player the Jazz expect to compete for next July, not the Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving tier. Both are 20-point scorers, but are somewhat under the radar, Middleton due to playing with the Greek Freak, and Harris because he’s been around the league a bit. Given a choice, I’d pick Middleton, but nothing happens in a vacuum, and Harris isn’t a bad consolation prize.

 

Thanks to everyone for the questions! We’ll do this again in a few weeks!

Ken’s connection to the Jazz started in the mid 1980s in the old Salt Palace and hasn’t really missed a beat since. Ken lives in the Phoenix area, where he and his wife operate their own business. Ken tweets at @k_clayt.


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NBA Trades, Summer League Recap, PF focus

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@john_keeffer and @jaredwoodcox.

Next: Utah Jazz Podcast: Free Agency frenzy, Jazz stand pat, SL recap

Also, be sure to keep up to date with the Three-Point Threat Podcast via Twitter, iTunes, Google Play, Spreaker and TheJNotes.com!



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How will blockbuster Kawhi and Melo trades affect the Utah Jazz?

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Blockbuster moves from fellow Western Conference teams will only make life harder for the Utah Jazz in 2018-19.

Aside from the ESPY-winning Donovan Mitchell, the Utah Jazz haven’t made many headlines this summer. Amidst a chaotic offseason, the Jazz played things pretty conservative, merely re-signing their own free agents, Derrick Favors, Dante Exum and Raul Neto.

Still, that doesn’t mean they’ve been inactive or imprudent. Instead, they’ve been just the opposite, carefully making the best plan for their squad.

Nevertheless, there’s no denying that they didn’t have nearly as flashy of an offseason as some of their other counterparts across the league. LeBron James joined the Los Angeles Lakers, DeMarcus Cousins joined the already stacked Golden State Warriors and DeAndre Jordan joined the Dallas Mavericks, to name a few.

But the big-time moves didn’t end there as in the past couple days, a pair of blockbuster trades have gone down that could dramatically alter the landscape of the league. First, it was reported on Wednesday that Kawhi Leonard had been traded to the Toronto Raptors. He was joined by teammate Danny Green while All-Star DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a 2019 first-round pick were sent back to the San Antonio Spurs.

Then on Thursday, it was announced that the Oklahoma City Thunder had finally found a suitor for Carmelo Anthony, allowing them to part ways with him without using the stretch provision. Melo was sent to Atlanta along with a 2022 first-round pick and Philadelphia 76ers’ Justin Anderson. Meanwhile, the Thunder received Dennis Schroder from the Hawks and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot from the Sixers, and Philly received Mike Muscala.

The belief is that Anthony will be waived by the Hawks and then be free to join whichever team he pleases. Reportedly, the Houston Rockets are the frontrunners to sign him.

So what does this all mean for the Utah Jazz and the rest of the Western Conference? Well, that’s a bit of a tricky question to ask as there are nearly innumerable possibilities. But here are my initial reactions.

The Spurs are a big mystery. Some have been critical of San Antonio for what they received in return for Leonard, but the fact that they were able to get an All-Star (albeit one that has been criticized for his shot selection and buckling under pressure) in DeMar DeRozan is a big win.

Some have stated that exchanging Kawhi for DeRozan will lead to the Spurs falling out of the playoff mix, but those that think as much would do well to remember that they made the postseason last year even with Leonard appearing in just nine games. When looked at that way, essentially the Spurs team that made the playoffs last year just added DeRozan, it wasn’t actually much of an exchange.

Despite facing some of the biggest drama they’ve seen in decades, the Spurs and head coach Gregg Popovich simply can’t be counted out. While it’s a bit tricky to predict how DeRozan will fit in with the likes of LaMarcus Aldridge, Rudy Gay and Co., if anyone can figure out how to get the most out of such an elite scorer, it’s Coach Pop and the Spurs.

Still, I don’t see the Spurs moving into the upper half of such a deep Western Conference. They will definitely be competitive and may end up being even better than last year, but the DeRozan addition won’t vault them into the realm of title contenders. Still, they’ll continue to be a challenge and a team Utah will have to aim to overcome if they hope to be a top-4 seed in the West.

Meanwhile, the Melo trade was an absolute win for the Thunder. Merely using the stretch provision to set him loose would have made OKC better considering how poorly he fit last season. The fact that the Thunder were able to save money by trading him AND add a solid player like Dennis Schroder is a big win.

Honestly, I think Schroder is a little overrated and don’t think that he’ll move the needle for OKC all that much, especially since his fit alongside Russell Westbrook is questionable at best. However, just about anybody at this point would have been better than Carmelo Anthony, and unless Schroder causes major chemistry issues, he should be a nice upgrade for the Thunder.

OKC figures to be an exceptional team next year, likely finishing in the top four of the Western Conference. That would have probably been the case as long as they got rid of Anthony and regardless of if they added Schroder or not, but if head coach Billy Donovan can figure out the best way to incorporate him, he could be a nice addition.

In truth, the Jazz struggled against Schroder last season, which may give division rival OKC an extra punch against Utah. Those two teams are sure to have some exciting head-to-head bouts as they relive their 2018 NBA Playoff Series and fight with one another for positioning in the West. The Thunder are no doubt set to be a formidable opponent and, outside of the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets, will probably be Utah’s biggest obstacle for earning a top-3 spot.

In short, these two moves accomplished one major thing – it made the West even stronger than last year (as hard as that is to fathom). Sure, Kawhi is a better player than DeRozan straight up, but a Spurs team with DeRozan is better than a Spurs team without him or Kawhi, which is the squad that San Antonio rolled out for 47 wins last year.

The Thunder also got better, not only by parting ways with Carmelo Anthony, but by adding yet another serviceable player in Dennis Schroder. The West was already as daunting as they come, yet it appears that these recent moves will make things even harder for the Utah Jazz in their pursuit of a return to postseason action.

Fortunately, despite any obstacles in their way, I imagine the Jazz will tackle them with a “bring it on” type of attitude. The West is as difficult as can be, but the Utah Jazz are just as poised to make life miserable for their opponents as their opponents are to make things challenging for them.



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Dan Clayton

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It’s about time to get down to business — literally.

Draft week is upon is, which means it’s officially time for teams to stop talking and start transacting. We’re actually into the deal window now; many trades involving picks happen in the immediate lead-up to the draft. For example, two summers ago when the Jazz acquired George Hill with their pick, the deal was made and announced in the days leading up to draft day1

So things will get noisy between now and Thursday, and then of course we have the free agency period following close after. So there are, understandably, a lot of questions out there. Let’s dig in.


Is there any way the Jazz would get involved in taking on Chandler Parsons for the No. 4 pick. What would the other pieces of such a deal have to look like and what does that mean for Derrick Favors and Dante Exum?

@Stockton2Sloan

Aaron’s referring to the rumor that Memphis would part with No. 4 if it gave them the opportunity to get out of the remaining $49 million commitment to the perpetually broken Parsons. But there’s almost no recent precedent to a team using a top-5 pick just to dump salary. Since 2000, only 10 picks in the top-5 have been “sold” in draft-week trades — half of those were just small move-back deals, and the others were generally for stars like Elton Brand and Ray Allen. The closest thing to a pure salary-dump trade involving a top-5 pick was when Minnesota acquired Ricky Rubio in 2009 by taking three bad salaries back from Washington. But even in that deal, they still had to give up starters Randy Foye and Mike Miller.

I think when it comes down to it, Memphis will similarly want some basketball value if they’re going to move a blue-chip draft asset. And since the Jazz are over the cap, they’d have to send $19.1 million of salary in order to acquire Parsons anyway. Would Memphis be interested in Alec Burks + Jae Crowder + Tony Bradley? What about Joe Ingles + Thabo Sefolosha? Ricky Rubio + Jonas Jerebko? It would limit Utah’s available to make a run a 2019 free agent, but I think Utah would do it if a package like that was really enough for Memphis. The thought of adding a Luka Doncic-type player to the roster with six to seven years of team control is just too enticing.

It wouldn’t impact Favors’ or Exum’s status. Since the Jazz would be making the trade as an over-the-cap team, they could do that and still keep those two’s FA rights intact.

Should the Jazz go get Rudy Gay? Better than what Joe Johnson gave to the Jazz?

@1tobeamup

Rudy Gay opted out if his $8.8M player option. Does he fit as a stretch 4 for this squad? His ’17-18 per-36 numbers are on par to his career but is he no longer a starter on a contender?

@iPrinceJester

Just saw that Rudy Gay is opting out. You think he is looking for more money or more years. Any chance Jazz are interested?

@kpoindexter78

Gay’s opt-out inspired a ton of curiosity among Jazz fans. The 12-year vet is still producing, albeit in a smaller role. He played just 1231 total minutes for the Spurs last season, but he averaged 19 & 9 on a per-36 basis. The problem is: he’s not really a stretch four in the strictest sense. Sacramento used him that way more than anybody (35.6 percent from three), but last year he was just a 31-percent shooter from deep, and he’s never taken a really high volume from there. He’s a much better midrange shooter than any of Utah’s other PF options, but that doesn’t seem to be what Quin Snyder is after, at least out of the starting 4 spot.

Now, does he make sense in the Johnson role: a savvy, go-get-some-buckets type player off the bench? Maybe, if you think he’s an upgrade over Crowder in overall terms.

In terms of what Gay might want as a free agent, this opt-out might not entirely be about money. Remember, last summer he opted out of more than $14 million so he could go sign with the Spurs at the $8.4M mid-level. He might be hunting for the right role and situation as much as anything.  

Philly has four second round picks. Would they possibly be interested in trading 26 and 38 for 21? They are not drafting 6 players.

@therawns_jazz

Yeah, the Sixers will make some deals on Thursday. And trading up to No. 21 could make sense for them since most pundits seem to think there’s a tier break right around where the Jazz are picking. So Utah could be in a good position to extract an extra asset in a move-back deal. That said, I’m not sure Utah wants to come away from this draft with three players, either. Remember that they currently have 12 players under contract for next season already, and that’s without accounting for bringing any of Exum, Favors or Raul Neto back. So I think they only make that deal if, a) they feel like they have a beat on a player in the late 20s (a la Rudy Gobert), and b) they have a good stash candidate or two in mind for the second round.

Not Jazz related, but doesn’t a trade of Gordon Hayward plus something (Boston’s Memphis pick?) for Kawhi Leonard make sense for both sides? SA gets a poor man’s Kawhi + quality draft pick; Boston gets an upgrade over Hayward. Yet this option is mostly dismissed by pundits.

@tombagjr

I actually think the punditry is talking as though Boston is a very likely landing spot for Kawhi. Nobody has quite the combination of draft assets and young stars that the Celtics have, so they’re going to be part of every discussion when a star player is available via trade.

But I’m not sure they’d give up Hayward, or even that they’d have to give him up to be the best offer. A package built around Jaylen Brown and one of Boston’s incoming potential lottery picks2 is probably enough to be the best offer the Spurs will get. If Boston does decide to part with one of its three veteran stars, it’s more likely that the deal would be built around Kyrie Irving, for three reasons: 1) His salary is a lot closer to Kawhi’s. 2) Terry Rozier’s emergence (and multiple ball handling wings) mean you could survive without Irving. And 3) I think Boston would be somewhat concerned about signing a top free agent and then trading him five minutes into his Celtics playing career. But who knows? Either way, Boston is going to be in the thick of the Kawhi talk.

(As I was writing this, Vegas oddsmakers suddenly shifted the odds to make Phoenix the heavy favorites to land Kawhi. It could be based on non-public intel that the Suns are moving into the pole position where Kawhi is concerned. We shall see.)

Hypothetical of course, but would/should/is it even possible for the Jazz to take Luol Deng’s or Kenneth Faried‘s contract if young/rotation prospects were offered alongside them?

@_am_h

The catch here is that I believe the Jazz will likely operate as an exceptions team, which means they don’t really have the cap space to absorb Deng/Faried outright. To take Deng, for example, they’d have to send out at least $13 million in salary — more if he’s coming back attached to another player. That means you’re not actually offering the Lakers the full benefit of a salary dump, and therefore you’d probably get less in return. The Faried thing is slightly more likely because his contract expires after next season and because the Jazz could absorb his salary by sending out just $8.8M. But Denver has fewer assets that would really interest the Jazz.

What do you think are the most important skills to add around Donovan Mitchell and Gobert? Do we need a facilitator next to Mitchell or do we just put the ball in his hands and get another player to help ease his shot-creating burden and not worry about having a “true” point guard?

@tpcardinal

Well the easiest answer is shooting. If you’re going to unleash Gobert as a roll threat, you need to unclog the middle, so you need shooters to space the floor. And that will also help Mitchell have some space to operate.

But that doesn’t mean you want guys who are just shooters. When Rubio and Exum were out against Houston, we saw how the present-day version of Mitchell can struggle when he’s really the only guy who can attack with the ball in his hands. Mitchell’s own growth will solve some of that, but in the meantime, you still need some players who can put pressure on the defense. Rubio and Exum are both really good at that, so if one or both can get up to 35% or so shooting from deep, that might be the answer.

Broadly speaking, Snyder’s system is at its best when there are five guys out there who are great decision-makers. That might be more important than any one particular skill.

What would Rubio have to look like next season in order to find himself with a good offer from the Jazz next offseason?

@_am_h

If the second half of Rubio’s season taught us anything, it’s that he adds a lot of value by being aggressive, whether or not the shot is falling. He just can’t be a guy who gives the defense permission to ignore him, or else the rest of the offense doesn’t work. Ideally they would love to see him sustain his career-best 35 percent three-point shooting before they invest in him beyond the ’18-19 season, but in my opinion, the decision will come down to team success more than anything. If the Jazz can solve the spacing issues to the point where they can field a top-10 offense with Rubio — they were 15th last season, and 11th during the 29-6 stretch — then I think you can make an argument for continuing to build around the same core group.

Which path most likely leads to the Jazz getting a 3rd star, a top 30 player in the next three years: draft, free agency or trade?

@clayson_searle

The Jazz are likely going to be drafting in the 20s for a while now, so they’re not likely to find a player there who could ascend to top-30 status in their first three seasons. Because of the market the Jazz are in, history says an impact trade is always more likely than an impact signing, but Utah’s asset situation also isn’t the same as what it used to be. So it’s going to be tough. I think the Jazz are trying to give themselves a chance to sign that type of guy in 2019, but there’s no guarantee that any of Khris Middleton, Klay Thompson, Tobias Harris or others in that ilk will listen.

As I’ve written before, I don’t think the Jazz necessarily need to think about it in exactly those terms. I get why in the current NBA climate everybody’s focused on the third star thing. But you can also put together a really good team just by having 6-7 smart, talented players who can impact the game in a number of ways. Think Houston: they’ve got two players who can really dominate a game in different ways, but then they’ve got another five (or so) guys who could start on a lot of teams, and who know how to just play winning basketball. And that construction was enough to put them up 3-2 on the Warriors, before Chris Paul got hurt.

The Jazz have a lot of rotation-caliber guys, but they probably need a couple of more dudes that fit that description, especially if finding the third “star” is going to take some time.

Do you like the rumor of Rubio for Kyle Lowry? Rubio is 5 years younger than Lowry.

@O_Uchiy

As far as I’ve seen, this one is less of a rumor and really just an idea floated on SI’s The Crossover. I don’t love this one, mostly because of the $64 million still owed to the 32-year-old Lowry. He’s a better overall player than Rubio, but you’d have to be pretty dang sure he was good enough to dramatically alter your title window. Because he’s going to start declining at some point (he just had his lowest scoring average in five seasons), and his $33 million salary next season would keep the Jazz from being able to add another difference-maker in free agency.

Assuming we mostly stand pat this summer and are operating over the cap, who are some of your FA targets at the MLE?

@chadgud

Trevor Ariza (UFA, last made $7.4M) is a smart and multipositional guy who could thrive in Utah’s system, although he’s 32. Anthony Tolliver (UFA, $3.3M) is more of a specialist, but added a lot of value as a corner-shooting big. Amir Johnson (UFA, $11M) can probably be had pretty cheaply, although he’s not really a stretch big, averaging one attempted three in about every third game. If Danny Green (PO, $10M) or Wilson Chandler (PO, $12.8M) opt out, the Jazz will put a call in. I like Joe Harris (UFA, $1.5M) a lot as a shooter who is used to playing and guarding within a system. Wayne Ellington (UFA, $6.3M) can probably be had cheaply and is a knockdown shooter. Luc Mbah a Moute (UFA, $2.3M) is an excellent defender and an improved corner spot-up guy. Kevon Looney (UFA, $1.5M) will be unrestricted after the Warriors passed on his fourth-year option, but he can play. We talked about Gay (PO, $8.8M) above. Some people believe Mario Hezonja (UFA, $4M) is still worth a flier. Milos Teodosic (team and player options, $6.3M) will likely get cut by the Clippers, reports say. But now we’re getting down into the territory of replacement-level players.

I’ll be doing some pretty aggressive stuff ahead of free agency, so stay tuned.

I know we tend to discuss the Jazz 1st round pick the most but who are some projected 2nd round players who you find interesting in our range or that you would like to see the Jazz move up higher in the 2nd round to target?

@EJ_AyalaNBA

That’s a good question. I am usually pretty late to the game on draft prep because the amount of time I spend watching and writing about the NBA keeps me from following college ball practically at all. So I’m probably not the best person to ask. I will say this: even during this recent stretch where Dennis Lindsey has been on first with first-round selections, the Jazz haven’t gotten a lot out of their second rounders in recent years. Guys like Marcus Paige, Tyrone Wallace and Joel Bolomboy were essentially G League acquisitions, while Olivier Hanlan and Nigel Williams-Goss were simply sent overseas. The last Jazz second-rounder to play 20 games for the club was… Jeremy Evans! That was 2010. Utah has had more luck with undrafted rookies (Joe Ingles, Royce O’Neale) than with their own second rounders.

What are the chances the Jazz package the no. 21 pick and Alec Burks in order to move up in the draft?

@john_keeffer

Burks doesn’t have a lot of asset juice at the moment. He’s on the fringe of Utah’s rotation, and attaching him to the 21st pick probably doesn’t move you to far up the draft board unless you’re taking some undesirable salary back in the deal. I mean, there are teams out there that like AB, and his burst of scoring in May’s playoff games will certainly bolster the believers. But historically, you just don’t move up far by adding a 16-mpg player to a deal.


Thanks again for all the questions. We’ll do this again next week as free agency approaches!

Dan Clayton

Dan covered Utah Jazz basketball for more than 10 years, including as a radio analyst for the team’s Spanish-language broadcasts from 2010 to 2014. He now lives and works in New York City, but contributes regularly to Salt City Hoops, FanRag and BBALLBreakdown.

Dan Clayton

Dan Clayton


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December Dates with OKC Will Be Valuable Down the Stretch

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Dan covered Utah Jazz basketball for more than 10 years, including as a radio analyst for the team’s Spanish-language broadcasts from 2010 to 2014. He now lives and works in New York City, but contributes regularly to Salt City Hoops, FanRag and BBALLBreakdown.

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Lyles for Mitchell and the Top 7 trades in team history

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Donovan Mitchell Utah Jazz Denver Nuggest draft day trade

NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 22: Donovan Mitchell walks to stage after being drafted 13th overall by the Denver Nuggets during the first round of the 2017 NBA Draft at Barclays Center on June 22, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Trade season is upon us and the Utah Jazz could be one of the more active teams across the NBA. Here’s my look at the team’s best trades over the years.

What a difference a year makes.

Heading into the 2017 NBA trade deadline, the Utah Jazz were in a pretty sweet spot. The team was 10-plus games above .500, Gordon Hayward was set to represent Utah in the All-Star Game and GM Dennis Lindsey was looking at deals to bolster the roster for a playoff push. Just one year later, the Jazz are on the opposite end of the spectrum.

Lindsey figures to be more active this time around, but a postseason appearance this season may not be the end-game. Instead, collecting assets, building for next year (and the year after that) and seeking a return for free agents-to-be Derrick Favors and Joe Johnson could be the goals.

And yet, Utah may just be a timely trade, a Rudy Gobert return and a solid 10-15 game run from getting back into the mix for the eighth seed.

NBA basketball is bananas, man.

Whatever happens come deadline day on February 8, there’s no questioning the fact that the Jazz have been able to turn tides in the past with some savvy deal-making. The team has never had the reputation as a wheeler-dealer organization, but they’ve hit more than one home run on the trade market.

Here are the seven best trades in Jazz history, as evaluated by yours truly…



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