Utah Jazz: Jefferson, Millsap staying put as NBA trade deadline passes with Jazz saying 'no deal'
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Jazz could have participated in the wheeling and dealing that took place before Thursday afternoon's trade deadline.
Without hinting about any details of who, what and why, general manager Dennis Lindsey said the Jazz had multiple options.
After weighing various factors and offers, executives around the league received the same answer from Utah's front office.
That came as a relief to coach Tyrone Corbin and his players, who wanted to keep this particular Jazz band together for at least the rest of this season, no doubt.
The lack of player movement, however, sent a wave of disappointment throughout Jazzland for fans hoping the organization would use some of its much-discussed assets and "versatility" to solidify the Jazz's future.
But Lindsey reiterated that the Jazz weren't about to make a trade just to quench a thirst for a trade.
"We're not here to win a press conference," Lindsey said.
At the same time, the Jazz GM knows the team isn't ready to win a championship yet, either.
"We're competitive, but we're not a contender," he said. "We're not only competitive, but we're flexible. We have good guys."
That doesn't include a clear-cut point guard of the future. But Utah still has its full frontcourt, which many people thought might be less loaded after this trade period passed.
Despite rumors and reports of center Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap finding new homes, allowing for more minutes for young bigs Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter, the Jazz will ride out the rest of the season with that foursome.
Jefferson and Millsap, whom Lindsey said were having "All-Star-caliber seasons," will become free agents this summer along with seven (possibly eight) of their current teammates.
"We decided the incumbent position was the strongest now and going forward," Lindsey said. "We'll see if we're right or wrong."
While admitting that an error in judgment is a possibility, Lindsey was firm in his position that a "speed-up development" mentality is not a Jazz standard. The former San Antonio assistant general manager referenced All-Star point guard Tony Parker's steady progression with the Spurs as an example that the Jazz aren't in a rush to throw young players into lead roles too soon.
The Jazz believed they were "negotiating from a position of strength," Lindsey added. The rookie GM added that he didn't feel pressure to make immediate moves because he "didn't inherit a mess." Utah is 31-24 and has won 12 of 17 games with a roster chock full of young talent and experienced veterans.
The Jazz's current success, however, wasn't a major factor in Utah's decision-making process.
"It was a positive," Lindsey admitted. "There were probably higher goals that we needed to weigh."
Asked if the Jazz were a popular team on Deadline Day, Lindsey replied: "Very."
But the Jazz were committed to being "strategic" for the future, "disciplined" in regards to the new and more restrictive Collective Bargaining Agreement and the flexibility threshold the team has, and "value-oriented" while evaluating what acquisitions to pick up, if any.
Though Lindsey said the organization was "very strong in pursuing" positive transactions, nothing enticed them enough to bite.
"We really didn't even have any tough decisions," Lindsey said. "… When we added it up, there wasn't anything that was better than what we had."
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