SALT LAKE CITY — A couple weeks ago I got a new television, which was a long time coming. I didn’t realize how outdated the old one was until people started bringing binoculars.
Later I learned the TV was nine years old. In an era of electronics, I had been viewing flipbooks. Upgrading from a 32-inch screen to 65 inches turned my great room into an IMAX theater. Now even C-SPAN is captivating.
But it wasn’t just visitor complaints that spurred the move. I kept hearing about all the TV bargains and thinking, “Where’s my deal?”
This isn’t unlike the annual NBA trade deadline buildup. Everybody likes an upgrade. A nice one arrived this week for the Toronto Raptors when they swapped Terrence Ross for Serge Ibaka.
Toronto was already a sleek team, one that had no problem beating the Jazz twice this year. Now it has a shot-blocking, rebounding, 3-point shooting forward whose arrival should get the Raptors going in the stretch run.
It makes you wonder about the Jazz, who most years aren’t terribly active in trading. In 2011 they did acquire Derrick Favors and Devin Harris for Deron Williams. In 2015 they moved Enes Kanter to Oklahoma City in exchange for draft picks and stuff. Last year they gained Shelvin Mack in a three-team deal. But usually they prefer to low-key the annual event.
Some tweaking could still happen again before the Feb. 23 deadline, but it probably won’t amount to much. In spite of a recent dip, the Jazz won Wednesday and are bound to make the playoffs for the first time since 2012. They should win their first postseason game since 2010.
Now that they’ve come this far — threatening to finish fourth in the Western Conference — why remake the bed?
It’s better to sit this one out and reassess after the playoffs. The draft and midlevel free agency are the Jazz’s building model anyway. But All-Star Weekend is prime time for discussing deals. As a league source told Basketball Insider, “You can always call; every team answers the phone during the All-Star break.”
The Jazz response should be: “Put us on your Do Not Call list.”
Moving people is a temptation when the season hits this point. Monday the Jazz lost their third straight game, in embarrassing fashion. Quin Snyder seldom resorts to negativity, but couldn’t help noting his team had lost its groove.
“We can talk about being better and being relevant, but at this point we’re relevant — no more than that,” Snyder said.
But the mood lifted after a blowout over Portland on Wednesday.
It’s natural to wonder if the Jazz can tweak the lineup. They have issues, such as backup point guard. Mack has played more than five minutes just twice in the last 17 games, Raul Neto once in the last 12. Alec Burks keeps making shots harder than necessary. Dante Exum is still trying to meet his draft buildup.
Meanwhile, forward Trey Lyles is shooting 28 percent for the last 18 games.
The Jazz are deep enough they could move someone and get a decent player in return. But major changes should be shelved, since most teams ask for an arm, leg and blood donation.
Utah isn’t the only team that believes growth comes mainly from within. Magic Johnson told “CBS This Morning” it will take three to five years to get the Lakers competitive.8 comments on this story
“You have to really develop your own players because free agent movement is not like it used to be,” he said. “And so you have to really make sure you hit a home run when you do draft and then try to keep the players that you have on your roster.”
Hmmm. Building with patience. That doesn’t sound like the Lakers but it does sound like the Jazz. Trading is risky business. Most of it should be done when your team has plateaued or sunken. The Jazz won’t know that until the season is over.
Why break them up when the picture is just starting to clear?