SALT LAKE CITY – With the NBA trade deadline rapidly approaching, many Utah Jazz fans are on the edge of their seats wondering what moves that Jazz will be making to improve their team for the remainder of the season and into the future.
If past history is any indication, don’t get your hopes up — there’s about a 15 percent chance the Jazz will make a move right before the deadline, based on what they’ve done over the past 40 years in Utah.
However, although the Jazz have made just a handful of significant deals the week of the NBA trade deadline over the years, it doesn’t mean they won’t try to deal this year.
Everyone remembers last year when the Jazz acquired Jae Crowder from Cleveland in a three-way deal in which they gave up Rodney Hood, and 2015 when Enes Kanter was dealt to Oklahoma City for a first-round draft pick. In 2016, the Jazz picked up Shelvin Mack from Atlanta in a three-way trade and only gave up a second-round pick. Those deals came under the watch of general manager Dennis Lindsey, who has shown to be more aggressive than previous Jazz general managers.
The two biggest trade-deadline week deals in Jazz history came in 1994 and 2011. On Feb. 24 of '94, Utah traded Jeff Malone to Philadelphia for Jeff Hornacek, who became a key complementary player to John Stockton and Karl Malone in Utah’s run to the NBA Finals. Then on Feb. 23 of ’11, in a shocking move, the Jazz traded away star point guard Deron Williams for Derrick Favors, Devin Harris and a future first-round pick that turned into Kanter.
Will the Jazz be willing to make such a deal this year?
The Jazz are famously an organization that keeps its cards closer to the vest than most other franchises, and you’ll hear no comments from Lindsey or coach Quin Snyder about possible moves the team is considering. But there have been rumblings from various sources around the league that the Jazz are willing to upgrade their roster if they can find the right deal, and Lindsey's history indicated they might.
Utah is happy with the current makeup of the roster, a big reason the team stood pat in the offseason before making the Kyle Korver-for-Alec Burks deal in November. The Jazz have good players at every position and a strong chemistry that is important to the success of any team. Earlier this week, Ricky Rubio called his team’s chemistry “special” and added, “This is the best team I’ve ever been on chemistry-wise.”
Ironically, Rubio’s name has come up more than others on the Jazz in trade scenarios, including one last week involving Memphis point guard Mike Conley and a possible first-round draft choice thrown in by the Jazz. Utah would likely have to include another player or two to match salaries, since Conley makes $30.5 million and Rubio is making just under $15 million in the final year of his contract. Derrick Favors, who signed a $37.6 million contract last summer, is a trade possibility, especially since next year’s salary is not guaranteed.
After a fast start that included a pair of wins over the Jazz in Utah, the Grizzlies have faded to the point where they are looking to the future as they stand 21-33, in the No. 14 spot in the Western Conference standings. The Grizzlies also have been reportedly talking to the Detroit Pistons about a trade involving the Pistons’ first-round draft pick, which would be more valuable (No. 9 currently) than Utah’s (No. 19).
Other names that have been bandied about as players the Jazz might be interested in are New Orleans' Nikola Mirotic, Orlando’s Aaron Gordon and the Clippers’ Tobias Harris.
Of course most of the interest in the league surrounds the future of New Orleans center Anthony Davis, who is one player you won’t see on the Jazz in the future. Davis has another year on his contract, but has already announced he doesn’t want to stay in New Orleans and several teams, including the Los Angeles Lakers, are trying to work out deals before the deadline.
This year’s deadline is Thursday at 1 p.m. MT, which is a couple of weeks earlier than in the past. It was moved up this year ahead of the All-Star game to keep it from overshadowing the All-Star Weekend with possible trade scenarios and to give traded players time to adapt to new situations.7 comments on this story
Of the change, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said, “There was the sense that it was more unsettling to have a player traded right after the All-Star break, that the All-Star break would have been an opportunity for the player to move himself, his family, get his family readjusted and get readjusted to the new team when they have that four- or five-day period to do that.”
Last week we saw one blockbuster trade when Kristaps Porzingis was sent to Dallas in a seven-player deal that included the likes of DeAndre Jordan and former Jazzmen Wesley Matthews and Trey Burke.