SALT LAKE CITY, UT - JANUARY 23: Rudy Gobert #27 of the Utah Jazz is seen against the Oklahoma City Thunder on January 23, 2017 at vivint.SmartHome Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images)

We workshop a handful of potential Utah Jazz trades


What should the Utah Jazz do after losing Gordon Hayward? Regroup with a restricted free agent like Jonathon Simmons? Or hold a “fire sale” and sell off some of your older veterans?

If the Jazz takes the latter approach, here are some possible deals that make some semblance of sense. The numbers in parentheses are their salaries, in millions, with a + if the deal extends past this upcoming year. Let me know if you think any of them make sense for both sides.

(A) SF Joe Johnson ($10.5) for SG Jeremy Lamb ($7+$7) and cap filler

Why Utah may do it

Utah Jazz
Should the Jazz look to move Joe Johnson?

The Jazz would have to take on some small deals (Johnny O’Bryant, Briante Weber) to make this work, with the intention of flipping the veteran Joe Johnson into the younger wing Jeremy Lamb. It only feels like Lamb’s been a “promising 3-and-D prospect” for 10 years now; he’s still 25 years old.

Why Charlotte may do it

I get the sense that the natives are growing restless in Charlotte, with coach Steve Clifford and GM Rich Cho on the hot seat if they can’t bring their team back into playoff contention. This move would follow in line with the acquisition of Dwight Howard, trying to give the team an immediate jolt to make that playoff push. The 36-year-old Johnson wouldn’t fit into their long-term plans, but he’s an expiring contract that wouldn’t be an albatross either.

(B) SF Joe Johnson ($10.5) for SG Alex Abrines ($5.7+$5) and F Doug McDermott ($3+restricted free agency)

Why Utah may do it

Similar logic applies, where the Jazz flip their veteran Joe Johnson for a younger rotational player in Doug McDermott. McDermott’s struggled to latch onto a role in either Chicago or Oklahoma City so far in his career, but in theory, he has the potential to be a stretch PF to pair alongside Rudy Gobert. Alex Abrines would be more of a depth play, although perhaps some people are higher on him than I am.

Why Oklahoma City may do it

Again, similar logic to the Charlotte deal, where this current Oklahoma City core may be on a one-year ticking clock. In their case, it’s now the GM or coach, but the players themselves since Russell Westbrook and Paul George are on one-year deals. Adding a veteran like Joe Johnson would be a minor help, but a help nonetheless, particularly with the questionable depth at the wing position. The team re-signed Andre Roberson while I was writing this, but Joe would serve as an offensive complement to him off the bench.

(C) C Derrick Favors ($12) for SF DeAndre’ Bembry ($2+long-term contract), SG Marco Belinelli ($6.6) and SG Mike Dunleavy ($1.6)

Why Utah may do it

On an expiring deal, Derrick Favors doesn’t figure into the team’s long-term plans. It’d be hard to imagine them re-signing him, given the presence of Rudy Gobert. Given that, offering him in deals makes some sense, regardless of the team’s direction.

This haul doesn’t jump out at you, but it’s solid. The vets Marco Belinelli and Mike Dunleavy would serve as cap filler (if they’re not bought out by now, not sure), but the “prize” here would be young DeAndre’ Bembry, the #21 pick from St. Joe’s last draft. The 6’6″ Bembry is most notable for his afro, but most appealing for his playmaking ability from the position.

Why Atlanta may do it

This part would be harder to justify. Coach Mike Budenholzer likes his wing prospects, and Bembry has some promise on a cheap rookie contract. That said, he’s below Taurean Prince on their pecking order, so perhaps they want to take a flier on a youngish big instead. After all, he’s been through, Favors is still only 25 years old, and offers more long-term promise than their recent acquisition Miles Plumlee. With a year in Atlanta’s system, they’d have an educated opinion about whether he fits into their plans at center for the long term.

(D) C Derrick Favors ($10) and PF Boris Diaw ($7) and cap filler for SF Luol Deng ($17+$17+$18.8) and PF Julius Randle ($4+restricted free agency)

Why Utah may do it

This would be the boldest deal on both team’s behalf. The Utah Jazz would be acknowledging that Derrick Favors doesn’t fit into their future, and instead would be putting their faith in Lakers’ PF Julius Randle. Randle has his flaws, but he’s a skilled playmaker for the position and may turn out to be an intriguing complement to Rudy Gobert inside. Best of all, Randle’s only 22 years old.

The HUGE albatross that comes with it would be Luol Deng’s contract, which extends for three more years. However, the Utah Jazz has plenty of cap room to spare, not to mention the sober reality that it’s going to be hard to draw in marquee free agents into the state. If they genuinely believe that Randle is a big-time asset, then this trade makes sense, a la Brooklyn taking D’Angelo Russell and dead weight Timo Mozgov as a package deal.

Why Los Angeles may do it

Lakers fans will always argue that they don’t need to trade Luol Deng since they’ll have room to sign Paul George this summer anyway. Of course, after the last week, we have to start to doubt that plan. Will George (or LeBron, or any marquee free agent) actually sign up to the franchise if they’re the lone star with a bunch of 20-year-olds? In the West, no less? It’s asking a lot.

To trade away their dead weight like Deng or Mozgov, they need the right kind of team: a rebuilding franchise with cap space to spare. Enter Utah (or Brooklyn, before them.) If they trade Deng now, they’ll have even more room to draw in free agents next summer.

This trade only makes sense in the opposite circumstance as Utah: the Lakers would only do this if they feel that Julius Randle is NOT a long-term asset or one that they’d want to re-sign.


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