Utah Jazz Trade For Al Jefferson, Moving On Up?

Wolves to trade Jefferson to Jazz for future 1st rd pick, 1st rd pick from Mem in Brewer trade and a trade exception, Y! Sports has learned.less than a minute ago via TweetDeck

UPDATE[Note by Basketball John, 07/13/10 6:51 PM MDT ]

It looks like the KOOF is gone as well. #boombitches takes his show to the great white north of Minnesota. Perhaps a post reflective post on the KOOF is in order?

Well, there you go. The Jazz have acquired Minnesota Timoberwolves forward Al Jefferson for the trade exception acquired from the Carlos Boozer sign and trade and the 2010 protected first-round pick from the Memphis Grizzlies that the Jazz acquired with the Ronnie Brewer trade, and another future first-rounder.

It doesn't look like Tomic is included in the deal. If the Jazz are just trading first-round picks and the TE, then this is a steal.

Jefferson has been on the block since the Wolves re-signed Darko Milicic; yes, that Darko. That's a whole other story. They also just acquired Michael Beasley from the Heat so they have a bit of a logjam of their own in that regard. Also, it was rumored that Jefferson didn't want to move to PG.

Of course Al Jefferson is a player the Jazz could have got in the 2004 draft. He was sandwiched between the Jazz picks of Kris Humphries and Kirk Snyder. Oh, the two Ks, two of the biggest draft mistakes in Jazz history.

The consensus amongst Jazz fans is that we're signing a younger Carlos Boozer. He's an offensive and rebounding machine but severely lacking on the defensive front. If anything, his offensive should be as good, if not better with Deron Williams at the point and in the PF-centric offense of the Jazz. I would have to think at this point you have Memo coming off the bench and Jefferson starting at center. How much of that PF-centric offensive boost would be mitigated though if he moves to C?

As for the defense, I don't know if that's something that can suddenly change. We certainly didn't see a difference in Boozer's years under Sloan's tutelage. Al's length is almost identical to Boozer's. So is he going to help defend the Lakers bigs or other bigs for that matter? Not likely. However, if he's moved to center, then does that improve his defense? He's not going to have to move as much and defend the quicker power forwards in the league.

So why do the Jazz do this and not just re-sign Boozer? Jefferson comes a bit cheaper and is younger. It gives the Jazz the depth they needed since losing Boozer to the Bulls. If you're playing him at center, he could be listed amongst the best in the West. And if he's playing at power forward, he's still up there with the best of them, especially since Boozer and Amar'e are in the east now.

While Jefferson may be Boozer part two (hopefully without more injuries), I don't think you can claim the status quo from the front office with this move. In years past they would have been content to re-sign Matthews, Fesenko, and maybe add another veteran big man (maybe even Collins?) and called it a summer.

Instead, the Jazz are at the least as good of a team as they were last season and perhaps could get a bit better depending on whom they sign to replace Matthews. Yes, Matthews is likely gone, as much as it will pain me. If they were on the fence about bringing back Matthews at that price, this deal will probably seal OMSW's fate as a member of the Jazz.

As it stood just a day ago, we were in serious danger of being worse than last year's team at least in terms of depth. We had just lost Boozer, Korver, and we were possibly going to lose Wesley Matthews. Now we have Jefferson and could be adding another wing with the MLE or bi-annual exception.

This move will put the Jazz over the luxury tax and will still have to fill out the roster with 4 more players. If Matthews is gone, they could bring back Ronnie B (with the bi-annual exception?). I would guess this improves Jeremy Evans' chances at making the team out of camp given that he would be a cheap contract. That leaves two spots open. Fesenko is another logical choice. That puts the team at 12. The Jazz could then use the MLE on someone or sign someone on for the minimum to meet the roster requirements. You also have to figure that the Jazz need to re-sign Gaines or bring on someone else in a 3rd-string PG spot.

With this move the Jazz will have $50M in committed salaries after AK comes off the books in 2011. So instead of having financial flexibility for next off-season, the Jazz are putting that money to use early with Jefferson. There really isn't a marquee guy that available in 2011 outside of Carmelo Anthony so this could be the FO getting a jump on everyone else.

That $50M doesn't include CJ or the KOOF (team options) nor does it include a backup point guard at this point as Ronnie P's contract is up. They could very well be paying the tax again next season. Or we might not even be playing at all in 2011-12 so it might be a moot point.

So if you've been clamoring for change, here's your change whether you like it or not.

I for one welcome Big Al to the Utah Jazz.

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