The Jazz have been in the asset accumulation stage of their rebuild for a while now, and it's almost time to start moving those assets for long-term pieces. I know that many of us are attached to certain players, or groups of players, but the fact is that in order to contend we'll need to move some of them to better the team as a whole. My guess is that we'll see a minor move or two during the season and then a big move next offseason (possibly at the draft). Below are my guesses as to who Lindsey will target and what we'd give up.
Note: I didn't run any of these through a trade machine so some of them may not be viable as written. Consider them simply a starting point
The Jazz are still looking for a franchise piece, specifically on offense. While I don't expect the Jazz to be able to land a Durant or Love via trade, there are a couple of big names the Jazz may be able to pry away from their current teams.
Davis is arguably a top 10 player in the league right now, and he hasn't even hit his prime. Last season he averaged about 21/10/2 and had a PER of 26.58, not to mention his defensive impact on the game. The chances of getting him are slim, but if he makes it clear that he doesn't want to stay in New Orleans, they make look to move him before losing him for nothing. Lots of teams would be bidding for his services, so the Jazz would have to put together a pretty hefty package, but they could do it.
|From the Jazz||From the Pelicans|
|Derrick Favors||Anthony Davis|
|Trey Burke||Eric Gordon or Tyreke Evans|
|2015 1st Round Pick|
|2017 1st Round Pick|
Getting a franchise player isn't cheap. Since Davis is still on his rookie deal, we'd have to take back a big contract too. Neither Evans nor Gordon live up to the money they make, so we'd have to take one or the other. The Pelicans would also want another promising young big to replace Davis. I'd prefer to include Kanter rather than Favors, but I don't think New Orleans would go for that. More young players would be wanted too, Hood could replace Evans/Gordon as a bench wing, and Burke would fill in nicely as Jrue Holiday's backup.
This deal leaves the Jazz with a primary lineup of Exum, Burks, Hayward, Davis and Kanter, with a somewhat thin bench highlighted by Tyreke Evans/Eric Gordon, Jeremy Evans, and Gobert (assuming neither Jeremy or Rudy was included as filler). My guess is that Neto would be brought over quickly as our backup PG and we'd fill in the bench with free agents.
The Pelicans would end up with a rotation including Holiday, Burke, Evans/Gordon, Hood, Ryan Anderson, Favors, and Asik. It leaves them with a weaker team, but not a bad one. It may be the best they could get for Davis.
I realize that not everyone thinks that Brook Lopez qualifies as a franchise piece (including me), but his stats make a solid case for him. He has some serious injury problems, but he's one of only 17 players that has managed a PER of 20+ and more than 0.180 WS/48 multiple times within the past 5 years (and 6 of those players are almost out of the league now because of injuries/age). The Nets may be willing to move him due to the combination of their excessively high payroll and his injury history. He definitely has his weaknesses (rebounding and passing), but he's in his prime, and if we're looking for a primary scoring option that holds his own on the defensive end, then Lopez may be worth a shot. Lopez does have a player option for the '15-'16 season, so the Jazz would likely require him to exercise that option before accepting any trade.
|From the Jazz||From the Nets|
|Enes Kanter||Brook Lopez|
|Alec Burks||Andrei Kirilenko|
|Rodney Hood||2017 1st round pick|
|2016 1st round pick|
Depending on when this trade was done, both Kanter and Burks would either be on new contracts, or entering RFA, so Brooklyn would get some long term pieces to supplememnt their aging core. Kanter could replace some of Lopez's scoring in the post while having Garnett there to help his defense. Mostly, the Nets are weak at the wing, which is why they would likely want both Burks and Hood, this could also help match salaries. Because of Lopez's injury concerns, the Jazz could probably wrangle a pick from the Nets, but we would likely have to give one up as well. Kirilenko is included here because it would be nice to have him back in a Jazz uniform, and his contract is friendly enough to use as filler.
The Jazz rotation in this scenario would likely be Burke, Exum, Hayward, Favors, Lopez, Gobert, Evans, and Kirilenko. We'd be really weak in the backcourt and would have to find some standouts in free agency or the draft.
These are the players that may not be considered 'franchise players,' but are proven offensive players, even though they may have some other flaws. The main purpose of these players is to give the Jazz an established number 1 scoring option if none of our current guys proves capable of handling that role night-in and night-out.
Al Horford's name surfaces in trade rumors occassionally, mostly because the Hawks never seem to be able to get out of the first round of the playoffs. They have a solid team, but have been treading water the last few years as a playoff team that isn't really a playoff threat. It may be time for them to blow up their roster and start over. If they decide to go in that direction, Horford is the player that will net them the most assets. They don't have any bad contracts right now, so the cost would be pretty steep.
|From the Jazz||From the Hawks|
|Enes Kanter||Al Horford|
|Jeremy Evans or Trevor Booker||Thabo Sefolosha or Kent Bazemore|
|2015 1st round pick|
Losing Horford would leave the Hawks really weak in the frontcourt. They have a couple of young players, but Millsap is their only real contributor besides Horford. Kanter working in the post would keep the floor open for Korver, and Evans/Booker would give them a little depth. Hood could then be groomed as Korver's heir, but they may have to give up Thabo or Bazemore to make salaries work.
The Jazz then roll with Burke, Burks, Hayward, Favors, Horford, Exum, and Gobert as the main rotation.
The Hawks would need to add some more pieces, but they'd have a decent young core of Teague, Korver, Carroll, Millsap, and Kanter, with Hood and Antic off the bench.
If the Jazz want a solid wing scorer, Martin fits the bill. He's always been very efficient, whether it's as a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd option on offense. His defense is far from spectacular, but he's not a negative on that side of the court. He's getting a little older, but he's been pretty healthy for most of his career. The Wolves just traded their primary scorer so they may want to keep Martin around, but they picked up a lot of wings that will need time, so Martin could probably be pried away.
|From the Jazz||From the Wolves|
|Alec Burks||Kevin Martin|
|Trey Burke||Chase Budinger or JJ Barea|
|future 1st round pick|
Martin probably wouldn't be as expensive as most of these other players, but he's on a cap-friendly contract and it will cost a bit for the Wolves to give him up. Especially before they see how Wiggins, Bennett, and Lavine play at the NBA level. The Wolves would probably prefer some more experienced players, since they're already really young, but taking on Burks and Burke could make them scary in 2-3 more years. It's likely the Wolves would also want to unload Budinger or Barea to get a little more playing time for some of the young players. With a little luck, the Jazz could wrangle a future 1st round pick from the wolves since we'd be giving up two young players for two older players.
Our rotation players then become Exum, Martin, Hayward, Favors, Kanter, Hood, and Gobert. We'd need even more help in the backcourt, and may look to bring in a third team to balance our roster a bit more.
The Timberwolves would mostly be playing Rubio, Burks, Wiggins, Young, and Pekovic, with a solid bench of Burke, Lavine, Corey Brewer, Bennett, and Dieng. They'd be super young, but really promising.
This trade really comes down to Eric Bledsoe. If Bledsoe signs long-term with the Suns, then Dragic may become available. If Bledsoe signs his qualifying offer, or the Suns don't match any offer he gets, then there's no way that the Suns will be willing to give up Dragic, especially after the big season he just had. The Jazz, at this point, have too many young guards with potential. Burke, Burks, and Exum all need playing time, and we still have Neto and Clark trying to work their way into the league. The Jazz may look to unload some of those assets to get someone with more polish. (I don't think this scenario is very likely, but why not take a look at it anyway.)
|From the Jazz||From the Suns|
|Trey Burke||Goran Dragic|
|2015 1st round pick|
Since Phoenix has no bad contracts on their books, the Jazz will have to pay a lot or bring in a 3rd team. Salary matching may not be an issue since both the Jazz and Suns are under the cap, but if it is, rookie contracts are the only things the Jazz can offer that will be in the same range as Dragic's deal. Like I said, I don't think has any chance of happening.
The Jazz main rotation would end up as Dragic, Burks, Hayward, Favors, Kanter, Exum, Evans, and Gobert. Again we have a thin bench, but it's not too bad.
The Suns would have a very fluid and deep backcourt with Burke, Bledsoe, Isaiah Thomas, Gerald Green and youngsters Tyler Ennis and Archie Goodwin in the guard positions. The frontcourst would also be solid with PJ Tucker, the Morris twins, Hood, Miles Plumlee and Alex Len.
Defense First Players
The Jazz have a lot of defensive potential right now, but it's still just potential. Last season the Jazz had the 29th rank in defensive rating, they were dead last in opponent FG% (26th in opponent eFG%), and 28th in point differential. That's not good. These are the players that could bolster our defense immediately, without being (too much of) a detriment on the offensive end. Some of them may be 3 and D guys, some may be more well rounded than that.
I'd like to make one thing very clear before I propose this trade: I don't want Josh Smith on the Jazz. That said, he's always been an excellent defender and a reliable, if inefficient, offensive player. His first season in Detroit was the worst of his career, but in Atlanta he put up a solid 17/8/3.5 with excellent defense, and that's a nice player to have.
|From the Jazz||From the Pistons|
|Gordon Hayward||Josh Smith|
|Rudy Gobert||Kentavious Caldwell-Pope|
|Trevor Booker||future 1st round pick|
I don't think this deal gets done without a 3rd team to sweeten the pot for both sides. Detroit will want the most possible for Josh Smith since they paid him a good deal last summer, the problem is that they are also a little desperate to get rid of him since he can't play alongside Monroe and Drummond. Losing Smith will make it easier for Detroit to keep Monroe, but Smith is also nice insurance in case Monroe walks away (which seems likely at this point. Detroit would likely want Hayward and Gobert for Smith. Hayward because he's more of a true wing than Smith, and Gobert because they need a solid backup for Drummond. I included Caldwell-Pope and Booker in the deal because I don't think the Jazz would give up Gobert without another rookie contract in return, and Detroit would likely want another big as insurance in case Monroe leaves. Since Detroit is more desperate than Utah, they'd have to include a pick.
The Jazz then have flexibility in their rotation of Burke, Exum, Burks, Caldwell-Pope, Hood, Smith, Favors, and Kanter. This gives the Jazz a better balance than many of the other trades here, but it's a lot more fragile if Smith doesn't integrate well.
Detroit's rotation becomes Jennings, Meeks, Hayward, Singler, Monroe, Drummond, Booker, and Gobert. Hayward helps strengthen their backcourt and takes some playmaking duties off of Jennings and Meeks. Booker and Gobert give them decent depth in the frontcourt.
I don't know why the Nuggets would trade Afflalo after just bringing him back, but he may be the type of player Lindsey looks to get. Afflalo's always been a good wing defender, but he also expanded his offensive game in Orlando. Afflalo not only shoots 40+% from 3, but he also gets to the line on about 30% of his possesions. During his first stint in Denver he was more of a 3 and D guy, but now he's a borderline all-star.
|From the Jazz||From the Nuggets|
|Enes Kanter||Arron Afflalo|
|Rodney Hood||JJ Hickson|
|2015 1st round pick|
This was a rough trade to work out simply because Denver is so well balanced. Losing Afflalo would leave Denver with only Randy Foye and rookie Gary Harris at SG, but they also have scoring options from everywhere else on the floor both in the starting lineup and off the bench. I ultimately guessed that Denver would want Kanter as an upgrade to Hickson. Kanter could then be the third big behind Faried and McGee/Mozgov, and he's a better scorer than any of those three. Hood would be included as a backup wing since Gallinari and Chandler have both had injury concerns the last couple of years. The Jazz would also have to throw in at least one pick to make the deal go through.
In this scenario the Jazz have Burke and Exum at the point, Burks, Afflalo, and Hayward on the wing, and Favors, Hickson, and Gobert as their bigs. That's a pretty solid 8 man rotation.
After this trade Denver plays Lawson and Robinson at PG, Foye, Harris, Hood, and Chandler on the wing, Gallinari as a combo forward, and Faried, Kanter, Mozgov, and McGee as their bigs. This leaves their backcourt a little weak, especially if Harris doesn't work out.
Iggy has always been one of the best perimeter defenders in the league. He's lost a step as he's gotten older (though he's only 30), but he plays smart, he's become a reliable shooter, and he's willing to do the little things to make the team better. The Warriors dumped a lot of salary (as we well know) to make room for him, so I'm not sure they'll give him up easily, but they also need to make some room for their up-and-comers so it's not out of the question.
|From the Jazz||From the Warriors|
|Enes Kanter||Andre Iguodala|
|Trey Burke||Marreese Speights or Shawn Livingston|
|2017 1st round pick|
The Warriors are going to need to clear some cap space if they want to keep Klay Thompson past next year, so picking up expiring, rookie, and non-guaranteed deals will be what they want most. We don't have too many of those, so a third team would likely need to be involved. The Warriors may go for this deal though because Kanter gives them a legitimate 3rd big behind Lee and Bogut who can fill in as a starter when one of them gets injured (we all know it will happen). The Warriors also will want Trey since their current 2nd string PG is Shawn Livingston. They'll give up Speights or Livingston, whichever isn't producing enough, in order to take on Booker's partially guaranteed deal. Since Iguodala will be considered the best player, the Jazz will most likely have to give the Warriors back their 2017 pick.
The Jazz then focus on Exum, Burks, Iggy, Hayward, Favors, Gobert, and Hood. Of all the trades here, this makes us strongest at the wing, but a little thin at PG. We could always bring over Neto as our backup PG, but we'd be really inexperienced unless Livingston was the trade piece. Our Backup PF would likely be determined by matchup since we'd be looking at Evans, Novak, and maybe Speights as options.
The Warriors end up with Curry, Thompson, Barnes, Lee, and Bogut as starters with a bench of Burke, Barbosa, Livingston/Speights, Kanter, and Ezeli. They're a little thin on the wing, but if Rush puts in the effort to get back to game shape, he may get into the rotation as well.
The only deal here that I think would clearly make the Jazz better in the long run is the one for Anthony Davis. The problem is that the Pelicans won't give him up unless he makes it abundantly clear that he wants out. The deal for Iguodala would make the Jazz much better now, but Iggy would be in his mid 30s by the time the rest of our players hit their prime. I went through quite a few other players, and didn't see any that I think would be worth trading for. The number of really good, or really promising players, that will peak at about the same time as the rest of are team is surprisingly small. The pool shrinks even more when you consider that most of those players will likely switch teams in free agency rather than via trade.
It may be that Lindsey waits another year before starting to move assets. It could also be that we roll with what we have and try to just add supplemental pieces while establishing a strong system and culture, kind of like the Pacers did. Let me know what you think.