With no games until Friday, the talk of the town in Jazzland is still Enes Kanter's apparent trade demand prior to the All-Star break. My_Lo pretty much brought you up to speed yesterday, and nothing has changed at time of writing. Accounts differ as to how "amazing" a deal would need to be to get Kanter out of Utah, but the general consensus is that the Jazz want more than teams have been willing to offer, given Enes's impending restricted free agency.
Part of the reason for the discrepancy here seems to be that, for whatever reason, Kanter's current value in the trade market is less than his actual value as a player. You can possibly lay some of the blame here at Big Turkey's feet, for driving his own price down by publicly declaring his desire to be traded. But that's only one factor, and it's impossible to say how big a factor it is. (And, it should be added, the Jazz apparently aren't holding it against him.)
On the Enes Kanter situation: given that Enes and reps have been asking for trades for months, going public doesn't change much for Jazz.
— Andy Larsen (@andyblarsen) February 16, 2015
I'm far from a salary-cap expert, and I'm no Trade Machine wizard, either. Most of you are probably better at this sort of thing than I am. What I do feel comfortable saying is that someone, be it the Jazz or another suitor, will offer Enes Kanter more than $10 million per year this offseason. It may not be a lot more, and it certainly won't be the rumored "Hayward money" his agent was apparently seeking last year. But it will be a significant amount, one that will make the Jazz think twice.
But the offers the Jazz are fielding right now are far below what you'd expect for a $10 million-per-year player. Because he isn't one yet, even if he will be in a few months. That's the weird world of the NBA trade market. Players are worth what teams will pay, regardless of talent. And teams don't want to give the Jazz, or Kanter, any more than they have to.
What the whole situation calls for is patience. And Enes made that clear on his Twitter account on Tuesday:
Ya Sabır..! Ya Sabır..! Ya Sabır..!
— Enes Kanter (@Enes_Kanter) February 17, 2015
According to internet translators, that means either "what patience!" or "God give me patience!" Of course, I have no idea if Kanter was speaking of his uncertain basketball future when he posted that. Either way, it's appropriate. He, and the Jazz, and Jazz fans, will probably all need to be patient as this situation plays itself out. And my guess is that patience will need to extend into the coming offseason and free agency.
Let's think about something else, shall we? It's never too early to talk draft picks, especially with the Jazz heading for the lottery again. Given the improved play of the team over the past month or so, our chances of jumping into the top three are growing slimmer. So let's see who ESPN's Chad Ford has picked out for the Jazz at their current No. 7 slot:
7: Kevon Looney, Utah Jazz
Jazz's chances of winning lottery: 4.3 percent
The Jazz, like the Timberwolves, are loaded with young talent right now. Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors have played well enough this season to get All-Star consideration. Dante Exum and Rudy Gobert both have very bright futures. And the Jazz have several other young players, including Alec Burks, Trey Burke and (if they don't trade him) Enes Kanter. So the Jazz don't have any major needs that have to be addressed, freeing them up to draft the best player still on the board. Right now that's Looney, a long, versatile forward who can play the 3 and 4. He's the only freshman in the country averaging a double-double this season. I've been using Lamar Odom as a comp for him, but my colleague Kevin Pelton says Looney's statistical profile is more reminiscent of Kawhi Leonard.
I haven't watched UCLA enough this year to have an opinion on Looney, but Ford's correct in saying the Jazz definitely don't need to draft for a particular position. The backcourt seems sketchy right now, but that's mostly because of injuries to Alec Burks and Rodney Hood, and we always knew Dante Exum would be a long-term project. I'd be happy with a Kawhi/Odom type with length and upside. And can you imagine a lineup of Dante, Hayward, Looney, Favors and Gobert? It'd be like fielding a team of Dhalsims. (Minus the fire breath, I'd assume.)
On to FanPosts, and back to Kanter for a moment. Jordan Cummings sees a potential buyer just one state to the south:
This got me thinking about different trades we could do to get something of value in return for Kanter. Most playoff teams looking for frontcourt depth don't really have any assets to give us. Most lottery teams looking for a big man wouldn't want to give up their valuable assets for what could become a short rental, followed by an overly expensive matched contract this RFA period.
I rattled off quite a few trades in the discussion thread, but the recent quote from the Suns GM (brought to my attention by our own Xum) got me thinking seriously about a trade with the Suns, and what I'd be willing to part with in order to make it happen.
Back to the lottery for a moment, too, as gubihero proposes a potential tweak to the lottery rules that could alleviate the dread scourge of tanking:
I for one believe that the current lottery system isn't that bad, but it rewards tanking so it's not perfect. The tweak that I'm thinking of would remove multi year tanking. In my system, the odds remain the same however the lottery is expanded to include the first 5 picks. On top of that if a team wins any of the spots in the lottery they are barred from winning again for a set number of years (by the way this would also prevent the clevelands of the world from getting 3 number one picks in 4 years).
Finally, Hardwood18 points out that you could field quite a decent little team from current and former Jazz players still in the Association:
I was thinking back when Chicago was basically Utah Jazz 2.0 when they had Boozer, Korver and Brewer while D Will and AK were in Brooklyn. Now I feel the same way as I look around the league.
Thanks for the posts, everybody!
There's a pretty solid video about Rudy Gobert's blocking philosophy on the Jazz website right now. But I can't embed it. Because it's 2015 and the NBA won't let you embed videos. Still. (I feel like I complain about this every week, but seriously. Join the Internet, fellas.)
So instead I'll embed this Vine, link you to the video, and call it good. Good? Good.
Speaking of Vines, the Jazz made an appearance in Grantland's list of the best Vines of the NBA season so far...but it wasn't due to anything the Jazz did.
Grow up, Cliff. You'll never be as good as Don, anyway.