How long has it been since we’ve heard the words continuity? What once seemed like Utah’s biggest strength has been all but forgotten after what has been easily the toughest schedule in the league.
Now that the Jazz are through the roughest stretch of the season, is it time to give continuity another chance?
It’s no secret that I’ve been interested in various options that may be available on the trade market. But there are some possible downsides for the Jazz if they do make a trade. Here are some reasons the Utah Jazz may want to sit out the trade deadline.
Why make a trade when you can just sign a free agent?
The upcoming free agency market is filled with a lot of options for the Jazz. Making a trade ensures a prospect now, but you have to give up assets for it. If you can sign the right player this offseason, you don’t give up anything while being better established for the future.
Free agency is always the wildcard that helps teams jump steps on the road to a championship because it means gaining players without the sacrifice of assets. It’s easily the best option for building a franchise quickly.
Utah has two legitimate stars in Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell. If they can keep some of their high level role players while also signing a high level free agent, it’s a game changer because with a trade you lose the depth that takes you over the top.
Seeing Ricky Rubio and Dante Exum go down with injury is a good reminder how quickly depth becomes an issue for teams that have sacrificed their depth for a trade.
A trade will mean an adjustment period.
Learning to play in Quin Snyder’s offense can be a big adjustment. Even Kyle Korver, who has been an instant positive for the team, took 2-3 games to start understanding where he fits and how to make an impact on the team.
If the Jazz sign a younger player that they’re looking to build alongside Mitchell and Gobert, that could mean punting the season, especially if that means losing an established veteran.
Names that some Jazz fans mention like Otto Porter or Aaron Gordon would be great options for the Jazz. However, the assets needed to get one of those players, along with the time it takes for them to learn the offense and build chemistry, almost assures the Jazz lose a few extra games through the rest of the season. Are Jazz fans okay not making the playoffs if it means a young, budding star?
Considering how difficult the Western Conference is, a few extra losses is the difference between making the playoffs or a trip to the lottery.
Culture over impatience
The Jazz have had a lot of ups and downs this season, but the one constant they’ve been able to count on is a positive culture.
Right now, even though the pieces are a bit awkward schematically, the culture for the Jazz is great. The players enjoy each other on and off the floor.
Trades come with the risk of interrupting chemistry by bringing on baggage the team may not have foreseen.
As excited as the Sixers were to bring Jimmy Butler to their team, there’s trouble in the locker room that has a chance to change everything for them.
Reporting with @ramonashelburne: Philadelphia’s Jimmy Butler has aggressively challenged coach Brett Brown on All-Star’s role in 76ers offense, complicating an already-tenuous chemistry among team’s Big 3 hierarchy. Story on ESPN. https://t.co/DYqEAZNzM1— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 4, 2019
Bad chemistry is hard to fix and the Jazz don’t need anything that makes the road to the playoffs more difficult.
On top of bringing on a player that could create problems, you also don’t want to interrupt relationships on the team that have more meaning than you realize. Jazz fans will always remember the impact that trading Ronnie Brewer had on Deron Williams. That’s the trade that could very well have changed the franchise more than anything. Here’s an excerpt from a bleacher report article covering the story at the time.
Trouble could be brewing.
Just before last Friday’s trade deadline, the ultra conservative franchise shipped rising star Ronnie Brewer to Memphis for a dubious first-round pick. The move was made in an effort to save money. Not to get better mind you—but to save some dinero ($2.7 million to be exact).
General Manager, Kevin O’ Connor isn’t even sure if it was a good deal for the Jazz. In a radio interview just moments after the trade was announced, O’Connor acknowledged that he was extremely concerned about how the departure of Brewer would affect the team’s chemistry.
And Utah’s Hall of Fame coach Jerry Sloan said that he wasn’t crazy about making trades, period.
The truth is O’Connor won’t know if trading Brewer to free up a log jam at the swing position works until the playoffs roll around. That’s when the loss of depth and decreased athleticism could come back to bite the Jazz.
Most of you have already heard Deron Williams’ comments about the trade, and he was not kind to Jazz management.
“It stinks,” D-Will said, after Friday’s shoot-around at Golden State. “I think if we’d make a trade it would be something a little different than that,” the All-Star point guard continued. “You look at all the teams in the West and we essentially got worse, if you ask me.”
That’s powerful stuff and Jazz CEO Greg Miller knows it. He had “no comment” in regards to Williams popping off. He knows that keeping Deron in a Jazz uniform is the only thing holding this franchise together. No need to get into a war of words with the face of the franchise.
We all know how that ended up ...
I would just like to say that, personally, if the Jazz have an opportunity at a blue chip player this trade deadline, and they don’t have to give up anything too significant, they should probably do it. You want to take advantage of Rudy Gobert’s prime as best you can.
Also, the risk of going into free agency and coming away empty handed is just as big as all the risks I’ve mentioned and free agency for Utah will always be an uphill climb. As they say, a bird in the hand is always better than two in the bush.
The Jazz have to be sure that none of the above comes back to bite them. Every move has to be done with the long term health of the team in mind or the Jazz will end up with more problems than solutions.
I don’t envy Dennis Lindsey right now. The decisions he makes in the next few weeks will affect the franchise for years to come. We’ll see if it’s positive or negative.