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Trades the Utah Jazz can realistically make before the deadline

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The NBA’s annual trade deadline is less than a week away. As usual (in the Dennis Lindsey era), the Utah Jazz are floating around in rumors. Which possible deals might actually happen?

NBA: Denver Nuggets at Memphis Grizzlies Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Otto Porter? Mike Conley? Who’s available at this year’s NBA trade deadline? Who can the Utah Jazz get? And how can they get them?

Last week, I detailed some potential targets I thought made sense for the Jazz. Now, let’s see if we can put together some realistic trade packages that might land one of those names floating around the rumor mill.

These are by no means perfect. I’m sure I could be talked into tweaks here and there. And the details on the picks involved would have to be spruced up for real trades. But, at the very least, consider these ideas good places to start.

The Deal

Utah Receives: Mike Conley

Memphis Receives: Ricky Rubio, Dante Exum and a first-round pick

Conley’s name was found in a bunch of responses to the tweet I sent out soliciting realistic trade targets for Utah.

And for good reason.

After missing all but 12 games last season, Conley looks healthy again. And he’s been excellent on offense, averaging 20.2 points, 6.3 assists and 2.2 threes, with a league-average True Shooting Percentage.

That’s essentially the combined production of Ricky Rubio and Dante Exum, with a little more efficiency. And it’s reasonable to think Conley might be even better in Utah, where he’d have Donovan Mitchell to alleviate a lot of the responsibility he’s had in Memphis.

This move wouldn’t be without risk, though. Conley’s 31 years old, undersized (6’1”), has a fairly robust injury history and is owed well over $60 million over the next two seasons.

And as the mayor of Exum Island, losing him would wrench my basketball soul. Without him, it’s hard to see a deal getting done.

Unlike a team like the Washington Wizards, Memphis doesn’t have to worry a ton about taking long(ish)-term money back. And Exum would fit the Grizzlies’ timeline. A young player with some upside and a pick is probably about as good as Memphis can hope to get for a point guard with so many question marks attached.

The Deal

Utah Receives: Otto Porter, Jeremy Lin and Tomas Satoransky

Washington Receives: Derrick Favors, Ricky Rubio and Thabo Sefolosha

Atlanta Receives: Ian Mahinmi, Utah’s 2019 first-round pick (top-16 protection in 2019; lottery protection in 2020; top-12 protection in 2021; turns into two seconds if not conveyed)

OK, I admit it. I straight-up stole this one from friend and co-host Dan Favale’s trade piece for Bleacher Report in early January. I just love it.

(And the specificity and complexity of the pick involved screams Dan, who is the best in the business at fake trades.)

For Utah, Porter can instantly slot in at the 4 and potentially create a souped-up, longer version of the small-ball lineups with which the Jazz already dominate.

Jeremy Lin, while posting a lower overall Box Plus-Minus than Rubio this season, is still an upgrade offensively. He’s averaging 19.8 points, 6.7 assists, 5.3 free throws and 1.6 threes per 36 minutes, with a .597 True Shooting Percentage. And I’d be optimistic about what Quin Snyder and Utah’s system might be able to draw out of him on defense.

Tomas Satoransky might actually be pretty tough to secure in this deal. And Dan has pointed out that it still works if you drop Sato and Thabo Sefolosha from the equation.

But, if Washington is really eager to get out of long-term money (as it should be), Satoransky would give Utah another player who’s generally listed as a point guard but feels more like a position-less player. He and Exum could be a very interesting wing combo in lineups with Donovan Mitchell.

For the other teams, Atlanta gets a pick for taking on Mahinmi’s contract. And this haul could realistically make the Wizards better in the short term.

Derrick Favors is having a better season than Porter and would give Washington a legitimate starting 5. Rubio can replicate a lot of what Satoransky does (minus the shooting). And Sefolosha can play the combo forward role off the bench that Porter occupied for a big chunk of this season.

The Deal

Utah Receives: Nikola Mirotic

New Orleans Receives: Derrick Favors

This one could go a bunch of different ways. But if the New Orleans Pelicans start an all-out firesale in the wake of Anthony Davis’ trade request, they’re probably not going to want long-term money back in deals (unless sweeteners like picks or young players are attached).

That means either Rubio (expiring) or Favors (non-guaranteed next season) could make some sense. Favors maybe isn’t a perfect fit if Julius Randle and Jahlil Okafor are still around (he’s better but also older than both), but he could start at center if AD’s sent home and he should have more trade value than Rubio.

For Utah, Mirotic is a downgrade from Favors in a vacuum. But his fit next to Gobert is enticing, thanks to his ability to stretch the floor and attack closeouts.

And, spoiler alert, this will be the rationale for a few more hypothetical trades below.

The Deal

Utah Receives: Jrue Holiday

New Orleans Receives: Ricky Rubio, Dante Exum, a first-round pick and a second-round pick

File this in the “if the New Orleans Pelicans start an all-out firesale” folder. Because, right now, all indications are that the Pelicans are in it for the long haul with Holiday. And prying him away might take even more than what I’ve outlined above.

The justification here is largely the same as that in the Conley section, only Holiday is three years younger, bigger and more versatile on defense.

If he ever reclaims the jump shot he had during his first few seasons in the NBA, he’s a top 25-30 player.

The Deal

Utah Receives: Danilo Gallinari

Los Angeles Receives: Derrick Favors

If the Los Angeles Clippers are serious about chasing Kawhi Leonard and someone to pair with him this summer, they’re going to need to create some cap flexibility.

Favors’ contract would do that for them.

And Gallinari is another modern 4 who would look great next to Gobert. There are certainly injury concerns with him (including a back injury he’s currently nursing), but he’s averaging 19 points on .622 True Shooting this season. And his mere presence on the three-point line would open up the middle for Gobert and Mitchell.

The Deal

Utah Receives: Jeremy Lin

Atlanta Receives: Ricky Rubio and a second-round pick

So, this one would obviously be satisfied by the three-teamer detailed above. But, if you’re looking for a standalone version, it would probably look something like this.

Rubio and Lin have roughly the same annual salary. So, the math works fine for a straight-up swap. But there’s no incentive for Atlanta to switch one expiring contract for another, without getting something like a second-round pick as well.

The Deal

Utah Receives: Julius Randle

New Orleans Receives: Thabo Sefolosha and a first-round pick

Oh hey, another deal with New Orleans. And this one is fraught with risk for the Jazz.

Julius Randle would be a nice fit. He has power forward size to go along with some guard skills. And his relatively low salary figure makes him gettable without having to give up someone like Favors.

But the second year of Randle’s deal is a player option. And I don’t know him, so this might be unfair, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him market chasing in 2019.

As an aside, I think it’s probably wise for the Jazz to be looking at guys who are under contract for two or three years. Smaller markets need all the time they can get to sell guys on their culture.

The Deal

Utah Receives: Kevin Love and J.R. Smith

New Orleans Receives: Derrick Favors, Ricky Rubio, Grayson Allen and a first-round pick

The idea of Kevin Love on the Utah Jazz has been floating around for some time. Love himself gave it some legs when he called Park City, Utah his favorite place in the country.

The obvious issues are his age (30), health (he’s averaging around 40 appearances per season over his last three) and contract (four more years and $120 million).

Those issues make this one a bit of a gamble.

But, if the cost is two expiring contracts you may not have brought back anyway, a 23-year-old rookie who hasn’t been able crack the rotation and a late first-round pick, maybe it’s worth it?

If Kevin Love is halfway between the player he was with the Minnesota Timberwolves (third in the league in Box Plus-Minus his final season there) and what he was with the Cleveland Cavaliers (an oversized shooting guard next to LeBron James), that’s still a really interesting fit next to Gobert.

Again, Love does more to stretch the floor for Favors. And that opens up the lane for Mitchell/Gobert pick-and-rolls, which has the potential to be Utah’s bread and butter for years to come.


Again, these deals certainly aren’t perfect. But the trades that actually happen aren’t either.

I think the general goals for Utah at this deadline will be: Improve point guard play or open things up with a more modern 4.

If they could somehow achieve both, the Western Conference would suddenly become even more treacherous.


Unless otherwise noted, stats courtesy of NBA.com, Basketball Reference, Cleaning the Glass or ESPN.
Andy Bailey covers the NBA for SLC Dunk and Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter (@AndrewDBailey) and listen to his Hardwood Knocks podcast, co-hosted by B/R’s Dan Favale.