NBA action is about to pick back up again, with playoff teams looking to gain momentum down the home stretch. First, let’s take a quick look at how things stand before the action restarts:
That’s really a beautiful thing isn’t it? The Utah Jazz earned the top spot in the league before the All Star break and had been playing some of their best basketball since the late ‘90s. But let’s not get complacent here. They sputtered a little bit right before the break and their armor showed a few kinks.
Are they a contender? It would certainly appear that way. But they should continue to look for any competitive advantage they can get. The Western Conference playoffs are going to be as brutal as ever this year.
With that in mind, it’s buyout season! As non-playoff teams look to shed salary and get out from under deals, that means some solid players may become available to the team of their choosing. Traditionally, the Jazz have never had a presence in the buyout market. That’s historically been a ridiculous big market advantage (something the NBA should look at changing somehow in my opinion). However, could this year be different with the Jazz having the best record in the league? With 3 All Stars on the roster? With a coach players love and know gets the most out of them?
I tried to put together a quick list of the potential buyout candidates (or already free agents) here, it’s up to you to decide which you’d prefer the Jazz pursuing:
- Blake Griffin - signed with the Brooklyn Nets
- Andre Drummond - rumored to be signing with the Brooklyn Nets
- Trevor Ariza
- Otto Porter Jr.
- George Hill
- Tony Snell
- Aaron Baynes
- Robin Lopez
- Wayne Ellington
- P.J. Tucker
- Dewayne Dedmon
- DeMarcus Cousins
- Ersan Ilyasova
- Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
Ultimately, buyout candidates haven’t always had a significant impact in the playoffs. But they could. That could be the difference maker in a few plays in the game that swings a series.
Personally, my #1 target here would be Otto Porter Jr. Yes, he’s had injury issues in the past. But he’s only 27 years old and has been a legitimate wing in this league when healthy. He’s the exact type of length and athleticism the Jazz need at the 3/4 spot, especially defensively.
Now, he has to actually get bought out first, which may or may not actually happen. Then he has to actually select the Jazz as his next team, which may or may not be his choice. But, the fact that the Jazz and Porter have had interest in each other in the past is a good sign if he indeed becomes available.
What say ye, Jazz fans? Leave the roster as is, or do one of these names (or a completely different one) interest you?