With so many players on the Utah Jazz roster after the blockbuster trades of Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, it was inevitable that the Jazz would have to make some tough decisions. Today was the day to make those decisions and it looks like the biggest surprise is the loss of Jared Butler.
Last night, after their loss to the Dallas Mavericks, the Jazz waived Stanley Johnson.
Stanley Johnson was told shortly after tonight's game that he was not going to be kept on the roster and was understandably upset. But he's already proven he's a legit NBA player and will be defensively helpful. I wouldn't think he'll be teamless for very long at all.— Sarah Todd (@NBASarah) October 15, 2022
It’s an interesting decision that has some angles to consider. Johnson showed last year with the Lakers that he’s a viable NBA rotation player. He’s not a very good offensive player but he can fit in the NBA as a versatile wing defender. There’s probably not a lot of upside there for Johnson and that was probably the reason they let him go. Considering the Jazz aren’t going to be very good this year, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to give a lot of minutes to Johnson who wouldn’t likely be on the Jazz in 2-3 years anyway.
The Jazz also waived Cody Zeller but that wasn’t a huge surprise considering Zeller is at the twilight of his career and would be taking minutes from Walker Kessler if they kept him. That decision probably contributed to the reason they cut Jared Butler.
The Utah Jazz are waiving Guard Jared Butler, league sources tell myself and @ShamsCharania— Tony Jones (@Tjonesonthenba) October 15, 2022
Speaking of Jared Butler, that’s probably the biggest surprise of these moves. Butler was a player that dropped in the draft and Utah was surprised to get him in the second round. It’s really a shame that things didn’t work out with him because of all the potential he showed coming into the league. Under Quin Snyder, Jared Butler wasn’t able to improve. Throughout the season Butler would never get comfortable in a system that led the Jazz to giving up multiple playoff leads and being embarrassed in the first round last playoffs.
Regardless of the spilt milk that sowered this Jazz roster after last season, the Jazz had very few options with this decision. Kepping Zeller was not going to happen and if they also cut Udoka Azubuike that would have left them without a third-string center. For Butler, who’s ceiling was probably a high level third guard, it’s a tough loss but the Jazz are making decisions that will improve the team in the next 2-3 years. It’s hard to say that Butler would be a part of this roster at that time, whether they keep DOK or not.
This is always a tough day, and it’s never fun to see your team move on from the mistakes of the past, but there is solace in knowing the Jazz are erasing all the stink they can from what was a horrible season last year.