2026 Draft Problem

The Utah Jazz created a problem by trading Derek Favors for a partially protected first round pick to the Thunder. In 2024, the pick is protected top 10. Almost everyone expects the Jazz to finish bottom 10 and retain their pick for 2024. If not conveyed in 2024, it goes to 2025 and remains top 10 protected. Yet again, the odds are good the Jazz retain their pick. Then comes 2026, where it is only top 8 protected. This is where the Jazz created trouble with their pick. It is unclear if the Jazz will finish bottom 8 and retain their pick. Now here's the catch. If the Jazz forfeit their 2026 pick to the Thunder, they also forfeit their right to swap picks with Cavs or Twolves in 2026.

Essentially, if the Jazz finish bottom 8 and retain their pick, they can swap with either the Cavs or Twolves. However, by finishing bottom 8, the likelihood of getting a better pick by swapping is very low. Thereby, decreasing the swap value.

If the Jazz finish outside bottom 8, the Jazz forfeit their pick and and 2 draft swaps don't matter.

Either way, the Jazz put themselves in a conundrum. Their assets overlap and it decreases the value. What does this mean for 2026? Do we tank to try to get the pick and retain the swap rights or do we throw away 3 assets (the pick itself, the Cavs swap rights, and the Twolves swap rights)? It's too bad they thought Gay for $6 million/year was better than Favors for $10 million/year and a FRP.

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