The Utah Jazz are 9-17, 12th in the Western Conference, and coming off a 21-point loss to the Sacramento Kings last night. The state of the Jazz isn’t as sad as the record might suggest, there are plenty of good things going on right now. Taylor Hendricks has started to play real minutes and is playing well, Keyonte George pre-injury is averaging 5 assists a game, and Lauri is back to shooting 39% on 8.3 threes a game. With that said, let’s look into a couple of ways the Jazz can change the direction of their season with a few different trades.
Playoff/Play-in game push
Maybe the least likely path is the path where the Jazz find it beneficial to make a trade that will move us toward making the playoffs. The Jazz making the playoffs might lure free agents into Utah, or if anything make us feel better about the current core.
This trade would include multiple first-round picks being sent to Chicago. This would allow the Jazz to pair Lauri and Zach together in what would be one of the better shooting duos in the league. The Jazz have a bevy of first-round picks to sift through, giving up a few of them for a player as good as Zach Lavine might bode well for the Jazz this season.
Adding youth to create an even younger team
I love the idea of finding young players that might not be in the most advantageous situation for the player. What if the Jazz could pry away young talent to further along the Jazz rebuild? It could make a lot of sense depending on the player.
In this situation, the Jazz attach some picks and pry away Jaden Ivey, James Wiseman, and Killian Hayes from the nightmare that is the Detroit Pistons. Jaden being the highlight of the trade has had an awkward 2nd season with Monty Williams as the new Pistons coach. Injuries, minutes being cut at times, and overall disjointed play might make the perfect candidate for a young player who needs a change of scenery.
In this second scenario, the Jazz get Orlando Magic guard Jalen Suggs, one of the better young defenders in the league, Suggs has shown a lot of growth in his game in his 3rd season since being the 5th pick out of Gonzaga. Both the Jazz and Orlando would send picks to Toronto as they’d begin preparing for their future.
Blow it all up and end everything we know as go into misery and sadness for the next few seasons
This path is where the Jazz wreck it all and put the whole team on the trade block. As SLC Dunks Calvin Chappell has reported the Jazz most likely aren’t moving Lauri Markkanen, but their phone will definitely be blowing up. Let’s highlight just a couple of opportunities that might be hard to say no.
In this trade, the Jazz gives up our Finnish king for multiple first-round picks, Josh Giddey, and Aleksej Pokusevski. This is a scenario where the Jazz get two young intriguing players as well as more first-round picks to build for the future. For OKC they’d be serious contenders in the West. It’s important to note that the league is still investigating Josh Giddey for serious accusations.
In conclusion, the Jazz have multiple paths they can take the rest of this season, including Jordan Clarkson who becomes trade-eligible on January 6th. Trusting in Danny Ainge usually works out in our favor, surely Danny and Justin Zanik will be busy all the way up to the trade deadline.