This was a weird one and was likely the most predictable outcome we’ve had in a long time for the Utah Jazz.
Earlier in the day we had reports of a three-team trade with the Lakers, Wolves, and Jazz.
ESPN Sources: Three-team trade is largely hinging on how Minnesota values D’Angelo Russell in potential deal and their return of draft assets. Lakers and Jazz have significant deal structure in place, but Minnesota has been engaged elsewhere on Russell too.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 8, 2023
With the trade looming, Jazz players still arrived at the game and went through warmups.
Mike Conley going through pregame warmups as a member of the Jazz for the last time? ♂️ pic.twitter.com/RMLyTvwbb1— Eric Walden (@tribjazz) February 9, 2023
But right as these things were happening, the trade went down.
Malik Beasley just came through and said goodbye to all of us in the arena, scorers, table. What a gracious gesture as he learns of his professional future.— Holly Rowe (@sportsiren) February 9, 2023
With the trade having happened, a game had to actually be played and it went about as you expected. Utah lost to the Wolves, 143-118.
It was clear that spirits were down for the team and it’s not surprising considering they had to watch their teammates leave the arena right before the game. The core pieces for the Jazz, the ones the team has declared untouchable did pretty well tonight. Lauri Markkanen, who made his first all-star team his year scored 21 points while shooting 50% from the field and 42% from three. It will be interesting to see what happens with Markkanen as the season continues and how much he plays. Utah will be interested in keeping him healthy because he’s a big piece of the core for years to come.
Walker Kessler had a bounceback night tonight with 16 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocks. Kessler continues his breakout rookie season and there’s no reason to think he can’t become an essential part of the teams future.
Finally, Jordan Clarkson had a bad night. He looked pretty dejected and his numbers showed.
Jazz fans missing Mike Conley right now: pic.twitter.com/TnxiUipkie— Garth Gagnier (@Grrr22) February 9, 2023
There are some benefits to the this trade, but it’s hard to see those benefits right away. Ochai Agbaji is going to get a lot more minutes and it should allow him to grow in ways he couldn’t if he was sitting on the bench behind multiple vets. Can he take advantage of the opportunity and grow?
It’s another chapter of Jazz basketball, more the one we expected when this season started, will they be able to take advantage? There are a lot of question marks left for the Jazz but we’ll get answers this summer on lottery night followed by the Jazz making their pick in this upcoming draft, one of many picks to come.