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Rumor: Utah Jazz were interested in Kristaps Porzingis

It seems like a rumor that could give some insight into what the Jazz do this summer

Utah Jazz v Washington Wizards Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

According to Marc Stein on his latest substack, the Utah Jazz were looking to sign Kristaps Porzingis before he was traded.

From Marc Stein’s latest:

Wednesday’s Kristaps Porziņģis trade saga ultimately required the Celtics to manufacture two separate deals to acquire the former Wizard. Along the way I heard from multiple rival teams that were convinced Porziņģis, had he not landed with the Celtics, was poised to receive strong free agent interest from Utah had he elected to decline his $36 million player option for next season before Wednesday’s midnight deadline.

The Jazz are projected to have between $47 and $73 million in cap space for the offseason, but they also already have All-Star forward Lauri Markkanen and Walker Kessler, freshly recruited to play for USA Basketball in the FIBA World Cup later this summer, in their frontcourt.

As Stein mentions, it would have been an interesting signing considering the Jazz already have Walker Kessler on their team. Porzingis brings a different skill set than Kessler with his ability to spread the floor. Would this have been to be in a backup role? Or would this have changed their draft strategy if they had KP? The Jazz now have Taylor Hendricks, who will likely fill the 4-spot. Theoretically, Hendricks could also play some backup center behind Kessler, but that may be a lot to ask of Hendricks in his first season, which makes the KP news make a little more sense. KP would have been a fantastic backup center, but it would have been an overpay. The Jazz might have been fine with that if it was short-term considering how much cap space the Jazz are working with. With that now working out for the Jazz, it does maybe give some insight into what the Jazz might do with that cap space.

Another interesting stretch 5 the Jazz could consider is Naz Reid on the Minnesota Timberwolves. Reid could be someone the Jazz bring on that could fill the backup center minutes and give the Jazz some versatility in their offense. Reid could also play with Hendricks and could even share the floor with Kessler because of his ability to shoot the ball. It would allow the Jazz to play some 5-out lineups that could really cause problems for opposing defenses.

We’ll see what the Jazz do but with their influx of new young talent, and a boatload of cap space, the Jazz are going to be one of the most interesting teams in the offseason, and the season to come.