Now that Utah has their point guard situation figured out, the obvious next step is re-signing Gordon Hayward to a max deal, and re-signing Joe Ingles to a market-value contract. Ingles has indicated that he would prefer to stay with the Utah Jazz, as reported here, here, and here.
What are some other steps Utah front office could take to improve the roster and compete with the top teams in the league?
Sign a (preferably young) stretch big in free agency.
JaMychal Green, RFA - Only 26 years old, and he put up shooting splits of 50/38/80 (TS% of .601!!!). He had the best ORB%, DRB%, and TRB% of any other power forward mentioned here. WS/48 of .132, which is fantastic for a 3rd year player. Grizzlies likely match any reasonable offers, probably up to the $20~ million a year range. If Utah can somehow pry him away from Memphis without them matching, he fits the mold of everything the Jazz could want in a 4.
Serge Ibaka, UFA - Still only 27. He shot 48% from the field, 39% from 3, and 86% from the FT line. Not the shot blocker he was a few years ago, and he’s not a great rebounder or passer, but at the right price he’d be a great fit next to Rudy. A lot of advanced stats don’t look great for Ibaka - in most areas he’s rated as right around league average.
Patrick Patterson, UFA - 27 years old. Even though his individual advanced metrics look ho-hum (WS/48, VORP, BPM, etc), his presence on the floor with the Raptors made everyone around him better. Even though he’s only 27, he’s already been with 3 teams. Hard to say what exactly has made Toronto successful when he’s on the court, but he’s right in his prime and seems to be the consummate role player at power forward.
Nikola Mirotic, RFA - At 25, Mirotic is the youngest player on this list. His career has been unusual. After his rookie season, his number have dropped almost across the board each season. Has he been unhappy in Chicago, or have NBA defenses adjusted to his game and shut him down? If he can re-discover the magic of his rookie season, he’d be a great power forward. If his downward trajectory continues, he’ll be out of the league in 3 years.
Sign-and-trade with the Atlanta Hawks for Paul Millsap. (Derrick Favors, Alec Burks, and Rodney Hood for Paul Millsap.)
Why Utah does it: They move on from a handful of oft-injured players who don’t fit all that well in Quin Snyder’s offense, and bring in an established, productive veteran. Youth is great (Gobert, Hayward, Rubio, Ingles, Exum, Mitchell, Bolomboy, etc) but every team needs a veteran presence. Millsap is a jack-of-all trades 4 who would fit perfectly next to The Stifle Tower.
Why Atlanta does it: They get assets in return for a guy who would have otherwise left for nothing. They get some depth with relatively young players who have all proven to be effective NBA players when healthy. They also maintain flexibility, as Burks is the only player with more than one year remaining on his contract, and they gain control of Hood, who is a good 3 point shooter on a rookie contract with room to grow.
Why Utah doesn’t do it: Favors/Burks/Hood is a lot of youth to give up on for an aging Millsap.
Why Atlanta doesn’t do it: They can likely get a better package of prospects and/or picks from another team if S&T is the route they go with Paul.
Trade with the Spurs for LaMarcus Aldridge. Favors and Burks for Aldridge.
Why Utah does it: They get a stretchy big man with good length to pair with Gobert, and make room for younger, healthier guards to secure minutes with Burks out of the picture.
Why San Antonio does it: They part ways with a player who reportedly doesn’t fit with their franchise. In return, they receive a player who, when healthy, is a quality big man and a slashing, athletic wing. If anyone can mold Alec Burks into a 6th man, it’s Gregg Popovich.
Why Utah doesn’t do it: Aldridge is aging, and when healthy, Favors is still a great player. Trading for Aldridge is likely a one-year rental. Good short-term, not great long-term unless LMA is willing to re-sign with Utah.
Why San Antonio doesn’t do it: They receive minimal cap relief this season, take on $11~ million in salary next season (Burks) and trade away a legit #2 option for what could very well be broken parts.
Simply keep Favors and perform whatever Voodoo is necessary to keep him healthy. This is probably the most likely option. The Jazz still don’t really know what a full season of Favors + Gobert looks like - and the data that’s out there is encouraging enough that Quin Snyder and Dennis Lindsey want to continue moving forward with the twin towers roaming the paint for Utah.
My vote: JaMychal Green at $15 million a year. The Grizzlies have no cap room and unless they unload some other contracts, re-signing Green will be difficult for them. They’re already right around $90 million with over $68 million of that spent on 3 players (Conley, Gasol, Parsons). In order to fill out a full roster, they’re going to have to get creative - and it’s unlikely any team is willing to take on any of their 3 big contracts. Utah would either have to sign Green before signing Ingles and Hayward, or unload some contracts (like Burks or Favors).
What’s your vote?