It looks like we’re doing this again. The evergreen free agent/trade acquisition target of the Utah Jazz—Nikola Mirotic—is apparently a ‘possibility’ for the Utah Jazz according to Tony Jones of The Athletic.
Nikola is a possibility for the jazz https://t.co/TeFWipn0Rm— Tony Jones (@Tjonesonthenba) June 26, 2019
We know this rumor is more than just “Mirotic would be a great fit in Utah” because Tony Jones has notoriously avoided fielding questions for Mirotic. (RIP Tony Jones’ phone when he tweeted this)
What does this mean for Utah?
It means Utah wasn’t blowing hot air when they said they were going to go out and get premier shooters and playmakers. When Nikola Mirotic is on his game, he’s one of the best floor spacers in the NBA. With a squad of Mike Conley, Donovan Mitchell, Joe Ingles, and Rudy Gobert on the floor with him, he’d excel. Teams wouldn’t dare double team or play off of any Utah Jazz player while they were out there.
This is now the third possible big man that would command more than a MLE that has been linked with Utah—others being Tobias Harris and Bobby Portis. Hours before this news about Nikola Mirotic, the story about Derrick Favors approaching free agency as if he will be a free agent hit. While I don’t think it’s a lock Derrick Favors stays, I don’t feel it’s a lock he leaves either.
Even if Utah releases Derrick Favors and all their cap holds, it’s not as though they have mountains of cash to work with. If teams go nuts in free agency a la 2016, Utah could see themselves incredulously priced out.
The prospect of Nikola Mirotic coming to Utah is tantalizing when it comes to the offensive end. The question with Niko is do the gains on offense justify the losses on defense? Luckily Dennis Lindsey and Justin Zanik have to answer that question and be held accountable for it and not us.