If you go back into the archives of the NBA you end up seeing some patterns emerge. With the Utah Jazz the patterns that seem to emerge the most is that randomness gives way to deliberate action. Nothing happens without thinking it over first, and sometimes, a little too much thinking and a little too little action can ruin something that is turning out great. This has been the case of every Jazz General Manager from Frank Layden to Dennis Lindsey. But it's that persistence and caution that has kept a pro sports team in Utah for decades, without having to suffer as much as some of the other, more poorly-managed, small market teams have. In fact, if you look at the NBA archives you see nothing short of brilliance at times by the people running the Jazz. One such example has been what they do around the trade deadline. Sure, other teams have historically been more active. But few teams gain more from a move than the Jazz do. Why? Because for the Jazz, it's not just the move they make, it's the non-move they HAD to make, after the move they make.
That makes no sense, so let's start small. Here are the list of moves the Jazz have completed around the trade deadline. Not all of them are trades, but a lot of them are still important.
|1||Feb||25||1988||Free Agent Pool||--|
|2||Feb||24||1994||Philadelphia 76ers||Jeff Malone|
|3||Feb||16||1998||Orlando Magic||Chris Morris||Rony Seikaly|
|4||Feb||21||2002||Free Agent Pool||--||Rusty LaRue|
|Orlando Magic||Keon Clark||Tom Gugliotta|
|7||Feb||18||2010||Memphis Grizzlies||I'm still trying to find out|
|8||Feb||19||2015||Oklahoma City Thunder|
First of all, there's the overt trades. Your Malone for Hornacek trade is the prime example. The Jazz got a better shooter and playmaker to pair with Stockton and Malone, but gave up scoring ability to get it. That took the Jazz from a playoff team to a contender. That was the purpose and it was successful. Another example would have been the Seikaly trade. Objectively it could have turn the Jazz from contenders to champions. It just wasn't to be, but the move was not nonsense. Sure, us Jazz fans are butt-hurt about it years still, but we can't fault Jazz management for pulling the trigger on a deal that could bring a title to the #801.
There are some less overt moves that caused success as well. An under-the-radar move was picking up Rusty LaRue. Who? A former team-mate at CSKA Moscow of young'un Andrei Kirilenko. That move settles Andrei down and helps him deal with life in America better, and life in the NBA better. No one thinks that this was because LaRue was a game changer. But he helped the Jazz focus their game changer.
Years later the Jazz moved a starter out of the picture to make room for a younger player with a higher ceiling -- losing a popular player in the process. Ronnie B could dunk and play defense, but he was a throwback to a simpler time in the NBA and not necessary. Utah pretty much repeated this move by getting rid of Enes -- opening the door for a younger guy. I think most of us think Wesley Matthews and Rudy Gobert are better than the people they were starting behind, right?
And that's another thing, not all moves exist to get the best possible return on that individual move. No. Some moves are done to get the big win in the end. For example, this isn't a deadline deal, but the Utah Jazz used three first rounds to get Deron Williams. Most of us forget that they ended up with Deron through a series of scavenger hunt like moves where salary dumps became players and picks. And those players and picks became better players. And those better players were move for picks. And those picks all ended up turning into an All-NBA player who leads the team to the Western Conference Finals. (For reals, when you trace back all of this info it's crazy!)
The Utah Jazz don't always make the biggest move, nor can they. But they do make small moves that sometimes end up being great. If the Jazz make a move in the next three days I bet that it's for a distinct purpose with an eye on the pick picture. Just like last season. And if they don't make a trade, you can bet there's a good reason for it.