In a month full of holidays, December 15th may not seem all that special except to NBA fans. That’s the day in which most NBA players are available for trade. That means the fun excitement of following the trade rumors and fireworks that lead all the way to the NBA Trade Deadline in February. As of today’s date of December 9th. The Utah Jazz are 6th in the Western Conference with a 13-10 record. They have the NBA’s 21st ranked offense and 11th ranked defense and over the past two weeks they have the league’s 20th ranked offense and 23rd ranked defense.
Utah most likely will find themselves a buyer on the trade market as they have Dante Exum at $11M/year and out of the rotation, Tony Bradley on the fringes of the rotation and nearing the end of his rookie contract, and a bench unit that has been performing as one of the league’s worst minus a few outlying games this season. Utah’s decision to go all in for a contender is currently not paying the dividends they expected. So let’s go through some potential trade candidates that the Jazz can go after from most realistic to least realistic and what it would most likely require to acquire the player.
Marvin Williams, Charlotte Hornets
It may seem crazy to scour the roster of the Charlotte Hornets for offensive punch from the bench, but the Hornets currently have a higher offensive rating than the Jazz (ouch) despite losing Kemba Walker in the offseason. That person doing the heavy lifting is none other than former Jazzman Marvin Williams. Marvin started his current journey as a four in Utah surprisingly enough (not the shooting threes part as much as he could have but I digress).
Marvin Williams is currently in the 84th percentile in Points per Shot Attempt. He’s in the 94th percentile when it comes to corner threes, 84th percentile on long midrange shots, and 99th percentile for shooting at the rim. Even better for Utah he is a ballhawk on defense and can guard multiple positions.
The Deal: Marvin is on an expiring deal. The Jazz could probably get him for a swap of Dante Exum and one of Tony Bradley, Nigel Williams-Goss, Georges Niang, Miye Oni, or Stanton Kidd. If Charlotte is asking more, they shouldn’t be. The Jazz are only getting a few months of Marvin Williams out of the deal. Yes, he could re-sign with Utah, but there’s no guarantee he would have the same feelings considering the pool of free agents this summer is small and many players could get overpaid their value.
Marcus Morris, New York Knicks
The Knicks are going to be in a lot of trade rumors considering they have every Power Forward under the sun. While many may be enamored with the big name power of Julius Randle or go back to Utah being linked to Bobby Portis, the guy Utah should be going after is Marcus Morris. I’ve said multiple times this season that Utah is missing their Rasheed Wallace. A guy that has irrational swagger and can back it up most of the time. Between Ricky Rubio and Jae Crowder, Utah had that we’re not going to be pushed around identity, but they didn’t have the top level talent to back it up. This year they have the top level talent but lack the the identity. Enter Marcus Morris.
He is in the 73rd percentile of points per shot attempt and in the 100th percentile of seeing Michael Jordan when he looks in a mirror. He’s averaging 18.6 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 0.9 steals in 32.7 minutes a game. If the Jazz could get him and have him come off the bench (or even start), it would be a coup.
Morris is shooting in the 97th percentile in corner threes, 98th percentile in non corner threes, and 100th percentile in all threes. He doesn’t shoot enough of those this season, but unfortunately he’s about the only guy in New York that can create his own shot. He’s a good defensive rebounder and a great offensive rebounder. Best part? The dude can get to the line. Also of note, he earned his first double double against the Utah Jazz when he scored 34 points and brought down 12 rebounds OFF THE BENCH.
The Deal: This one would require Dante Exum and two of Tony Bradley, Nigel Williams-Goss, Georges Niang, Miye Oni, or Stanton Kidd. This deal could get difficult as the Jazz would be negotiating with a front office in turmoil and an owner who is delusional. If the Jazz wanted to pull in Marcus Morris, we would have to expect the Knicks to ask for a future first. I believe a deal could get done if Utah let them have a future first that had the potential to be a first, but most likely converted to two second round picks after a number of years. A future first is TOO high for a guy on an expiring contract, but it’s the Knicks. They’re ridiculous.
Andre Igoudala, Memphis Grizzlies
Another year, another player the Grizzlies have that the Jazz covet. Getting Igoudala would prove to be hard. His toughness, grit, and basketball IQ would be valuable off the bench. I don’t have any current numbers to show of Iggy’s because... well... he hasn’t played for the Grizzlies all season as they ransom his contract and give him the Raja Bell treatment. What would it require though?
The Deal: This one would require Dante Exum and three of Tony Bradley, Nigel Williams-Goss, Georges Niang, Miye Oni, or Stanton Kidd AND probably a second round pick. The Grizzlies got greedy at the trade deadline last year and it paid off with Utah paying the premium in the offseason. While they don’t have the time to wait it out, they’re already playing with fire keeping Igoudala out until December. Though I believe Iggy will have more of a say of where he wants to go and I don’t think Utah is high on that list.
Danilo Gallinari, Oklahoma City Thunder
At the beginning of the season, the Thunder looked to be a prime shopping center. They weren’t projected to be great without Russell Westbrook and Paul George and they were a team of misfit parts. Cut to December and they only have 3 fewer wins than Utah and only two more losses. They are just behind Utah in the standings and don’t look to be giving up. They have had the league’s 9th most difficult schedule and they could talk themselves into fighting for playoff money. They are a small market team (RIP #PlayoffPush).
Still, if they have a rough December, maybe Danilo becomes available. He probably isn’t going to re-sign with Oklahoma City and the amount of contenders with cash to spend next summer is slim. This could be his chance to jump ship to a contender and still get paid by them.
This season Gallo is averaging a high usage rate and still getting buckets efficiently; he’s ranked 76th in points per shot attempt. He’s doing that while keeping turnovers low. He’s lighting it up from three (he’s in the 88th percentile and above there) and he’s one of the best in the league at drawing shooting fouls. BUT he’s expensive. If Utah wanted his services, it’s tough.
The Deal: This one is tough as it would require Dante Exum, Ed Davis, Jeff Green and two of Tony Bradley, Nigel Williams-Goss, Georges Niang, Miye Oni, or Stanton Kidd. Not too mention a first round pick.
However, things could get easier if they hop on a three team trade if Miami decides to pull the trigger on Chris Paul. Utah could tag along give up more value (as in Royce O’Neale or gasp Mike Conley) and bring in more role players, possibly Goran Dragic, AND possibly a better young prospect. It would also get Utah off the hook of Conley’s deal for one less year. It’s a very dramatic trade that isn’t very likely, but as I said before, this is from most likely to least likely. Also, Miami going after Chris Paul doesn’t seem as likely as Kris Nunn is killing it in Miami and only on the books for $1.2M/yr over three years.
Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers
Okay, folks. I’m going to try my best not to ridicule this option. First let’s talk about what you get with Kevin Love. You get one of the best big man scorers in the league. He can score from anywhere, and he’d be a great pick and pop partner with Mike Conley (but we’ll get to that in a second). He’d be great and the midrange pick and pop when teams are trying to stop the outside shot. He’s an amazing rebounder and in the 99th percentile in that category. He could space the floor and—surprisingly—when he’s played at center this season, the Cavaliers have only allowed 103.3 points per 100 possessions. That’s better than Utah’s current defensive rating. He could fill in at center.
Here’s what you don’t get, versatility. Kevin Love is a big man through and through. He can chase small guys on the perimeter in a pinch, but he’s not like a Royce O’Neale or—don’t cry don’t cry don’t cry—Derrick Favors. He’s also pricey. His contract is 28M over the next 4 years. He’s done at age 35. To put that in perspective, Rudy Gobert could me on a max deal and same with Donovan Mitchell. Going after Kevin Love is going to cause Utah to give up a major piece(s) to get because the Cavs expect a lot. So let’s do this. What would it take without waiting for Joe Ingles contract to be trade bait in the next offseason?
The Deal: Dante Exum and Ed Davis get you halfway there. That’s $14M combined with them. Jazz are still $9M short. Even if Utah throws literally every non-starting contract available to send that leaves them $1.3M short of the required amount to acquire Kevin Love. So those fantasies of getting K.Love and keeping Royce O’Neale, Mike Conley, Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, and Bojan Bogdanovic are a pipe dream. So what would Utah do?
For one, they could send literally the kitchen sink and part with Royce O’Neale. They would lose their best defender and—oh yeah—have literally no bench. Cavs wouldn’t like the deal because they don’t get to keep the full value of the trade as they would have to cut players. It makes zero sense unless you’re forcing a trade on the A.I. in NBA2K.
Parting with Mike Conley, the Jazz could pull up another role player like Larry Nance or Jordan Clarkson if they add Dante Exum into the deal (possibly even one of the young PGs like Garland). That helps with depth and Utah gets another piece to develop. Cleveland gets out from Love’s long-term contract, gets Conley who they can flip yet again before the deadline and Utah gets rebounding and shooting and playmaking from the four spot. Utah could then move Ingles to the starting unit and the Jazz could field a super-sized lineup of Donovan Mitchell, Joe Ingles, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Rudy Gobert with Jordan Clarkson, Royce O’Neale, Jeff Green, and Ed Davis from the bench. The Jazz may have to send an odd protected 1st round draft pick that most likely turns into two second rounders for it as well to finalize it.
What do you all think? What players do you think the Jazz will be going after during Trade Season?