Oh, how quickly things change in the National Basketball Association.
Just yesterday, the dominoes were starting to fall in ways that seemed to completely alter the potential course for the Utah Jazz in the upcoming days of the offseason. Now, the landscape has shifted again. With the Warrior (in more ways than one) Klay Thompson reportedly having a torn ACL, Golden State has entered a state of relative free-fall.
Sure, everyone expected a bit of a drop-off next season in the Bay Area with the expected departure of Kevin Durant and probably DeMarcus Cousins. But not this. The once mighty Warriors “death lineup” will now have lost most of its sting. Durant and Thompson will be gone or out with injuries and the once reliable Andre Iguodala is feeling his age.
Not only are the Warriors paying an awful price to the basketball gods after four years of good fortune and nearly complete league dominance, but the Houston Rockets are also seemingly falling apart at the seams.
In case you forgot, the Rockets are in a highly unenviable cap situation, owing roughly 85 percent of its projected 2019-20 cap space to just four players — James Harden, Chris Paul, Eric Gordon and Clint Capela. This has reportedly made Houston GM Daryl Morey open to trading Paul, Capela, Gordon, and/or anyone or any asset that isn’t James Harden.
Opportunity isn’t just knocking. It’s dang near banging down Dennis Lindsey’s door. But this all comes on one condition:
Lindsey and the Jazz must act on this opening.
The Western Conference is going to be wide open and there for the taking in 2019-20. Where once we thought the Warriors and Rockets’ playoff dominance could continue for years, there now exists a power vacuum. Opportunities like this don’t come every day. Toronto took advantage of LeBron James’ exodus to the Lakers. The Rockets in the 1990s jumped when Michael Jordan went into temporary retirement. Both franchises got their first rings. Can Utah be the next to seize its first?
Taking advantage of this sudden opening means risks. Big risks. The ones fans often hate whenever they get proposed. Lindsey might have to mortgage several years of Utah’s future to. Draft picks, current prospects, fan favorites, reliable players; these all might be on the table for trades and be necessary casualties for a star to help the Jazz seize the day.
What makes this window even more tantalizing is that it’s lining up almost perfectly with Utah timing for making the jump from middling playoff contender to league powerhouse. This offseason was already the time the Jazz were poised to add a third star and join the ranks of the league’s elite. So the only aspect of this offseason that changes is that the Jazz shouldn’t just be aggressive, they might have to be overaggressive in pursuit of that elusive star core.
Someone is going to fill the power vacuum at the top of the West. Might as well be the Jazz. And now is the time to act.