The trade deadline is one of the most unique things in sports, and seemingly more so in the NBA. It is simply a remarkable combination of drama, excitement and intrigue. There are disgruntled players who feel the proverbial grass is greener elsewhere. You have young players for whom a trade can open things up for their careers. And you have veterans in losing situations hoping to get moved to contenders. There are general managers and owners looking to fine tune their team’s mix, or in some cases, to blow things up. And there are, of course, agents smack in the middle of things–for better or for worse. Lastly, you have media members constantly reporting different things from hour to hour. It’s a glorious time of the year.
Well, for the most part.
Thursday, February 19th is finally upon us. After weeks of speculation, everything comes to a head. On the heels of an exciting All-Star Weekend, everyone’s attention has been focused on what potential moves are out there1.
The Utah Jazz are not an exception. Given the Enes Kanter news of the past week, people all around the association are keeping an eye on what the Jazz do or don’t do. It surely has the team’s followers more attentive than usual, which is saying a lot.
The past few years, the Jazz were among the most mentioned teams in the bevy of trade rumors. In both 2013 and 2014, Utah possessed a number of expiring contracts, most of which were attached to veterans that could potentially help other teams. And in both cases, the deadlines came and went without a single move, which was disappointing to some fans and understandable to others.
Perhaps this year might be different?
The Jazz are typically not regulars when it comes to brokering deadline deals, with only four such moves in the last 10 years. When they have, they have been moves that affected the franchise both on and off the court.
As we enter the final stretch, here is a review the deadline deals from the recent past:
February 19, 2004: Utah Jazz trade forwards Keon Clark and Ben Handlogten to the Phoenix Suns for forward Tom Gugliotta, two first-round picks, a 2005 second-round pick and cash.
This trade came in that illustrious post-Stockton and Malone season where Jerry Sloan coaxed out a marvelous season from a team some predicted to be the worst team in NBA history2. It was a roster full of overachievers, including the hard-working Handlogten (Clark was a disappointment and his life has become tragic). The Jazz also possessed a lot of financial flexibility and they used it in a deal to acquire some long-term assets. Gugliotta was at the end of a nice career and was making $11.7 million–money the Suns wanted to shed. The Jazz absorbed his deal and picked up some picks along the way. His modest contributions on the court were icing on the cake.
The Jazz used one of the picks for Kirk Snyder–an unmitigated disaster. But five years later, the other pick–acquired by Phoenix through the ineptitude of the New York Knicks–eventually became Gordon Hayward. Given his All-Star level play this season, it is safe to say that this trade turned out to be a big boon for the franchise.
February 19, 2004: Utah Jazz trade guard DeShawn Stevenson and a second-round pick to the Orlando Magic for guard Gordan Giricek
Stevenson had an up-and-down tenure with the Jazz. Drafted straight out of high school, he encountered some off-court troubles that marred his early career. The athletic guard played a reserve role his first three seasons and was eventually given the chance to start. Stevenson was solid, but was definitely not spectacular: 11.4 PPG, 3.7 RPG and 2.0 APG as a starter (He did have this redeeming interaction with Ricky Davis). His perimeter shooting was poor, which caused spacing issues (coincidentally, as his career waned, his outside shooting was his main staple). Thus the move for Giricek, which was consummated on the same day as the Gugliotta transaction.
Giricek is best known for his rough relationship with Sloan. He seemed to have frequent stays in Jerry’s doghouse. But for four seasons, he was a decent perimeter threat, but offered much beyond that. His first season, he was quite good (13.5 PPG and 36% 3s)–enough for Larry H. Miller to re-sign him to a four-year, $16 million deal. He never reached those marks again, but had moments. Eventually he was traded in a December deal for sharpshooter and fan favorite Kyle Korver3.
February 18, 2010: Utah Jazz trade guard Ronnie Brewer to the Memphis Grizzlies for a 2011 first-round draft pick.
This was a move that disappointed a lot of Jazz fans, as well as a franchise point guard in Deron Williams. Brewer had become a fan favorite thanks to his tireless energy, his defensive effort and his athletic dunks. Few players in Jazz history have functioned better without the ball. While his shooting was a weakness, Brewer shot a high percentage and looked to be a mainstay in the back court. Well, the Jazz were in the midst of some financial bedlam, thanks to several large contracts ($59 million combined for Andrei Kirilenko, Carlos Boozer, Mehmet Okur, Deron Williams and Paul Millsap). With C.J. Miles showing some modest improvement and undrafted free agent Wesley Matthews crashing the party, Brewer was shipped out for a draft pick which was used that off-season to bring in Al Jefferson.
Brewer was reportedly on the team plane to fly out for a road trip when word came out. He bid his farewells to his coaches and teammates and went to Memphis. He unfortunately was hurt his first game with the Grizzlies and never played for them after that. His career since then has been disappointing.
February 23, 2011: Utah Jazz trade guard Deron Williams to the New Jersey Nets for big man Derrick Favors, guard Devin Harris and two first-round draft picks.
Much has been said about it and it will always be a major date in franchise history. A few weeks earlier was the infamous Jazz/Bulls game that ended up being Sloan’s final at the helm. The discord between Sloan and Williams was evident and whatever transpired that fateful evening proved to be the final straw for the venerable coach. Tyrone Corbin was installed and Utah tried to get back into a groove, but things were still not right.
Then came the shocking news that D-Will had been shipped across the country to the Nets, in exchange for a package of promising players and valuable draft picks. The Nets had been in talks with the Denver Nuggets for the then-pouting star Carmelo Anthony. After their offer was usurped by the New York Knicks, the Jazz and Nets moved quickly to make this happen. Williams had been the heart and soul for Utah. His talent was remarkable, while his attitude was sometimes sour.
Who won the trade? That is a post for another day, but things are tilting more and more in favor the Jazz–pun intended. Williams has battled constant injuries throughout his time in a Nets uniform and this season has been particularly rough. The Nets are said to be shopping Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez to free things up financially. He most likely will stay, but Brooklyn’s future is murky. I don’t think this is what D-Will was envisioning.
Utah went on to pick up two #3 picks in Favors and Enes Kanter (Jazz moved up in the draft lottery that May). Favors has been absolutely terrific this season. He has added a very good midrange jumper and his passing has never been better. Combine that with his ability to finish, a formidable defensive presence and his contract, Favors is a gigantic piece of Utah’s puzzle. Harris was serviceable before being traded for Marvin Williams, who also was a nice veteran for the Jazz in his two seasons.
Much has been said about Kanter, especially given the current situation. He has shown improvement each season and has more than flashes of being an elite offensive player. He possesses a litany of moves and has been crashing the boards, especially on the offensive end. Kanter’s defensive struggles, unfortunately, have also been well chronicled. To his credit, he has shown solid improvement the past few weeks.
The final draft pick in the Nets trade was part of the package that enabled Dennis Lindsey to move up for Trey Burke. When it is all said and done, the Jazz sent Deron Williams for Favors, Kanter, Harris/Williams and part of Burke. Not a bad haul. Now, should Kanter get moved tomorrow, that will need to be taken into consideration.
While we’ve covered the past 11 years of trade deadlines, it should be noted that Jeff Hornacek was acquired. With the grade still “incomplete” on the Williams trade, the addition of #14 was the most influential trade in franchise history
With the add a deadline trade to this history tomorrow? This is the second deadline with Dennis Lindsey fully in charge, so who knows what will transpire.
Enjoy the next several hours…