Last updated 2/19/14 2:24 p.m. EDT.
February 20 will be an interesting day, either because of breaking Jazz news or because of the lack of it.
Either way, we’ll have a better sense in less than a week what the Jazz’s direction and plan looks like. Are they really going all in on the 2014 draft? Is the team winning too much for Dennis Lindsey’s liking? Are they planning to stockpile more assets? Are they preserving cap space? How untouchable is Gordon Hayward? How untouchable are any of the Jazz’s core.
I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I do know that every time I read a trade rumor, my mental reflex is to figure out a way the Jazz could improve their 2014-15 roster by getting involved.
Let’s take a look at the latest we’re hearing from the Association’s 29 other teams, and where the Jazz might or might not fit into those conversations. For some teams we’ll only have a quick sentence or two, but there are some places the Jazz could get involved.
Check back over the next week - I’ll be updating this with relevant tidbits as the deadline draws nearer. Also, be sure to check out the Western Conference action, too.
Atlanta - Zach Lowe opines that the Hawks could be a deadline wildcard, logic being that they may want to improve their team. That is buyer language right there. Most of Atlanta’s assets are actual players. They don’t have extra first round picks, although they have a right to swap picks with Brooklyn in both of the next two drafts, making those picks (at least their 2014) significantly more valuable. However, not sure I see a lot on the Jazz’s roster that ATL would want, unless they’re willing to part ways with some of the young talent.
Boston - Like the Jazz, Boston’s in asset collection mode; they’re sellers, not buyers. Throw in this speculation from CBSSports that the Cs have a pretty hefty price tag attached to some of their players, and there’s probably nothing here for the Jazz. Of course, we can’t dismiss Boston without addressing the Gordon Hayward rumor. This rumor is hardly surprising, but also not very feasible. The Celtics only have one thing I could imagine the Jazz wanting in exchange for arguably their best player: that’s their 2014 pick. And I have a hard time seeing Boston attach that unless there are several other components to the deal: like, Utah also sends Kanter/Burke/Burks and takes back Humprhies/Wallace.
Brooklyn – My new hometown team decided to give up on the Jarrett Jack sweepstakes and grab Marcus Thornton, but it sounds like they’re still doing some shopping. The Jordan Hill rumor alone suggests they would like to address some frontcourt depth. However… their cap sheet it an unprecedented, unmitigated mess, they owe a ton of picks and unfavorable “right-to-swaps,” and their players are all in huge regression years (which is why I’m surprised they were able to get Thornton for two off-year and aging vets). Keep an eye on them for sure, but remember that they don’t have a ton to work with.
Charlotte - The Bobnets are interesting. They’re rumored to be buyers and they have tons of extra assets. They’ve been linked to Evan Turner and Brandon Bass, and they appear willing to deal their extra picks if it gets the job done. Detroit’s pick (only top 8 protected) could wind up being very valuable, but unless Utah wanted to give them a long-term piece, the Portland pick is probably the best we could hope for.
Chicago - This is another team in a great asset position, but nobody knows what their goals are. They’d probably most like to get out from under salary (we see you, Carlos Boozer1), but GM John Paxon made it sound to the Sun Times like they’re after a “great player” or they’ll continue to hold their cards. Those cards include a pick in the teens from Charlotte and what could eventually be a late lotto pick from Sacramento, but the Jazz probably can only pry those away if they eat some salary.
Cleveland - The Cavs are probably in a state of flux right now, with a brand new interim GM pulling the strings, although he’s one who, as one GM told Yahoo! Sports, could be looking to impress at the deadline. Sam Amico says the team has told Dion Waiter and Kyrie Irving to stop looking over their shoulders, but you have to think anybody else on that roster is fair game. Problem is, nobody else makes enough to be a headliner of a deal except for the expiring Luol Deng and virtual expirings Anderson Varejao and Earl Clark, none of which make sense for the non-contending Jazz.
Detroit – So Jared Zwerling is now saying Greg Monroe is not moving, which effectively ends the debate about whether or not he’d fit the Jazz. My take on him has been that it’s a risky proposition paying someone eight figures as a 5 who doesn’t anchor your defense and has middling offensive efficiency. (Both of those things were true of Al, by the way.) Even without Monroe on the table, they sound like at least lukewarm buyers. They are reportedly trying to make the playoffs, but I doubt they’d give anything really valuable away for an expiring vet to help them squeeze into the eighth seed and get tossed around by Indy. Maybe a second rounder, but my guess is they’ll wait until the summer unless someone makes an overwhelming offer.
Indiana - Not much talk here, unless they can net an asset for Danny Granger’s last two months under contract. Can’t see the Jazz biting there.
Miami - The only way I see them becoming deadline buyers is if they decide they need some injury insurance going into the postseason. Even if they did, they don’t have a lot to offer; no incoming picks and their own picks will be some of the least valuable in the draft.
Milwaukee - You know they’re not giving up their 2014 without some heavy protections, which is why I was surprised to hear they are apparently at least toying with the idea of becoming buyers, at least where Eric Gordon is concerned. That tells you there’s at least some possibility that the Bucks decide to acquire a player in the next week.
New York - The Knicks are chatty, which is surprising given the lack of assets (the earliest first rounder they could trade is 20182 and the only 2nd they own in that span is Sacramento’s this year) and the awful cap situation. But they’re trying to find ways to get anyone from Kyle Lowry to Kenneth Faried to Glen Rice Jr. Hard to say if any of it will work, but at least we know there are some deadline buyers in Manhattan if the Jazz want to make a sales pitch.
Orlando - Steve Kyler’s tweets lately give the impression that Orlando’s taking a rather passive approach, answering calls but not shopping their guys. At any rate, to the extend they’re involved in the market, it’s as sellers, not buyers. The Jazz, at least from where I sit, are looking to engage buyers.
Philadelphia - Sellers. Total sellers. In fact, their goal is essentially the same as the Jazz’s goal: to improve draft chances. So probably no deals here for the Jazz and the fire-sale Sixers who are even shopping Evan Turner, Thaddeus Young and Spencer Hawes.
Toronto - It’s looking increasingly like the Raptors will stand pat. Lowry, according to several columns and tweets, is off the market3. A while ago, they were rumored to be shopping Greivis Vasquez, a guy who has always intrigued me, but I can’t see the Jazz jumping in there, especially if it looks like Toronto might not make the qualifying offer or match fair market value.
Washington - They’re buyers, but the Wizards’ biggest deadline need is one thing the Jazz don’t really have to offer: a solid backup point guard. I can’t see them making a huge play for the Jazz’s backups, both of whom are putting up sub replacement-level numbers. The Wiz are interested in another big man, though. Maybe this is a place where Marvin WIlliams could land, although the best Washington could offer would be a 2nd rounder or maybe a young, cheap player.
Again, stay tuned for more as rumors develop. We’ll keep updating with any Jazz angles on rumors that pop up over All-Star Weekend and beyond.