Whether the next 24 hours end in a deal or not, this trade deadline is a consequential one for the Utah Jazz. Only 25 games remain in a season that could answer a lot of questions about where the club is headed and who exactly is a part of its future. Plus, it could be the franchise’s last real chance to use cap space as a tool to make major improvements around this core.
For all of those reasons, we’ll be keeping a close eye on reports and rumors between now and 1:00 p.m. Mountain Time on Thursday, the NBA’s deadline for in-season trades. Follow along with periodic updates and reactions. We’ll also answer reader questions, so submit anything you’re curious about, either in the comments or by tweeting @danclayt0n.
We’ll post the newest stuff first, so if you’re catching up, start at the bottom.
1:19 p.m. MT
OK, first let’s do the benefit-of-the-doubt reaction…
The Jazz are on pace for 50, finally healthy, and fighting toward homecourt in their first playoff experience in a half decade. They have a pretty complete roster, can play a lot of different ways, and very few of their assets are attached to a ticking clock1. So for all those reasons, it’s understandable why they wouldn’t impose upon themselves a fake deadline — like Sacramento did with Boogie — that pressured them into a less-than-ideal deal.
On the other hand…
The Jazz deliberately left their options open, knowing that this was their last chance to use cap space as a tool to put a roster around Hayward that would encourage him to stay. They even spent assets — two seconds — to clear a little extra room, with the idea that they’d either renegotiate and extend players or be aggressive about improving their team via trade.
R&E is still an option, although there are conflicting opinions out there about how open George Hill and Derrick Favors would be at this point, for very different reasons2. If they don’t do those deals, though, then it’s harder to explain not swinging while they still have room to operate. And especially if things go the wrong way this summer, they may find themselves wondering if any of today’s potential deals would have made a difference.
So let’s see what they do from here: extensions, renegotiations, waiver claims, buyout signings, and they can make certain deals ahead of the June draft using this year’s cap space…. but as of right now, it’s possible that they left a stone unturned.
Ken Clayton and I will have a lot more coming tonight in a SCH podcast. Stay tuned.
1:09 p.m. MT
There it is. Quick reaction forthcoming, then more tonight.
Trade deadline has passed the Utah Jazz have not made any deals
— David Locke (@Lockedonsports) February 23, 2017
1:05 p.m. MT
Still no confirmation that the Jazz made no deals, but McMenamin is reporting that the Cavs didn’t. That means no Mack to Cleveland.
The Celtics also stayed put. Which keeps them in play as a potential Hayward suitor this summer.
12:58 p.m. MT
A Dallas TV reporter says that Deron was waived to make room for their other moves. IF that’s true, and if you’re among those interested in DW, that’s something to watch.
I have my own opinions about the DW-to-Utah stuff, but they’re not exactly short form, so I’ll save them for a wrap-up podcast Ken Clayton and I will be doing later.
12:50 p.m. MT
Reports Woj. We’ll see if Boston ups the offer for Jimmy now, with minutes to go.
A lot of smaller deals hitting in a flurry. Ennis/Huertas, Denver absorbing Hibs.
Mike Scott was on my list from last night (scroll down) of bench fours who shoot and make threes. He just went to Phoenix for cash.
12:47 p.m. MT
OKC just dealt for Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott. Could mean they’re no longer after Chandler, which could open things up for Gallo/Chandler deals.
12 minutes left.
11:25 a.m. MT
If the Jazz really do stand pat, it had better be because they’ve gotten a good vibe from someone about being able to go the R&E route. If not, the Jazz will have left the bat on their shoulder on what could be their last at-bat as a cap space team.
Put another way: if they do nothing with this cap space and then George Hill leaves as a free agent this summer, then I think it’s safe to say that they will have mismanaged an opportunity. Of course, that’s easy to say without knowing what offers were/weren’t on the table, but again — the Jazz don’t have many more chances like this one.
11:21 a.m. MT
No deal appears likely for the Jazz at this point, according to a source.
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) February 23, 2017
Note the “at this point.” Still about 100 minutes for things to change.
I’d still be mildly surprised if the Jazz did literally nothing today, although this tweet might be a good indication of how likely it is that something major materializes out of thin air in the next hour and a half.
From what I understand, Boston has let teams with players it really likes know that its Brooklyn picks are in play https://t.co/HZJisIBUYj
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) February 23, 2017
This is actually pretty big news. If the Brooklyn picks are in play, the likelihood of a deal involving longtime Boston targets like Jimmy Butler and Paul George just went way up. That could shift the whole market with now less than three hours remaining.
It’s also great news for Utah fans, who should be rooting for Boston to land one of those two. That would all but eliminate the biggest threat to poach Hayward this summer. Still have to keep an eye on Phoenix, Miami and others, but crossing Boston off the list would make the Jazz feel a lot better about their chances of retaining the All-Star.
Thursday, 9:53 a.m. MT
This has to be considered at the very low end of what people thought Philly could get for Noel, especially since there’s basically no way the pick will be conveyed this year. Dallas finally gets their center. We’ll have to see how the protections work in future years to fully judge this one, but it feels like a win for the Mavs.
Thursday, 9:04 a.m. MT
Welcome to deadline day! Rumors are flying this Thursday morning, but so far nothing that directly impacts the Jazz. The Wolves are contemplating adding a piece to a Rubio-Rose swap, Chicago’s entire roster is up for grabs, Pistons are listening on Reggie Jackson, and Paul George is unlikely to commit long term to anyone outside of LA and Indy.
But here’s an insight from this morning that does matter: first round picks are being used/rumored in trades for role player types, even ones on expiring deals. That’s a new development. Teams haven’t historically been willing to surrender a first-rounder for, say, eight weeks of PJ Tucker, but many of the trades so far and the rumors today involve a fringe starter type being moved for a late first. Something to keep in mind as you contemplate what Utah’s two 2017 first-rounders will enable them to do.
Wednesday, 11:09 p.m. MT
Nothing’s going to happen after 1:00 a.m. Eastern, right? I’ll be back tomorrow to react to news & noise as it comes out.
I leave you with this final thought as we enter the home stretch:
It almost goes without saying, except that it always needs saying: we’re entering the “officially can’t believe anything” phase of this.
— dan clayton (@danclayt0n) February 23, 2017
10:56 p.m. MT
OK, so the next logical question is: who are the stretchy bigs who would complement the Fav-Rudy pairing?
Here’s a list of every big man who has hit 15+ mpg, and 1+ 3FGA/gm and 32%+ in either of the last two seasons. I grouped them into a few categories, and within those categories they’re listed by descending 3pt%.
Star guys, not happening:
Dray, Dirk, Porzingis, Embiid, Myles Turner, Boogie, Al Horford, KAT, Millsap, AD
The actual fit list – Roughly in Favors’ tier, definitely starter quality, but also have some stretch/playmaking skills. These would be the only guys I’d really consider replacing Favors with in the starting lineup, and even some of them are downgrades in a macro sense:
Thaddeus Young, Serge Ibaka (just traded), Kevin Love (borderline belongs above, and he’s injured anyway), Danilo Gallinari (is he a full-time four?), Nikola Jokic (but no way Denver trades him now), Patrick Patterson
A tier below, but stretchy – You could start most of these guys, but it would be an obvious step down. These guys fit best as 3rd big, change-up options:
Darrell Arthur, Pau Gasol3, Lance Thomas, Josh McRoberts, Omri Casspi, Channing Frye, Ryan Anderson, Marvin Williams, Meyers Leonard, Ersan Ilyasolva, Markieff Morris, Terrence Jones
Journeymen and role players – you wouldn’t really ever want to start these guys, but some of them would make a nice complement as a 3rd big who can shoot:
Mike Muscala, Kelly Olynyk, Luke Babbitt, Luis Scola, Jonas Jerebko, Mirza Teletovic, Marresse Speights, Mike Scott, Nikola Mirotic, Anthony Tolliver, Dante Cunningham, Nemanja Bjelica, Jon Leuer, Spencer Hawes, JaMychal Green, James Johnson, Kris Humprhies, Jeff Green
Project guys – might be good enough someday to play a Favors-type role, but too big a risk to bank on that now:
Okaro White, Chris McCullough, Jabari Parker (only put him down here because I’m not sure what to do with him, since he’s really a big 3 who plays some PF4), Frank Kamisnky, Dario Saric, Sam Dekker, Domantas Sabonis
8:28 p.m. MT
You know who has been crushing it on great sourced Jazz coverage this year? ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. Earlier this season, Tim’s role at the mothership changed to include coverage of several Western Conference teams, and he’s been handing in one nice Jazz-related scoop after another.
Here’s what he had to say tonight about the latest on the Favors front.
Agent Wallace Prather does not anticipate his client Derrick Favors being traded before the deadline, based on Prathers’ knowledge of the offers the Jazz have received. However, Prathers said he realizes that could change as the deadline approaches. Favors, 25, has had his production slip this season as he has dealt with a knee injury but remains a key piece for a Utah team preparing for a playoff berth.
That’s why, if it were up to me, the focus wouldn’t be on trading Fav. It would be on finding an actual shooting big option so that the Jazz had a legit option to run a tight, quality three-man rotation. Of course, there’s a finite list of guys who fit that description. If one of them could be had for, say, Burks and a second, or the expiring Diaw… that’s a homerun deal, especially if the Jazz can get Favors right physically.
It’s pretty telling that, despite all the struggles and questioning fans, at least a portion of the Favors family still really wants to stay in Utah.
7:18 p.m. MT
Our Andy Larsen reports that all Jazz players participated at practice. Nobody was held out, which would be a sure sign that a trade was imminent.
Among the participants at the club’s first post-break practice was Favors, who told reporters that he was “just participating” when he tweeted his thinky emoji last night. “Just a tweet.”
7:05 p.m. MT
ESPN Sources: Utah, Cleveland engaged on trade over weekend that included Shelvin Mack, Jordan McRae, etc. Talks have since stalled out.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) February 22, 2017
“Stalled” doesn’t mean “ended,” especially with still the better part of a day left before the buzzer.
As far as McRae is concerned, Cavs are probably insisting on his inclusion as a means of saving on their tax bill. If they waive him before the deal, then his $874,636 counts on their team salary, which would add to a hefty tax bill. If they trade him to the Jazz and let them waive him, the Cavs save a bunch of money, and it doesn’t hurt the under-the-salary-floor Jazz that much. That’s a bigger ask, though, and could be where things got sticky. There’s plenty of time to sort it out, though. Meanwhile, the Cavs are looking at other options, including trading for Deron Williams or signing Mario Chalmers.
6:43 p.m. MT
Neither of these affects the Jazz much, accept that it starts to give an idea of what teams are paying for off-the-bench, tweeny, big-three-meets-stretch-four types. The Wiz spent a first to acquire Bogie (and McCullough, who’s somewhat promising, but has spent most of the year in the D-League), but part of that was dumping the bad money attached to Nicholson, who has been B-A-D. And it took two seconds for Atlanta to get Ersan, an actual shooting big, but again — some of that was surely compensating Philly for swallowing Tiago’s remaining deal.
3:43 p.m. MT
Both Favors and his fiancee have been sending vague emoji tweets. Which could mean something about his status ahead of the deadline, could be them messing with us, or could mean that the guy they paid to grout their tub surround did a poor job. In other words, we don’t know.
Of course, nothing will dissuade you from trying to figure it out… just remember as you do so that these are real people and not TV show characters that only exist for our amusement. These are emotional, life-changing days for players and their families.
3:35 p.m. MT
This might not be reflective of anything other than my hunches, but here’s how I’d currently rank the Jazz in terms of likelihood of being involved in a trade.
(1-4: Could happen. 5-7: Filler. 8-12: Wouldn’t totally shock me. 13-15: Don’t count on it.)
2:29 p.m. MT
OKC/LAC going for Chandler. If Jazz want Chandler or Gallo (don’t know that!), Nuggets will probably take best offer for either (not both) https://t.co/L8K75OmL6h
— Andy Larsen (@andyblarsen) February 22, 2017
The good news for Utah here, if they’re serious about either of the Nuggets’ big wings, is that neither OKC nor LAC really have expendable expiring contracts. Denver is reportedly seeking expirings and a first-rounder. JJ Redick is the Clips’ only non-minimum expiring8, and he’s too valuable to include in that deal. OKC’s only expiring guys are Nick Collison and Anthony Morrow. Those two combined don’t make enough to return Gallo9, but those two for Chandler does work. So that’s really the package the Jazz would have to beat: Morrow + Collison + probably a pick.
2:02 p.m. MT
Commenter Aise wonders if Darren Collison makes sense for the Jazz and if he could be had for a pair of seconds. The answer to the latter question is: who knows? Sacramento is reportedly willing to sell its veterans for assets, so maybe two seconds could do it.
Now, does he fit? Collison has always averaged between 26 and 35 mpg. So his arrival in Utah would basically mean you’re shutting down Dante Exum, and probably eating into the wing minutes of Hood, Burks and Ingles, and Johnson unless we just assume he’s a 4 going forward. Unless the idea is to simultaneously deal some of those perimeter players for a big man upgrade, I’m not sure if this deal actually solves a need.
And tweeter Larry asked about reacquiring Trevor Booker for his toughness and heart. Toughness is nice, but if the Jazz seek some power forward depth — and I think they will — it will be for someone who can hit an outside shot. Booker’s three-point shooting is down under 27% in Brooklyn this year. Bigs who can’t play outside or protect the paint aren’t a huge commodity.
Wednesday 1:44 p.m. MT
Deals have already taken place this week that directly or indirectly impacted the Jazz.
Lou Williams landing in Houston — in exchange for Corey Brewer and the Rockets’ 2017 pick — impacted the Jazz directly because they were repotedly in the race for Lou. But there’s also an impact to the Western Conference race. Williams is an undoubted upgrade over Brewer, who was barely playing. That gives Houston a definite leg up at defending their hold on a top-three playoff seed.
And of course the biggest trade of the week was the DeMarcus Cousins deal. On the one hand, Sacramento took a huge step back, which could help Utah since the Jazz still have two road games left against the Kings. Before this trade, those would have been tough games to win; now, Utah will likely be heavily favored in both. On the other hand, the Pelicans just got tougher, and Utah still has two home dates left against them (March 6 & 27).
Broader impact: now that another Western team made a decision to go big, it’s worth wondering if that changes the way Utah thinks about its roster. It remains to be seen how good Boogie and Anthony Davis will be together, but the Jazz have to like the fact that they’re one of a very few teams in a position personnel-wise to hold court against what is undoubtedly the best true big man pairing in the league on pure talent.
Wednesday 1:00 p.m. MT
Let’s start with some quick takes on guys in whom the Jazz are rumored to have interest: