Is the Utah Jazz Roster Finished?

August 21st, 2013 | by David J Smith

When the Utah Jazz completed their last two signings, inking guards John Lucas III and Ian Clark, some thought that this finalized the roster. For all intents and purposes, this could be the case. My guess is that the Jazz have at least one more move up their sleeves, even if it is a minor one.

While they have the minimum 13 on roster, it would not be surprising to see them add one more player. Traditionally the team has tried to keep one roster vacancy for flexibility’s sake, but as we’ve discovered, Dennis Lindsey is helping enact a lot of changes in philosophies.

First, let’s take a look at the current roster:

PF: Derrick Favors, Jeremy Evans

SF: Gordon Hayward, Richard Jefferson, Marvin Williams

C: Enes Kanter, Rudy Gobert, Andris Biedrins

PG: Trey Burke, John Lucas III, Ian Clark

SG: Alec Burks, Brandon Rush

What kind of needs does the team have? Here are some, as I see it:

  • Back-up power forward: Favors will get the lion’s share of the minutes, but given his propensity to foul, having solid back-ups behind is important. Kanter could move over, perhaps playing the four alongside Gobert or Biedrins. Jeremy Evans could get his first shot as rotational minutes. They could also go small with Jefferson or Williams playing spot power forward minutes. All this said, it might be very beneficial to have another big body around.
  • Back-up small forward: With Williams out to start the season and uncertainty as to how much Jefferson has left in the tank, the Jazz could look at adding a small forward. Hayward will be the man here, but if Williams’ return is delayed and Jefferson is not a fit, it might behoove Utah to add someone.
  • Back-up point guard:  Burke and Lucas are the two true point guards on the roster and Burks can also get burn at the one. Clark may be up to challenge, too. They might be set here, but then again, Utah has almost always had three true PGs on their roster. Could they add another?

How could they go about addressing one of these possible needs?

Trade: According to, the Jazz have $55.87 million in committed salaries (not including Jerel McNeal, who is not guaranteed until October 31). With the salary cap at $58.68 million, Utah has room to sign a nearly $3 million dollar pe ryear player. As they did with the Golden State trade, the Jazz could absorb a player from a team that wants to shed some salary, perhaps picking up another asset along the way. Teams like Miami, Chicago, or the Lakers may want to broker such a deal, thus helping defray a portion of their luxury tax bill. Doing so would give the Jazz short-term help, while adding another pick to Lindsey’s ever-growing stash. You also never know what guys might become available.

Retain McNeal: By all accounts, Utah likes the young guard a lot. He has been working out in Salt Lake City much of the off-season and was with the Jazz contingency at P3 last week. He could be the one who claims a final roster spot, giving Utah another ball-handler.

Free Agency: According to Real GM, the Jazz will be one of a few teams working out James Johnson. At 6’9″, 248 lbs, the 26-year old former draft pick could be a decent find as a back-up big. He has had his moments and has four years of experience. He may even have some upside to his game.

There are some other interesting names still out there: Ivan Johnson, Mickael Pietrus, Sam Young, Marquis Daniels, former Jazzman Lou Amundson, Damien Wilkins, Sebastian Telfair, A.J. Price, and Jamaal Tinsley, for instance. None of these guys will wow you, but for an end-of-the-bench guy, you don’t tend to expect a lot of wow.

Training Camp Battle: The Jazz will be very selective on who they invite to training camp. They may bring some guys in that they liked at the free agent camp or from summer league (two of the better players, Rasid Mahalbasic and Chris Roberts, have already earned contracts overseas) and let them duke it out for a roster spot.

It will be fun to see what the front office does to round out the roster. Some may feel it moot to be discussing a potential 14th man, but as we’ve seen in the past, that 14th man could turn out to be a Wesley Matthews, Bryon Russell, or David Benoit.

David J Smith

David J Smith

Besides writing for Salt City Hoops, David contributes to the Utah Jazz coverage for the Deseret News and has written for the Utah Jazz website and (now Basketball Insiders). He graduated from BYU and works for LDS Philanthropies. He and his incredibly patient wife, Elizabeth, have some amazing children--four girls and two boys. Voted "Most Likely to Replace Jerry Sloan" in high school.
David J Smith


  1. Sexual Favors says:

    I think we are good at most positions:

    Possible PF’s: Kanter, Favors, Marvin, Evans.
    Possible C’s: Favors, Kanter, Gobert, Beidrins
    Possible SF’s: Hayward, Jefferson, Marvin, Rush
    Possible SG’s: Burks, Rush, Hayward, Clark
    Possible PG’s: Burke, Lucas, Clark, Burks.

    As I see it, we need two positions: a stretch-4 and another PG.

    Stretch-4: Marvin, when healthy, and w/o the clogged up team that was last year, might prove to be such.

    PG: Because Burke is a rookie, who might struggle most of the year (yes, SL was just SL, but he did do the worst out of any top PG drafted in the last 10 years, which does cause some skepticism). Lucas, albeit a great person, has been a drifter in and out of the league for a reason. Clark is more of a SG in a PG body, same goes for McNeal if we were to grab him. Burks is an SG who was forced to play the 1 because Corbin has completely mismanaged his development. The perfect solution would have been Neto, but since he isn’t coming over this year, the Jazz should invite Michael Stockton to training camp. Stockton looked great in his limited minutes in SL. He is just as tough as his dad, and unlike other prospects, would have access to the infinite wisdom of one of the all time greats at the position –John Stockton. Having Michael Stockton be a part of the team might also inspire Stockton to take an interest in mentoring all of those who play the position, which would only help to develop Burke quicker.

  2. David J Smith says:

    Great comments. Michael Stockton wouldn’t be a bad addition for the reasons you mentioned. His athleticism might be a factor. The more I look into James Johnson, the more I find him appealing for the Jazz.

  3. Justin says:

    Developing Burks to play the 1 and 2 is not mismanaging his development but enhancing his development while providing further value to the team. Giving more minutes to developmental players to sit tens of millions on the bench in contract years after adding talent around them to build on the previous season’s play off berth is just plain stupid.

    Corbin did what he had to do and the result is winning records both his full seasons, a playoff appearance, and Burke, Burks, Hayward, Favors, and Kanter ready to roll. Like our team Corbin is young and developing and imperfect but he has the talent and support around him to take us far. Just like the kids, we are going to see he takes us so stop whining and enjoy the ride. Corbin cannot change his skin-tone but SLC can try some class.

    • travis says:

      your a raciest ediot, that is a prejidice comment, corbin isn’t disliked because of his skin tone, he is disliked because he is a horrible coach, shame on you for your raciest comment

  4. Laura says:

    Great article, David! And you got a shout out by Locke on this morning’s Tip Off–not bad!

  5. Simaahdi says:

    Nice article. Very interested in seeing what Lindsey will do next. Hope he brings some of that “magic” the Spurs seem to have when drafting and signing players.

  6. Pingback: Who’s on the Utah Jazz’s Radar for Training Camp? | Salt City Hoops

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