Throughout the preseason, the SCH staff brought you JazzRank, a series of player profiles released in rank order of expected basketball impact.
But there are many ways to rank a roster, and today we look at all 15 Jazzmen in terms of their likelihood of being traded between now and June 30.
This is not a ranking of trade value; that list would look a lot different, as will be clear as soon as we crack this list at #15. Rather, it’s a guess on how likely the Jazz are to a) want to move a player, b) have takers for said player, and c) get the right type of assets back to get a deal done.
In reverse order, here are the least likely to be traded all the way up to the most likely.
A team in the Jazz’s position doesn’t have any truly untouchable players, but these two are about as close as you get on this team.
15. Derrick Favors. The Jazz just committed a hefty sum to make Favors a cornerstone of the team. I see the Jazz as incredibly unlikely to explore moving him in the next eight months. As a big man, Favors is even less likely than his co-leader, and the $48M commitment makes him harder to move even if they decided to explore options. Untouchable? No, but I imagine the list of players the Jazz would trade him for is pretty short; I’d say at this point they’re not moving him for anything short of a real franchise-changer, and I’m not sure how many of those would even be on the table. This guy’s not going anywhere.
14. Gordon Hayward. Let’s get this out of the way quickly: G-Time isn’t going anywhere. Even without an extension in place, the Jazz have the power to keep Hayward in the fold and won’t punt on their present and future leader unless he starts a Deron-esque pressure campaign to get out (which doesn’t seem to be in his character). Also, no extension means Hayward is off the table in any trade discussions leading up to the draft day next June. For more on why you shouldn’t worry about Hayward’s deadline passing, read this.
Scenarios: The only way these guys get moved is if they can land a young franchise-changer. Since teams don’t really shop those types of guys very often, there are very few realistic scenarios here, and even fewer for Hayward who is undealable after the February deadline.
Historically, minimum salary (or near-min) guys hardly ever get moved unless it’s as a throw-in to make numbers work. The only reason these four are listed as less likely than the group above them is because this group getting traded probably depends on someone else getting traded, too.
13. Jamaal Tinsley. When the Jazz called JT into service, he was working out solo waiting for a call from other teams. It would probably take a stellar year to create interest among teams who later in the year are looking for a similar veteran fill-in as they approach the playoffs. Even if that interest is there, there is a wrinkle that makes Tinsley the least likely of this group: since he’s on a one-year deal and he’ll be Bird Rights-eligible at the end of it, his sign-off is required in any trade.
12. Mike Harris. Harris surprised everybody by earning a roster spot and continued surprising when the regular season began. But I can’t imagine a huge market for a 30-year-old minimum salary ‘tweener forward with 35 games of experience and who probably doesn’t survive October cuts if not for frontcourt injuries.
11. John Lucas III. When he returns to the bench unit, Lucas’ warts as a playmaker may be less visible and he may get nominated as a sweetener in a larger deal. His 2014-15 salary, per various sources, is non-guaranteed, so he represents low risk and is more likely to be traded than JT only because he doesn’t have trade veto power.
10. Ian Clark. Tops this group mostly because there is apparently already some level of interest in the reigning Vegas League MVP. There were enough bidders for Clark that Utah had to offer a partial guarantee to get him into camp, so somewhere there’s a team or two that wouldn’t mind giving the Belmont product a shot.
Scenarios: These four are more likely to leave via waivers than via trade (and even then, only if Utah needs to free up a roster spot for some reason). If a trade were to happen, they’ll probably be the second or third name listed on the Jazz’s end.
It’s hard to imagine Utah trading either of these promising youngsters without seeing more of them to know what they have. They are hot enough names that the Jazz could get some calls (more realistic ones than with Hayward and Favors), but nothing is likely to materialize.
9. Trey Burke. The rookie’s trade value has to be lower than his basketball value right now since any projections about him as an NBA player are purely hypothetical. Rather than sell low, Utah is going to want to kick the tires for a while before determining just how indispensable Burke is as a part of their core..
8. Enes Kanter. Big Turkey has a lot more value than Burke, and at some point the Jazz will decide if he’s part of a championship core or if they need to sell high. But I don’t think they’ll make that determination after seeing just 2,000 NBA minutes from him, especially given his apparent growth and the way the fans have taken to him.
7. Rudy Gobert. The Stifle Tower (have we settled on that for a nickname?) will be a well-known commodity soon if he keeps the crazy defense up. But the Jazz have very little motivation to trade him given how well he fits into the current focal points (youth & defense) and how little they’d get in return given his salary range.
6. Jeremy Evans. The Jazz seem sincere about wanting to see if Boingy can be a real rotation player in the NBA, which is why he’s in this group instead of the last one. Also, I think they entertain a deal for Evans quicker than they entertain an offer for the trio of Burke, Kanter and Gobert. There are also probably fewer scenarios with Evans given that teams aren’t going to give up a ton of value for a guy who has really been defined as a specialist thus far in his career.
Scenarios: There are some crazy things I can dream up here, but few are very realistic. For example, maybe a team has a guy on the end of a similarly-priced rookie deal that they know they’re not going to extend and they are nervous about the market price. If Sacramento were shopping a soon-to-be-expensive Greivis Vasquez and wanted Gobert and a protected pick, wouldn’t the Jazz have to consider? Problem is, deals of that nature are hard to make because both sides are negotiating on potential, which is a difficult and subjective thing to commoditize.
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So far, not a lot happening. But don’t worry – in part two, we get to some actually feasible scenarios for the five Jazz players most likely to be swapped between now and June 30. Stay tuned!