Q&A: Hood Value, Roster Questions, Blake Fallout, Mirotic Update & More

January 30th, 2018 | by Dan Clayton

Barry Gossage via utahjazz.com

As the NBA’s February 8 trade deadline approaches, we’ve been starting each week by answering your questions about the Jazz’s options, assets and objectives as it relates to shaping the roster.

After spending Monday gathering questions from SCH readers and Jazz tweeters, here’s this latest installment of the (for now) weekly Q&A.

Roster macro

Disregarding availability, what would the perfect pairing be for Rudy Gobert in the front court? @jtaylorbentley

Everybody likes to focus on the offensive end, where you’d clearly like to have a floor-spacing four who can make good decisions with the ball. That’s why Nikola Mirotic’s name keeps coming up (more on him down below). Kelly Olynyk and Danilo Gallinari are other shooting bigs who presumably aren’t off-limits. I think the Jazz would take the Jabari Parker gamble if he became available, too.

The defensive end is an important part of the calculus, too. Ideally, you’d pair Rudy with someone you would trust to switch the pick-and-roll in certain situations, because if you can switch 1 through 4 around Gobert as an anchor, you have a lot of defensive options. He doesn’t have to be a lockdown defender in a 1-on-1 sense, but someone who is smart about the team defense and doesn’t get lost out in space. Obviously there just aren’t too many guys that give you both of those ingredients and are available.

One dude who I’m surprised hasn’t come up more this deadline season is Patrick Patterson. Before the Thunder acquired him and slashed his minutes almost in half, he had played starter minutes for several years. He can keep defenses honest with an outside shot, defend out in space, and do a bunch of the little things that make teams better. His counting stats won’t blow you away, but he consistently made Toronto better when he was on the court for the Raptors. He would be someone I would make a call about, even though he’s a borderline starter (at best) at this point. 

Since Ricky Rubio as a non shooter hasn’t turned out to be a great fit for the Jazz, why would Dante Exum be any different? @_am_h

Well first of all, Exum offers a lot more than just shooting. (Tangential note: so does Rubio at times, but I’ll save that sermon for another time.) The Jazz are excited to see how his speed with and without the ball will complement Donovan Mitchell on offense, and to unleash what was, at times, a stunning ability to bottle up the ball on defense. That said, Exum can probably shoot well enough to make the defense react to him on the catch, and that’s all the Utah offense needs to hum a little better. He should pretty much eliminate the pull-up three from his repertoire, but he wasn’t bad as a catch-and-shoot three guy: about 32 percent. If you can get that up to 34 or 35 percent, then a possession that ends with an Exum C&S three is about as valuable as an average Jazz possession. That’s reasonable.

Is it too early to give up on Rubio? Lots of talk about Evan Fournier for Rubio, but doesn’t that decrease our perimeter defense? Can a Rubio + Gobert pairing work with a different guy at 4? @jtaylorbentley

Realistic trades for Rubio? The one for Fournier seems to good to be true. @AdamFis57149791

Two similar questions here, so I’ll take them together.

I don’t get the sense that the Jazz are “giving up” on Rubio; I think they’re just seeing if there’s a deal that makes sense. Quin Snyder probably evaluates his contributions a little differently than casual fans do (“2-for-7 aarrggghhhh!”), . And Taylor is right that the Jazz might make other moves that make Rubio’s lack of outside shooting less of a liability.

That said, if that Fournier deal were really available, that feels like a no-brainer to me. Don’t Google is basically a facsimile of Hood, except healthier and slightly more consistent.  And he’s locked in at a reasonable salary for hit role. No, Fournier isn’t a lockdown defender, but he’s someone who generally knows what he’s supposed to do within the team’s game plan. You’re really betting on Exum if you make that deal, but I think the Jazz would do it.

Should Joe Ingles be a 6th man? Are there other playmaking 3s out there that are available? Is Hood enough for one? @jtaylorbentley

In a perfect world, sure, you’d have such awesome talent at every position that Joe could be an off-the-bench utility. But I think we’re past the point where he should be viewed as a borderline starter. Ingles’ credentials as a starter are strong at this point, and he’s probably their best pick-and-roll facilitator. How many wings out there are elite shooters and passers, and can also defend well both in a team construct and when given a specific 1-on-1 assignment? There are guys like that, but most of them are All-Stars: Paul George, Jimmy Butler, Klay Thompson, etc. 

One guy I keep coming back to is Khris Middleton, who’s way better than casual fans realize. But I haven’t heard that Middleton is available, and I wouldn’t move him if I were the Bucks. If they did entertain offers, it probably takes a combination of Hood and Derrick Favors, plus other goodies like a pick or taking bad salary back. There’s not a lot I wouldn’t do to get Khris, though: he would instantly become Utah’s second or third best player. I have always liked Caris Levert as a skilled wing, but it makes no sense for the Nets, with where they are in the rebuild, to trade a good player on the second year of a scale deal. And while he’s not a playmaker per se, the Jazz could buy low on Jae Crowder, who’s had a rough year in Cleveland. Robert Covington is nice, but that’s probably not feasible.

More trade-specific stuff

What are the odds the Jazz stand pat at the trade deadline and don’t do anything? I think it would be a mistake not to make a trade or two, but Dennis Lindsey has a history of not doing much at the deadline. Will this year be different? @dozer5001

Very, very low. The Jazz seem determined to make moves to get value for players who may be moving on and reshuffle their books. You never know exactly whether supply and demand will line up in terms of an asking price, but if teams are negotiating in good faith, I think it’s safe to say there’s a 99% chance Utah will make at least one trade, and a pretty solid chance they’ll deal multiple rotation players.

How many Jazz players do you honestly think will be traded by the deadline? Is it just fans hoping big changes are going to be made or does it feel like trades are definitely happening? Does that make sense? I feel like there MIGHT be 1-2 traded. @deige22

I’m sticking by my prediction: I think the Jazz will trade at least two (and maybe all) of Joe Johnson, Alec Burks, Favors and Hood — for different reasons, obviously. Other guys could be traded too if the right offer appears, but I think it’s pretty likely that the Jazz are working toward deals involving multiple rotation players.

Is there much of a market for Rodney Hood? And is there any chance Favors still plays for the Jazz in two weeks? @incoherentlemur

My buddy Tony Jones has been consistent in reporting that there’s a good level of interest in Hood. “Interest” doesn’t necessarily mean “willing to pay a price that the Jazz would find acceptable,” but I have him in my group of four on my prediction above for a reason. I think there’s a decent chance he’s dealt, primarily because if the Jazz want to add someone who will make a real impact, Hood is probably their best non-draft asset that’s available at this point.

And on the Fav thing, sure there’s a chance. The Jazz may not find a package that entices them to give him away, or they could adjust the roster elsewhere in ways that make them more amenable to reconsidering Favors’ future fit alongside Gobert. But the “Favors doesn’t want to stay” narrative — whether true or not — has been repeated enough times by now that it feels like Jazz brass are working hard to justify an eventual trade.

Still a trade market out there for Hood? OKC needs a shooting guard, but Hood doesn’t provide the defense they need. Courtney Lee from NY, maybe, in some crazy 3- or 4-team deal? @j_d_cummings

Courtney Lee to Utah? Or to OKC and Hood lands in NYC?

If you meant Lee to Utah… Lee is a good player. He’s a plus defender, a career 39% three-point shooter, and he’s locked in on a pretty reasonable deal. He’s also 32, so the question becomes: does his timeline match up to when the Mitchell and Gobert-led Jazz can reasonably expect to be good? Or maybe he helps them enough in the interim just in terms of helping the Jazz play quality basketball that they don’t care if he’s around when the team is back to making deep playoff runs. But with the Jazz’s revised process, it’s worth being cautious about acquiring a guy with 20,000 NBA minutes on his body.

He probably makes more sense for OKC, who’s trying to be good in the immediate term, so maybe that’s what you meant. But then the Jazz would need something back from the Thunder. I know the Jazz have liked Alex Abrines in the past1. They also have Patterson, discussed above. There could be something to this! (/Heads to the trade machine.)

Blake Griffin trade

Thoughts on this Clippers/Pistons deal? Initial thoughts on who won? @JazzHoopsLife

Thoughts on this trade? Also – If Favors somehow decides to stay, how does that affect Ekpe Udoh? @illbedanned9

On the Clippers’ end, this trade proved once again that teams aren’t getting the same juice they used to get out of superstar trades. It wasn’t that long ago (seven years) that Utah scored a top-three talent, two lottery firsts and a solid starter for Deron Williams. Compared to what teams are getting these days for players like Griffin, Jimmy Butler, Paul George, etc., that return sounds fantastic. I’m sure this was the best the Clippers could get for Blake right now, but it feels underwhelming for a guy who’s an All-NBA guy when he’s healthy. It’ll be hard to judge the trade until we see what else LAC does to its roster — and how they use the resulting salary cap freedom. For example, if they sign a megastar this summer, then don’t we have to evaluate that as part of the deal, too? 

It’s easy to understand Detroit’s motivation, but it could easily go the wrong way. There are only so many ways to land All-NBA talent, but if Griffin and Andre Drummond don’t mesh, it’s going to be a tough one to solve for when their salaries add up to a combined $60 million a year.

Really like Tobias Harris… Did you like the Clippers Pickup? Clippers looking to offload Lou Williams weren’t the Jazz trying to snag him from Houston before the Clippers grabbed him? @UPPERBOWL_JAZZ

Aside from basketball reasons, Lou just doesn’t fit the timeline. He’s a free agent this summer, and Utah just isn’t going after solutions that only make them better for the next 30 games. They’re not tanking or punting the season, but at 21-28, moves that are exclusively win-now in nature just don’t make sense for them. And then there are the basketball reasons — doesn’t defend, takes possessions from Mitchell, etc.

Other targets

Jazz still in the Mirotic sweepstakes? @j_d_cummings

Who else is still looking at Mirotic now that Detroit is out and does this really give the jazz any leverage? @kirkmckee13

After a trade announcement was pulled back on Tuesday afternoon, it does appear that Mirotic is once again available. And yes, I’d imagine the Jazz are still involved in that conversation.

We’re seeing how Mirotic can use his implicit no-trade clause to control the process to some degree. At this point the only way he’s traded is if a) a team wants him for this season AND next, with the team option for 2018-19 picked up, or b) he wants to play somewhere enough that he’ll waive the no-trade even without the option being exercised. New Orleans didn’t want him on the books for next season, and he didn’t want to play there as a rental, so an agreed deal broke down at the finish line.

This is where it could be advantageous for Utah that Niko actually has the Jazz on his wish list. But I still don’t think the Jazz will — or should! — surrender a first for him.

If Kevin Love were hypothetically available, what sort of package would it take, realistically, to get him? Is a package built around Favors, Hood, and a lottery protected first in the ballpark? @tombagjr

It depends on just how desperate the Cavs are to move on from Love, who appears to be at the center of some locker room drama. But I think that package is the very bare minimum to even get in the conversation. Cleveland has a pretty lofty wish list, and Love represents their best chance to check some items off. Also remember that Utah doesn’t just have to placate Cleveland’s nebulous idea of fair value — they also have to beat other offers. Will other teams offer better than an expiring starter, a borderline starter approaching restricted free agency, and a lottery-protected pick? Probably.

 

Who do you see as Jazz targets in the 2019 off-season? I think Klay and Kawhi are the two I like. @TheAccountant90

Sorry to punt, but it’s way to early for this. We need to see which guys earn a role as part of the future core, because that will influence how the cap situation plays out. We also don’t know exactly who will be free agents. Depending on who develops in what ways over the next 16 months, Utah may have different needs at that point than it feels like they do today. So I’d rather let this play out and revisit it when we have more information.

If it’s even a possibility, what would the Jazz have to add to Hood in order to convince 76ers to give up Dario Saric? @_am_h

Have we been given any reliable reason to believe Saric is available? That’s an earnest question, I haven’t heard anything about him. He’s a recent lottery pick who is actually living up to the expectations (14 & 7 with good three-point shooting), so I’m not sure why Philly would move on from him at this point. In particular, I don’t know why they’d give him up for Hood when Covington is a reasonable facsimile of Hood who will cost far less over the coming seasons as the Sixers’ other guys get their paydays. I’m not sure I see Hood-for-Saric as a feasible starting point, but maybe if the Jazz added other stuff they could get the boulder rolling down the mountain on that one. You never know, it just feels like a shot in the dark to me.

Thanks to everyone for the questions! The trade deadline is just nine days away, so we’ll do this at least one more time, at the start of next week.

Dan Clayton

Dan Clayton

Dan covered Utah Jazz basketball for more than 10 years, including as a radio analyst for the team’s Spanish-language broadcasts from 2010 to 2014. He now lives and works in New York City, but contributes regularly to Salt City Hoops, FanRag and BBALLBreakdown.
Dan Clayton

One Comment

  1. Paul Johnson says:

    I don’t see a reason for the Jazz to trade for Mirotic.

    Jonas Jerebko is a very similar player to Mirotic (approximately the same size, the same level of athleticism and the same skill set), although Mirotic is probably a slightly better shooter (although they are historically about the same) and Jerebko is a better defender.

    It makes more sense to just keep Jerebko and let him play that stretch-4 role at $4 mil. per season, rather than to bring in Mirotic to play that same role at $12.5 mil. per season, especially when the Jazz would have to give up an asset to get Mirotic.

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