Posted by: Steven on February 20th, 2013The author's views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of the Utah Jazz.
The Jazz front office have talked a lot about their excitement about their flexibility this summer, but what can they do with it? The Jazz could go all out on trying to get Chris Paul, but it seems like Chris Paul is happy at the Clippers, and who can blame him. Dallas made a similar play for Deron Williams last summer, and ended up with nothing to show for it, but a roster full of one year deals, to try and make another such play this summer, for Chris Paul presumably. Other than the Lakers, who always seem to get franchise changing players in exchange for very little in return, Houston were probably the only team who were able to get a franchise type player last season. Houston seemed to be blowing up their roster without a clearly defined plan and then out of know where pulled the Harden rabbit out of the hat. It’s better to be lucky than good apparently. Without Harden, the Houston experiment would look a lot different than it is today.
There are three franchise changing players available this summer.
Chris Paul, who is probably going to sign on again at the Clippers, but Cuban will probably try and pair him up with Dirk if given even the slightest inkling that Paul could be persuaded to move to the state of low taxes. As talented as the core four is, we cannot pretend that the Jazz can match what the Clippers have with Griffin and the like.
The second player has got to be Dwight Howard. Despite all the protestations that he isn’t going to be traded, all is not happy between Dwight and the Lakers. Despite the drama he brings to teams, Dwight would be a target for many teams in the league, but when the Jazz have Favors do they need Howard. IF Favors continues to grow on the defensive end like he seems capable of, then Favors may well be defensive man of the year material himself. Having Howard here may actually take away from Favors natural game. Howard might be find a more natural fit at the Hawks, another team that is going to have plenty of cap space and flexibility this summer.
The other player that is likely to be available this summer is Pau Gasol. Pau is a player that seems to get little of the credit when things are going well for the Lakers, and all the grief when things are going bad. Getting out of LA would surely be good for his career. Unfortunately for him though he seems to be often injured, and has a 2 year $19m contract that puts off a lot of teams. Though he is a great passer for a big man who could help grow Kanter and Favors game, I just don’t see the Jazz taking on that hefty contract.
So where does that leave the Jazz? Failing the opportunity to acquire a franchise changing player elsewhere, the Jazz are probably going to have to look at keeping either Jefferson or Millsap, but not both, or turning those two players into one new big, with more punch. Someone that can play alongside Favors and Kanterwhile their game develops. I would hate to see Millsap go but if he could be used to acquire a PG that was at least an upgrade on the scoring threat that Watson and Tinsley bring to the game and Mo was signed on for $6m a season to adjust for the time he spends in the injury room instead of the $8.5m he gets paid currently the the Jazz could marginally improve if Jefferson could be turned into someone who can score and be less of defensive liability. Favors and Kanter would each have time on the floor without Millsap and Jefferson around.
Personally I might be tempted to do a deal with the Hawks to acquire Josh Smith for Al Jefferson. Its not a fair trade, but the Hawks seems to have no interest in giving Josh Smith the contract that he wants, and the Hawks could acquire Jefferson to hold the fort for now and until the end of the season, but still have the flexibility to make a run at Dwight Howard in the summer, should the Lakers give up on that experiment.
In the meantime the Jazz could try and do the reported deal with the Clippers for Bledsoe/Millsap. After recent results without Chris Paul, I’m not sold on the idea that Bledsoe is PG material just yet, but as an individual threat he is an upgrade at the backup position at the very least. If both deals could include a way to get rid of Raja Bell, and either Watson or Tinsley, the Jazz could take on an extra players to make the deals work.
In the summer, if Marvin does not find his offensive game, the Jazz could trade him and one first round draft pick to another team to move higher up on the draft. His game and experience might be well suited to the Bobcats for example, who seem to have a habit of ruining good draft picks anyway. Making a trade to draft higher might allow the Jazz the chance acquire a game changer.
Favors starting at Center
Josh Smith alongside at PF
Hayward at SF
Foye at SG
Mo At PG
Bledsoe coming off the bench with Burks, Kanter (getting real minutes), Carrol, Marvin, with a player from the Clippers and the Hawks to compliment, and next season using Marvin Williams and our first round pick from GSW turning into a top four pick, plus one more late first round pick. A solid but unspectacular team. But a chance for our young players to shine, and maybe if the deal can be done to move up on the draft a chance to get a real gem.
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