Utah Jazz Fan GM (Over)-Analysis
WRITTEN BY PETER J. NOVAK | 26 June 2012
“Houston, we’ve had a problem” – Captain Jim Novell
The NBA draft is two days away and rumors are flying fast and furious. In somewhat of an odd twist, all ofthe rumors seem to be emanating out of Houston as the Rockets attempt to acquire every single 2012 first rounddraft pick. So far they have acquired three mid-first round draft selections (14, 16 & 18) but are continuing to shoparound in order to upgrade those picks into higher draft commodities. Once the dust is settled they hope to havethe pieces necessary to enable them to acquire a super-star player, ideally Dwight Howard (Houston is reportedlyinterested in lesser all-stars as well).
At this point, Utah Jazz fans are just sitting back wishing for rumors that their team is seriously engagedin a draft pick or talent acquisition trade. Not unexpectedly, things are quiet from the Jazz camp, other than somesemi-believable rumors that Kevin O’Connor is looking for a draft pick to use to acquire Damian Lillard, the local pointguard out of Weber State and likely top-10 draft pick (Chad Ford reported today that the Trailblazers are consideringtrading the #6 pick to Utah for Paul Millsap).
Ever since Mehmet Okur was traded to the Nets last year, Jazz fans have been clamoring for O’Connorto use the $10.8m “traded player exception” (the “TPE”) generated from that trade, to upgrade the roster. The timemay be perfect for O’Connor to play his TPE card as the financial flexibility that comes with such an asset would bea valuable commodity to help Houston facilitate its talent acquisition endeavors. While the Jazz do not necessarilywant to assist one of their Western Conference rivals acquire top of the line talent, there may be a few scenarioswhere doing so will help the Jazz improve significantly, without having to give up a bunch of core roster players inreturn.
What is the TPE?
The TPE is a function of the collective bargaining agreement and can be used as an exception to thestandard salary matching requirements necessary in all NBA trades. When a team executes a trade in the NBA withanother team and takes back less salary in return, the difference in salary given versus salary received creates aTPE. The Jazz did this when they dealt Memo to the Nets and did not receive any return players/salaries. The netresult was a $10.8m TPE that now allows the Jazz to take back a single or multiple players, either simultaneously orin separate transactions, who have a salary that is less than $10.8m plus $100,000. The Jazz have one year fromthe Memo trade to use this exception or they lose it. If you are interested in more details about what a TPE is andwhat a team can and cannot do with it, read ESPN salary cap expert Larry Coon’s explanation of it here: http://www.cbafaq.com/salarycap.htm#Q82.
The TPE is an especially appealing tool for teams that have made financial commitments to players thatthey now want to unload without taking back any salary commitments in return. This is where the Jazz’s TPE maycome into play, as it would be a useful conduit in any trade that Houston makes for Dwight Howard or another NBAstar.
What is Houston really up to?
As it stands now the Rockets have about $50m in committed salaries/cap holds for the upcoming season,which is about $8m below the projected cap. Step 1 of their currently reported goal is to parlay picks 14, 16 and18 plus a combination of current players, to get them additional picks in the top 10 that would be more appealing tothe Magic. As of right now it seems likely that Houston could use Kyle Lowry to acquire a top ten pick from eitherToronto at #8 (who is looking for a successor to Jose Calderon), or to Portland at #6 (who according to Chad Fordis considering trading its pick to Houston for Lowry). The second trade component that Houston is dealing with isrumored to be Sacramento at #5, who would be taking picks #14 and #16 and Samuel Dalembert in return for the 5thpick. The ultimate sum of its initial trades would leave Houston with picks #5 and #8 (or #7 or #6) and about $12.5mmore in cap room bringing them to about $20.5m in cap space.
Step 2 of Houston’s plan is to lure or trade for a second star player to entice Dwight to consider staying inHouston long-term. Specifically, according to Bill Ingram of Hoopsworld, Houston would use the Dwight trade as thechip that convinces Deron Williams to sign with Houston and thus convinces Dwight to sign a long-term extensionwith Houston (http://www.hoopsworld.com/rockets-targeting-dwight-howard-deron-williams). At first blush this appearsto be a long shot and both Dwight and DWill have already claimed they don’t have interest in Houston. However, ifDWill’s and Dwight’s real goal is to play together and compete for a title, Houston may be one of the only teams thathas the assets needed to acquire both guys and create the necessary cap space to get it done.
So how can the Jazz help Houston get Dwight and more importantly, what is in it for Utah?
Now with the table set, here is where we get into how the Jazz may get involved in facilitating a tradebetween Houston and Orlando. There are two different types of trades that the Jazz and other parties might haveinterest in. The first would be a “salary dump trade” with Houston alone, while the second would be a 3-way tradethat would use some of Utah’s assets to entice Orlando to deal Dwight to Houston.
Trade Scenario One:Houston trades Kevin Martin (1yr $12.4m) and Luis Scola (3yrs $9.4m, $10.2m, $11m) toUtah for Paul Millsap (1yr $8m) and a future 2nd round pick (Jazz must use TPE to acquire $9.4m Luis Scolacontract)
Houston’s Motivation. With this trade (technically it would be two separate trades) Houston is able toclear an additional $13.2m off of its salary cap and coupled with the previous trades, would bring its cap spaceto about $33.7m. This by itself would be enough that Houston could trade the draft picks it acquires to Orlandoand not require any additional salary or players be sent to Orlando. Houston would likely include additional youngassets including Patrick Patterson and/or Markieff Morris. Houston could also take back one or two of Orlando’s badcontracts (Hedo Turkoglu (2yrs $11.8m, $12m non-guaranteed?) in order to facilitate a trade.
That would mean Houston’s total package for Dwight would be something like picks #5, #8, #18 in the 2012draft (and additional future 1st rounders either its own, or the one acquired from Dallas via Los Angeles) along withPatterson and Morris. This alone would seem to me to trump any offer the Nets try to put together surrounding BrookLopez and future first round picks. It would arguably be better than an Andrew Bynum offer as well assuming thatpicks #5 and #8 pan out for Orlando. Houston would then have both Dwight and Millsap to entice DWill to comeaboard.
Utah’s Motivation. In the above scenario Utah gives up fan favorite Paul Millsap and financial flexibilityand in return gets a very comparable, but older player in Luis Scola. While the remaining $30m owed to Scola isless than ideal it is a fair market rate for a player of his production. Additionally, the Jazz acquire a shooting guard inKevin Martin who would be a valuable starter and scorer on this team for the upcoming season and who they couldhopefully convince to re-sign at a more affordable price thereafter. By getting two rotation players for the price of onethe Jazz have successfully used its TPE in this scenario to supplement its roster heading into the upcoming season.
Trade Scenario Two:
This next trade gets a little bit confusing, so I have attached the ESPN trade machine configuration showingwhich players are traded where:http://t.co/glAgQnp
Houston acquires Dwight Howard (1yr $19.5m) and Hedo Turkoglu (2yrs $11.8m, $12m non-guaranteed)Orlando acquires Al Jefferson (1yr $15m), Kyle Lowry ($5.75m, $6.2m team option) and picks #5, #18 and afuture 1st round pick from HoustonUtah acquires Kevin Martin (1yr $12.4m), Luis Scola (3yrs $9.4m, $10.2m, $11m), JJ Redick (1yr $6.2mnon-guaranteed); and Patrick Patterson (3yrs $2m, $3.1m, $4.3m qualifying offer). (Utah must use TPE toacquire $9.4m Luis Scola contract) Houston’s Motivation. This trade assumes that Houston does not trade Lowry to Toronto for #8 andinstead uses Lowry to get Orlando to buy into this deal. Houston is able to acquire Dwight and would just be a fewmillion shy of enough cap space to offer Deron Williams a max contract. The team would still have RFA rights toCourtney Lee and the ability to sign and trade Goran Dragic to fill out the rest of its lineup.
Orlando’s Motivation. Orlando uses this trade to replace Dwight with Jefferson who would take over hisrole as the primary low post scoring option on the team. Lowry is a big upgrade over Jameer Nelson at this pointin his career and would supply some needed youth to the Orlando backcourt. With the #5 pick, Orlando could drafta wing like Harrison Barnes or Michael Kidd Gilchrist to give the team a potential star wing to run with Lowry. Thistrade keeps Orlando competitive in the short-term (if that is their true goal) and in the long-term they eliminate millionsof dollars of long-term salary obligations.
Utah’s Motivation. Utah uses this trade to acquire a low post scorer and shooter from the shooting guardposition as analyzed in the trade above. Utah also acquires Redick, who is a decent shooter from the bench andPatrick Patterson, who may be a good 6th man power forward to replace Millsap if the team lets him walk after the season. In order to improve its backcourt the team does have to take on some large salary obligations to Martin andRedick, but both contract are expiring and the team could choose after the season which if either player fits into theteam long-term.
Are there better uses for the Jazz’s TPE?
While the Houston scenarios above present some interesting trade supplemental pieces to improve theteams depth, O’Connor will certainly be looking to see if there is a better use for the team’s TPE. There are a fewother teams that are reportedly interested in shedding salary and may be willing to unload overpriced contracts intothe Jazz’s TPE and entice us to take on such salary obligations by offering draft pick compensation. Most of thesetransactions would appear to be from teams later on in the draft like
Dallas (pick #17 and Shawn Marion 2yrs $17m)or Atlanta (pick #23 and Marvin Williams 2yrs $17m).
In any event if the Jazz are to going to use the TPE before it expires in December, it will likely be to enableanother team to clear cap space for moves they are trying to do either on draft day or when free agency commencesin July. The above examples with Houston are the types of deals I think would be available to the Jazz if they are infact willing to act as a conduit to other teams.
Utah Jazz Fan GM (Over)-Analysis
WRITTEN BY PETER J. NOVAK | 22 June 2012
In a bit of not-so-surprising news yesterday, Brian T. Smith of the Salt Lake Tribune reported that Paul Millsap was poised to ask the Jazz for a contract extension after July 1st, which also happens to be the first day of the new NBA league year. Specifically, Brian T. Smith reported:
“Once free agency starts July 1, forward Paul Millsap will attempt to negotiate a multiyear contract extension with the Jazz. If a deal can't be reached, a variety of options will be explored. The only thing that'll change this scenario is if Millsap is traded before free agency begins.”
I think this quote can be interpreted in a few ways that are both positive and negative for Jazz fans. Before we try to (over)-analyze this quote, I’m going to break down some of the mechanics of a potential new deal for Millsap.
How Does a Contract Extension Work Under the New CBA?
The NBA collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”) that was approved last December contains a few new terms that will directly impact any extension given to Millsap this offseason. First, under the new CBA, veteran extensions are limited to four seasons (including the remaining years on a player’s current contract). Millsap has 1 year remaining on his current deal for approximately $8.6 million. Accordingly, after July 1st, the Jazz will only be able to add a maximum of 3 additional years onto the end of his contract and lock him up through the 2015-16 season.
Second, as a player with 6 years experience in the NBA, the Jazz are limited to giving him a maximum salary that is no more than 25% of the total salary cap. While this number has not yet been calculated for the following league year, most prognosticators estimate the NBA salary cap will be flat for the next few upcoming seasons and end up around $58m. Thus Millsap’s maximum starting salary for an extension would be around $14.5m.
Third, the amount of raises a team can give its own “bird rights” free agents is now only 7.5% versus 10.5% under the previous CBA. Add it all up and the largest extension the Jazz could give Millsap is 3 years and $46.76m (note: this number is only an approximation based on assumptions of the upcoming salary cap and could fluctuate by a few million depending on a number of factors including league wide revenues). Add the projected 3 year salary to his current contract and the Jazz could have Millsap locked up for 4 years (through 2015-16) at $55.36m, for an average of $13.85m a year.
What is Millsap Worth on the Open Market?
The Jazz would have to question whether Millsap is worth a full maximum extension and a total of 4 years at $55.36m in salary. In order to determine what the NBA market would bear, it helps to look at some comparable players who have signed recent contracts or contract extensions.
Zach Randolph. (4 years, $66m with 4th year Player Option, signed in 2011-12). Randolph is a better player than Millsap, but probably not by as much as the consensus opinion thinks. Randolph has averaged 17 ppg and 9 rpg for his career, while Millsap has only averaged 12 ppg and 7 rpg. As a starter though Millsap has averaged 17 ppg and 8 rpg over the past 2 seasons, which is fairly comparable to Randolph. Additionally, Millsap is four years younger and does not have the “head case” reputation that Randolph carries with him.
David West. (2 years, $20m, signed in 2011-12). Last year West left New Orleans to sign as an unrestricted free agent with the Pacers. He was also coming off a significant knee injury. Many teams appeared to be concerned on whether West could return to full health in 2011-12 and whether he could return to his previous form. West’s career averages are 16 ppg and 7 rpg, which is in Millsap’s ball park. West is also considered a slightly undersized power forward (like Millsap) and is nearly 5 years older than Millsap is.
Marc Gasol. (4 years, $57m, signed in 2011-12). Gasol is not the same type of player that Millsap is, but they do put up fairly comparable stat lines. Gasol has averaged 13.1 ppg and 8.1 rpg and was coming off of a 12 ppg, 7 rpg season when he signed his contract extension last year. Gasol is almost the same exact age as Millsap is. Based on the history of the NBA overpaying centers, Gasol likely received a contract premium based on the fact that he measures 7 feet tall.
Based on these contracts and a few others, it is fair to say that Millsap will at least average $10m a season in his next contract. He has relative youth on his size and the next 4 years should be the prime of his career. Additionally, while he may not do any one thing great he is a durable and efficient player with a 2011-12 PER of 21.85. I’d suspect that if Millsap was a free agent this year he would likely command somewhere between $11m-$14m a season, for a four year contract value of approximately $44-$56m.
How Does Millsap Fit Long-term into the Jazz’s Financial Future?
Long-term, the Jazz do not have any significant contractual commitments beyond the 2012-13 season. The team’s next major financial decisions (with guys currently on the roster) will be potential contract extensions (assuming the players earn them) given to Derrick Favors and Gordon Hayward and which would kick in during the 2014-15 season. Both Enes Kanter and Alec Burks will also be due contract extensions that would begin in 2015-16. If the Jazz give Millsap a 3 year extension he will be locked up to the team through 2015-16 and his contract will overlap Favors and Hayward by two seasons and Kanter and Burks by one season. Without any significant free agent signings (or similar extensions given to Al Jefferson and Devin Harris), the Jazz would likely be able to afford a market rate contract extension to Millsap under the terms presented above.
How Does Millsap Fit Long-term into the Jazz’s On-Court Future?
Perhaps more important on whether the Jazz “can” afford Millsap, is the question on whether the Jazz should pay Millsap an extension of between $11m-$14m per year. While that money is fair compensation for a borderline all-star and starting NBA power forward, the question on whether Millsap is still a starting power forward on the Utah Jazz for the 2012-13 is legitimate.
As of right now most fans have Favors penciled in to start one frontcourt position for the Jazz next year. That leaves Millsap and Jefferson (and maybe Kanter?) to fight for the remaining starting position at either center or power forward. If the Jazz decide that they want Favors to be their starting power forward and Jefferson or Kanter to be their starting center, that likely pushes Millsap to the bench, at which point the team would have a hard time justifying Millsap’s high dollar contract extension.
What Happens if Millsap is not Given an Extension?
Now this is the real 50 million dollar question. Kevin O’Connor has gone on record a handful of times over the past year espousing the Jazz’s financial flexibility in the summer of 2013. Assuming the Jazz do not make any major transactions this year, the Jazz could have up to $30m in cap space to pursue free agents. O’Connor seems to be looking forward to this flexibility and may balk at any extension requests for Millsap (or Jefferson or Harris) in order to see what he could do with the salary cap room next offseason.
It is because of that desire by O’Connor that the following statement in Brian T. Smith’s article has me concerned: “If a deal can't be reached, a variety of options will be explored.” I am not sure where exactly Smith is getting his information. It seems likely to me that it is a quote from Millsap’s agent or perhaps just a summary of a conversation that they might have had.
In any event, Millsap’s only “real” option is to play out the final year of his contract and test free agency next offseason. However, if you are Millsap’s agent and you want to maximize your client’s value you cannot be optimistic of the chances of your client to increase his value if he is relegated to a bench role on his team during his contract year. It is for that reason that I fear that if Millsap is not given an extension we may see another NBA player issue a trade demand. While it is not the first time this has happened to the Jazz, nor will it be the last time, it certainly is not something that loyal Jazz fans would expect out of a guy like Millsap. I hope for the best that it does not get to that point.
Of course, as the Smith article indicates, all of this would be prevented if Millsap is traded prior to the commencement of the free agency period. That may be the reason we are hearing Millsap’s name pop up in trade rumors as we approach the draft. While most Jazz fans are fond of Millsap and his work ethic, it would appear to me that we may have seen the last of him in a Jazz uniform.no comments
We talk Olympics, Ak, Memo retiring, Utah radio, the flu/hangover game, draft party, NBA finals, The System, 2012 Draft, and other stuff.
Sometimes You Have to Make Your Own Luck
WRITTEN BY PETER J. NOVAK | 12 June 2012 Follow Peter on Twitter.
“You make your own luck, Gig. You know what makes a good loser? Practice.” – Ernest Hemingway
The above quote was made by Ernest Hemmingway to his son. I do not pretend to know the context of the quote but I do believe it is a perfect reflection of the Utah Jazz’s current draft lottery situation. While Golden State did what Golden State does best (LOSE!!! BUNCH OF STUPID LOSERS!!!!), the Jazz fought hard to earn the 8th seed in the Western Conference Playoffs and (alleged) valuable experience for its youngish roster along the way. The end result was that the Jazz lost (for the time being) two valuable draft picks in the upcoming NBA draft. While the team may have overachieved this year, it still only finished the season tied with two other teams with the 13th best record in the league, which in a 30 team league means the Jazz are almost dead in the middle.
While we can all speculate and hope that the Jazz’s young team will improve with age, it is time for Gig…er…Kevin O’Connor, to show us what he is made of and make his own luck. The upcoming NBA draft has been touted as being one of the best in a long time. It is not hard to contemplate why that is, since there were so many projected top ten picks last year (Harrison Barnes, Jared Sullinger, Perry Jones III, John Henson, Kendall Marshall, to name a few) who elected to return to college in light of entering prematurely into the labor instability that was projected by some to wipe out the whole NBA season. The result is that the upcoming draft, while only having 1 elite prospect, is much fatter than most drafts in the mid- to late-lottery. Thus there may not be a better time than now for O’Connor to parlay some of his NBA capital assets into some upgraded prospects at positions of need.
In a typical draft, most teams will feed you the line that they are looking to draft the best player available. While this may be partially true (best player available at position of need seems more accurate), the Jazz are in a situation where they currently do not own a draft pick, and thus if they are looking to acquire a player it is likely going to be one that they target ahead of time and trade into the draft to acquire. Figuring out who that player might be is a tough task, but it is fun to speculate on who the next Jazz man may be.
Who the Jazz Will NOT Target
Predicting what any NBA team wants to do in the draft, let alone one that is led by Kevin “No Comment” O’Connor, is a near impossible task…and yet as fans we still obsess over it. In order to help deconstruct who the Jazz might have interest in, I have tried to eliminate the players and positions that the Jazz should not have interest in. This is not to say that the Jazz do not like (or even love) some of these prospects, but rather, these guys would mostly be deemed to be a luxury to add to the team and thus not worth the NBA capital it would cost to get back into the draft.
Power Forwards: The one position on the team that Utah has undoubtedly filled is the power forward position. With depth on the roster currently and with Derrick Favors late season emergence, the Jazz are covered at power forward both now and in the future. Coincidentally, this may be the deepest position in the top half of the draft, which means that players at greater positions of need for Utah could fall down into more attainable draft slots. Players Eliminated: Anthony Davis, Thomas Robinson, John Henson, Jared Sullinger, Arnett Moultrie, Andrew Nicholson.
Shooting Guard: The second deepest position for the Jazz may be at shooting guard. I say “may” because it is too early to tell if both Hayward and Burks become starter caliber players at this position long-term. The Jazz may look to add a more pure shooter to the team and play Hayward at small forward more often. For now though, I do not see the Jazz investing much capital in the shooting guard position unless a player they really love takes a big dive on draft day. Players Eliminated: Bradley Beal, Dion Waiters, Jeremy Lamb, Terrence Ross, Austin Rivers, Evan Fournier, John Jenkins.
Center: This positional need may be debatable. The Jazz have Kanter as the heir apparent at center with Jefferson holding down the position for now. The team may however look to acquire a taller shot blocking center to pair with Favors and Kanter long-term. I’m completely in favor of that. While this draft has a few guys with length, none are so great that I think the Jazz would feel compelled to jump back into the draft. Players Eliminated: Andre Drummond, Meyers Leonard, Tyler Zeller, Fab Melo.
So Who is Left?
Just like that we’ve eliminated 17 of the projected 30 first round draft picks. That leaves the following players:
Point Guard: Damian Lillard, Kendall Marshall, Marquis Teague, Tony Wroten
Small Forward: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Harrison Barnes, Terrence Jones, Perry Jones III, Moe Harkless, Quincy Miller, Draymond Green, Jeff Taylor, Royce White.
I think we can cut this list down a little further based on a few criteria the Jazz appear to consider highly in their prospects. First, the Jazz are big on high effort guys, accordingly, guys who have reputations of not putting in work may be deemed to risky for the Jazz to trade for. From what I have read, I think that eliminates Terrence Jones, Perry Jones III and Quincy Miller. The Jazz also typically avoid the “head case” type players and that would cut out: Tony Wroten and Royce White. Finally, there are few guys who are late first round draft picks, which likely would not pose enough of an upgrade to interest the Jazz to give up anything of significant value, I think those guys are Moe Harkless (although he has been rising after the draft combine), Marquis Teague, Draymond Green and Jeff Taylor.
Potential Jazz Targets
Just like that we are down to 4 potential targets. The following is a list of prospects that the Jazz could have interest in based on the team’s needs and the value of where they would have to trade into in the draft. This is a range of players that could go anywhere from #2 in the draft all the way to about #17. In order of projected draft position:
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF, University of Kentucky
Physical Stats: Height: 6’7.5”, Weight: 233, Wingspan: 7’, Reach: 8’8.5”, Max Vertical: 35.5”, Sprint: 3.18
Current Projected Draft Range: 2-5
Why the Jazz might have interest: By all accounts Kidd-Gilchrist is one of the safest picks in this year’s draft, although he might lack the upside as an offensive player of some of the other wing prospects. Kidd-Gilchrist is often credited for being a team leader during Kentucky’s championship run and appears to have the work ethic that the Jazz would drool over. As a player he reminds me of Andre Iguodala, who has been a target of Jazz fans for years and who would seem to compliment both Hayward and Burks at the wing positions.
Harrison Barnes, SF, University of North Carolina
Physical Stats: Height: 6’8”, Weight: 228, Wingspan: 6’11.2”, Reach: 8’5.5”, Max Vertical: 39.5”, Sprint: 3.16
Current Projected Draft Range: 4-8
Why the Jazz might have interest: Barnes had a somewhat disappointing sophomore campaign but appears to be a mature kid who wants to become an NBA star and is willing to work for it. The most recent comparisons of his game are to Glenn Rice who had a successful career as a spot up shooter. I am not sure that Barnes will ever shoot as well as Rice did but he almost would certainly become the Jazz’s best 3-point threat the minute he is drafted. Some have questioned his athletic ability but the recent results from the combine had him as one of the highest leapers and one of the quickest in the ¾ court sprint.
Damian Lillard, PG, Weber State University
Physical Stats: Height: 6’2.75”, Weight: 189, Wingspan: 6’7.75”, Reach: 7’11.25”, Max Vertical: 39.5”, Sprint: 3.34
Current Projected Draft Range: 6-11
Why the Jazz might have interest: Lillard has been shooting up draft boards since about the middle of the NCAA season. He is a four year Junior who missed almost a full season due to injury but really caught on fire this past year as a lead scoring guard for local school Weber State. Lillard isn’t a traditional point guard like the Jazz have had in the past but the current trend in the NBA is shifting to scoring point guards and there was some recent buzz out of the NBA combine that Lillard reminds some scouts of Russell Westbrook. While that is a laudable comparison for Lillard to shoot for, Lillard appears to be a better outside shooter than Westbrook but does not have the same elite ability to attack the rim. The Jazz organization would no doubt be hopeful that Lillard’s school ties and friends he has made there might make him more desirous to keep his roots in Utah long-term.
Kendall Marshall, PG, University of North Carolina
Physical Breakdown: 6’4.25”, Weight: 198, Wingspan: 6’5.5”, Reach: 8’0”, Max Vertical: 37”, Sprint: 3.23
Current Projected Draft Range: 8-17
Why the Jazz might have interest: Marshall was the leader of the North Carolina team this last year that many thought would be a championship contender. However, once Marshall injured his wrist, North Carolina was all but done for. Marshall is a big point guard in the Andre Miller mold and may have the best court sense of any player coming into the NBA since Ricky Rubio. There have been knocks that Marshall isn’t athletic enough to play defense in the NBA, but his athletic numbers from the combine were superior to Lillard’s and were surprising to most scouts. Utah has always loved its traditional point guards, even preferring those with size as was demonstrated in the Deron Williams over Chris Paul selection.
WHICH TEAMS ARE SELLING DRAFT PICKS?
So I have identified 4 likely targets. The next question is how the Jazz position themselves in a place to get one of these guys that they may have their eyes on. Luckily, as is par for the course at this time of year, the rumors are running rampant on which teams want to trade up or down or out of this draft. Here are a few teams which a deal for the Jazz may be possible:
Sacramento Kings #5
Why they’d want to make a deal: For at least the second year in a row Sacramento was the youngest team in the NBA. More telling, their best player, Demarcus Cousins is perhaps one of the most immature players in the league. Cousin’s has the skill set of a legitimate NBA superstar and adding another rookie may not help his development as much as surrounding him with a talented veteran influence.
Proposed Trade: Sacramento trades John Salmons (2yr $8.0m, $7.6m Team Option “T/O) and pick #5 to
Utah for Paul Millsap (1yr $8.5m) and a future conditional 1st round draft pick.
Why this trade works: Millsap does not have the reputation of being an off court leader. Instead he leads by example in putting the time and effort in to maximize his abilities on and off court. This may be a better fit for Cousins as opposed to a teammate that gets in Cousin’s ear and upsets him. On the court, the Kings could use a versatile power forward to play next to Cousins and someone like Millsap fits that bill. Sacramento may prefer to draft a power forward like Thomas Robinson (if he falls) or John Henson but neither of those prospects are guaranteed to be better than what Millsap is today.
Who does Utah target here: At number five the Jazz would likely hope that Kidd-Gilchrist slides to them and provides them with the wing defender they have been lacking for seemingly forever. If Kidd-Gilchrist is not available and if Barnes makes it past Cleveland at #4, then this would be a good spot for Utah to add its shooter. Finally, if Utah believes that Portland is going to take Lillard at #6, which many mock drafts are currently projecting, then this pick puts Utah in position to steal Lillard from their divisional nemesis.
Toronto Raptors #8
Why they’d want to make a deal: The rumors out of Toronto are flying in several different directions. On one hand many speculate that the Raptors have a draft guarantee in place for Dion Waiters. On the other hand there are rumors that Toronto is making a strong play for a veteran wing player as part of a plan to entice Steve Nash to sign with them as a free agent. Toronto is also bringing on their lottery selection from last year, Jonas Valanciunas, so they may not be inclined to add a second developmental player at the same time.
Proposed Trade: Toronto trades Ed Davis (2yrs $2.2m, $3.2m, $4.4m Qualifying Offer “Q/O”) and Linas Kleiza (1yr $4.6m, $4.6m P/O) to Philadelphia and pick #5 to Utah
Philadelphia trades Elton Brand (1yr $18.2m) to Utah and Andre Iguodala (2yrs $14.7m, $15.9m P/O) to Toronto
Utah trades Al Jefferson (1yr $15m) and Raja Bell (1yr $3.5m) to Philadelphia and a future conditional 1st round draft pick to Toronto.
Why this trade works: Toronto obtains the veteran small forward they are looking for and rolls over its first round pick from this year into next. Philadelphia is able to add the post scoring player they were lacking in Jefferson and a decent prospect in Ed Davis. Additionally, this trade cuts about $10m off of Philadelphia’s payroll for next season and would free up some cap space to re-sign Lou Williams, Lavoy Allen and to shop the free agent market. Philadelphia would also have an approximate $10m traded player exception created by the net deficit of returning salaries it receives in this trade. Utah gets the #8 pick in the draft and also an adequate bench big man in Brand, whose contract expires after the season.
Who does Utah target here: At #8 the Jazz would miss out on Kidd-Gilchrist and there is a good chance Barnes would be gone as well. Assuming Lillard doesn’t go #6 to Portland, it would be him or Barnes in this slot.
Detroit Pistons #9
Why they’d want to make a deal: Detroit is looking at a handful of bad contracts which stifle its ability to make any meaningful improvement over the next several years. The team is also looking for an upgrade in the front court with a complimentary piece to put next to Greg Monroe.
Proposed Trade: Detroit trades Ben Gordon (1yr $12.4m, $13.2m P/O) and pick #9 to
Utah for Paul Millsap (1yr $8.6m); Raja Bell (1yr $3.5m) and a future conditional 1st round draft pick
Why this trade works: This trade helps eliminate one of Joe Dumar’s ill-advised free agent contracts and at the same time, adds a power forward next to Monroe who can compliment Monroe with both an inside/outside game. Utah frees up minutes for Favors and may be able to use Gordon in a limited role as a combo guard off the bench for the next two seasons.
Who does Utah target here: At number nine the Jazz would again be hoping that Lillard falls to them and if not, they would be in position to draft Marshall before point guard needy New Orleans at #10 scoops him up.
New Orleans #10
Why they’d want to make a deal: New Orleans has allegedly put their #10 draft pick on the block in order to prevent having to bring in a second rookie next to Anthony Davis. The Hornets are also allegedly looking to unload some salary in order to maintain financial flexibility to match any offer it receives for Eric Gordon and to give them the ability to add additional wing players in free agency.
Proposed Trade: New Orleans trades Emeka Okafor (2yrs $13.5m, $14.5m) and pick #10 to
Utah for Al Jefferson (1yr $15m) and a future conditional 1st round draft pick
Why this trade works: This is virtually the same trade I proposed in my previous trade column, and it actually might make more sense today. While Davis is the future of that franchise his current size make it questionable on whether he will be able to have an offensive impact in the post for the next few years. Jefferson could provide a good complimentary piece for Davis and take some pressure of him as he is eased into the role of franchise savior. Utah could use the defense Okafor brings (health permitting), as a reserve center, and in lineups next to either Favors and Millsap.
Who does Utah target here: This is the floor for Lillard, but there is good chance that either Portland or Toronto scoops him up at #6 or #8. If he’s not available then Marshall is the pick.
Houston #14 and #16
Why they’d want to make a deal: Houston by all accounts is trying to package some of its depth and acquire an all-star talent. Those trade rumors include Houston allegedly wanting to package #14 and #16 to move up in the draft. Houston has had a number of draft picks over the recent years and is already planning on brining over Donatas Montiejuans, a 2011 first round pick, from Europe this season. If Houston is unable to move up then they could be looking to trade one of their picks this year for a pick in a future draft.
Proposed Trade: Houston trades pick #14 or #16 to
Utah for cash considerations (up to $3m) and a future conditional 1st round draft pick
Why this trade works: This would be a punt for Houston rolling over a current asset for when they have more use for it. Utah could (and should) have two first round picks next year and thus could be willing to move one to get into the current draft.
Who does Utah target here: At this point Lillard will be gone but Marshall may be available with either 14 or 16 (Philadelphia at 15 does not need a point guard). The Jazz would hope that Marshall falls to them here.
So What Will the Jazz Do?
O’Connor and the rest of the Jazz front office has scouted this draft and according to Chad Ford from ESPN, they really like some of the prospects and may be looking to move back into the draft. I suspect that the Jazz are fondest of Lillard, which would mean they would likely need to move into the 5th-9th spot in order to make sure they get him. However, the cost for doing so appears to be much more expensive then if the Jazz were able to patiently wait to see if Marshall slides into the late lottery. I suspect that the Jazz will hope Lillard falls to around #10 and if he does not, they will turn their attention to Marshall and hope they can scoop him up by trading future draft selections and cash and/or taking on bad contracts. For my money, I think I would focus on Marshall as he should be more attainable and may be a better fit for the Jazz’s traditional point guard based system.no comments