The Utah Jazz have a very bright future, headlined by their ridiculously talented young frontcourt duo, made up by Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors, the 3rd picks in the 2011 and 2010 drafts respectively. They also have two very talented young wings in recent lottery picks, Gordon Hayward and Alec Burks, the former, is already their best perimeter scorer. That is a lot of young talent, but with Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap, their two highest paid players, set to hit free agency at the end of the year, they will be stocked with cap space. However, word is that at least one of the two will be traded before the February deadline and whether they trade Millsap or Jefferson they will get an excellent return to add to their future core, which is already fantastic. They may keep one long-term, but they would be wise to let it ride with their young players and add pieces around them, because Favors and Kanter are two of the most talented young prospects in the NBA and could be the foundation of a very special team. It would be smart of the Jazz to trade both now and get rewarded with the incredible bounty that they would without a doubt receive. The following are trade ideas that would make the Utah Jazz’s already bright future, even brighter.
Atlanta Hawks Trade
Hawks Receive: Al Jefferson
Jazz Receive: Josh Smith
Analysis: This is a trade of two massive expiring contracts, while both players would be great long-term fits on the other team. Jefferson would become the much-needed offensive center the Hawks have long wanted, in order to move Al Horford to power forward full time and Smith would give the Jazz a go-to scorer on the perimeter (where he is at his absolute best) and an All-Star star caliber player. If the Jazz do not like the fit they could simply let him walk in the off-season and get massive cap space. It works for both teams.
Houston Rockets Trade
Rockets Receive: Paul Millsap
Jazz Receive: Jeremy Lin and Marcus Morris
Analysis: The Rockets would receive a needed go-to player inside and Millsap would be a huge upgrade at power forward and would give the Rockets another great rebounder. They also have enough cap space to sign him long-term. He may not be Dwight Howard or Pau Gasol, but he is cheaper and would give them exactly what they need, post scoring, rebounding, energy and leadership. The Jazz would receive the point guard they have needed since trading Deron Williams and Lin would be a very good fit. He would be fantastic in the pick and roll with the Jazz big men and would not have to share ball-handling duties with another player like he does with James Harden, which would make him a much better scorer and distributor. Marcus Morris is a solid offensive combo forward and would give the Jazz much needed scoring off the bench and would be thrown in to sweeten the pot, as Lin alone may not be enough to get Paul Millsap.
Indiana Pacers Trade
Pacers Receive: Paul Millsap and Alec Burks
Jazz Receive: Danny Granger and Tyler Hansbrough
Analysis; The Pacers would receive an excellent big man to take over for David West next year in Millsap. Millsap can also play the three at times in big lineups, but for the rest of the year would be an incredible sixth man. Millsap is younger and very similar to West and they could resign him, let West walk, become younger and more athletic and clear the perimeter for Paul George. They would also receive a talented young guard who could be a sparkplug off of the bench in Alec Burks and hopefully become their starting shooting guard within the next year. The Jazz would receive a needed perimeter upgrade and a much needed go-to scorer in Granger, who is signed long-term. It is hard to get an All-Star caliber player to go to Utah and they could achieve this in trading for the 29 year old Granger, who was an All-Star just a couple of years ago. This would free up their frontcourt and they could finally start Favors and give Kanter extra minutes, which he deserves. Hansbrough could come off of the bench and be a blue collar backup to Favors and the third big man next year, if Al Jefferson leaves. Both teams fill huge long-term needs and both would agree to this fair deal.
Milwaukee Bucks Trade
Bucks Receive: Al Jefferson
Jazz Receive: Monte Ellis and Sam Dalembert
Analysis: The Bucks would receive the go-to big man down low, that they have lacked since trading Andrew Bogut and Jefferson’s offense would go well with Larry Sanders’ excellent defense, in the starting lineup. It would also clear up the backcourt, giving Brandon Jennings complete control of the team, which would boost his All-Star caliber numbers even more and finally give them a big man that can actually score in the paint. Ellis would give the Jazz a go-to scorer, which they badly need and trading Jefferson would allow more minutes to go to Favors and Kanter down low. The excellence of Kanter and Favors’ post defense, would make up for Ellis’ lack of defense in the backcourt and Ellis would once again become one of the league’s top scorers, not having to share shots with Jennings. Ellis would give the Jazz a massive and much needed boost on offense, while Sam Dalembert is simply an expiring contract, who is there to make the salaries match, although he would provide solid defense, in whatever minutes he could get behind Favors, Kanter and Millsap.
San Antonio Spurs
- The Spurs have been mentioned to have interest in Al Jefferson and the package suggested would be built around the expiring contract of Stephen Jackson and Tiago Splitter. But as the Utah Jazz have zero need for Splitter, the Spurs simply do not have enough to offer, unless they would put Kawhi Leonard in the trade, which they would never do. Add in the fact that Al Jefferson does not seem like a Spurs type of player and this simply does not seem like a viable option.