Utah Jazz Trades
After falling short in several postseasons, the Utah Jazz decided to move on from their core, consisting of Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell. In December of 2021, Danny Ainge — who helped rebuild the Boston Celtics — was hired as Utah’s CEO, which puts him in charge of all basketball decisions. Ainge quickly went to work, shopping Gobert and Mitchell.
In July, the Jazz landed a huge package for Gobert. The Minnesota Timberwolves sent Malik Beasley, Patrick Beverly, Jarred Vanderbilt, Leandro Bolmaro, first-round rookie Walker Kessler, four first-round draft picks (2023, 2025, 2027, and 2029), and a 2026 pick swap.
About two months later, Utah found a trade partner for Mitchell, the Cleveland Cavaliers. Once again, the Jazz reeled in a big haul: Lauri Markkanen, Collin Sexton, first-round rookie Ochai Agbaji, three unprotected first-round picks (2025, 2027, and 2029), and two pick swaps (2026 and 2028).
Now that Utah’s officially moved on to a new era let’s look at how the franchise fares going forward.
Shifting the NBA Trade Market
Ainge worked magic on both trades. The Jazz turned Gobert and Mitchell into seven first-round picks, Sexton, Vanderbilt, Markkanen, Beasley, and two first-round rookies. You can’t beat that. Utah gets instant impact players while also acquiring high-value picks. These trades passed with flying colors, earning A grades.
In fact, the Gobert deal was so good that it shifted the NBA trade market. Many were shocked Utah acquired four first-round picks. Gobert is a generational defender, but he lacks an offensive skill set. Plus, he comes with a massive five-year, $205 million contract. From 2024-26, Gobert earns over $40 million annually.
The Brooklyn Nets were shopping Kevin Durant as the Gobert trade went down. This is where we could see the impact of Utah’s massive haul. Brooklyn upped its asking price, looking for a young superstar paired with well-over three first-round picks. The Gobert haul demanded the attention of teams in the trade market.
After both trades, the Jazz roster looks far different. Here’s how Utah fares for the 2022 season.
While the Jazz did land several impact players, Utah still falls to the bottom of the league. This team will be nowhere close to competing for a playoff spot. Per the sportsbook, Utah is given +2000 odds to make the playoffs, which is tied for the highest mark in the league. Furthermore, NBA lines give the Jazz one of the league’s lowest projected win totals at 26. This would yield a 26-56 record, a huge dropoff compared to 2022’s 49-33 regular-season finish.
In nearly every aspect, Utah has gone in a new direction. The franchise will sport new logos and jerseys following a rebrand. Head Coach Quin Snyder stepped down, followed by the hiring of former Boston Celtics assistant Will Hardy. Of course, the most important change: An overhauled roster.
Following the Gobert trade, the Jazz traded Beverly to the Los Angeles Lakers for Talen Horton-Tucker and Stanley Johnson. For now, Mike Conley, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Jordan Clarkson are key pieces that have stayed put. Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Jared Butler, Vanderbilt, Kessler, Sexton, Markkanen, Agbaji, and Horton-Tucker create a promising young core.
In the 2020-21 season, Sexton nearly made the All-Star game after averaging 24.3 points while shooting 47.5% from the field. Vanderbilt is an underrated player that adds good rebounding and defense. Beasley has averaged double-figures for three consecutive seasons, shooting over 37% on 3-pointers. Agbaji brings high upside as a wing shooter, and Kessler has elite shot-blocking traits.
Utah has plenty of assets that could quickly lead to winning.
Jazzy Draft Assets
The Jazz is not quite on the level of the Oklahoma City Thunder, who have 11 first-round picks over the next four drafts, but Utah is not far off. From 2023-26, the Jazz holds seven first-round picks, including three in the 2023 NBA Draft. Moreover, Clarkson, Conley, and Bogdanovic could be moved soon, yielding more draft picks.
Multiple teams are hoping to land French phenom Victor Wembanyama with the No. 1 pick in 2023.
Victor Wembanyama (7’4 w/o shoes, 8-foot ws) played well again yesterday, posting 14 points (2-4 3PT, 4-6 FT) & 5 blocks in 24 minutes.
Flashed the well-known defensive upside, post scoring, along with rapidly improving PnP shooting. Career 31% 3PT shooter with upside, still 18. pic.twitter.com/0N3ddjaUp6
— Derek Murray (@DMurrayHoops) September 9, 2022
Look for the Jazz to amass as much as possible to land the potential franchise-changing prospect. Utah could get into a tanking competition with teams like the Houston Rockets, Orlando Magic, Indiana Pacers, and Thunder.
The 2022-23 season will be rough. However, this franchise could be back to competing in two or three years. A pair of jazzy trades have set Utah up for success.