Three Trades the Jazz Should Entertain This Season


The Utah Jazz remain mostly the same heading into next season, with perhaps their biggest roster adjustment being the addition of rookie Grayson Allen out of Duke. Utah contended well during the latter part of the regular season last year, but fell just short of securing the third seed and home court advantage in the first round by one game.

Obviously, doing well in what will be a stacked and highly entertaining Western Conference is a must, but for a roster that has stayed surprisingly intact, especially with Derrick Favors coming back, the unknown factor heading into this season remains whether or not the Jazz will decide to make a deal once the new season is underway.

With that in mind, here are three potential trade ideas that the Utah Jazz should entertain in the season ahead.

#1: Send Alec Burks to Chicago for Kris Dunn and Cristiano Felicio

Photo Courtesy of the Chicago Tribune

At first, this might seem like a deal that Chicago would have no reason to be involved in. And if we’re talking about at the beginning of the regular season, you would be spot on to say that. Kris Dunn could be part of a young core that the Bulls have, at least on paper, with Lauri Markkanen and Zach LaVine being the other two stars in that.

On the other end, Alec Burks is a seven-year NBA veteran that has spent his entire professional career in Salt Lake City. With three seasons in the middle of his career where his points per game average was in the neighborhood of 14, he has stayed consistent in the other four years, with an average of seven points per game and a career average just under double digits.

The reason for this trade completely depends on timing, but by the time the All-Star break comes around, this could be one of the exchanges that doesn’t make tons of noise in the moment, but one that will have drastic outcomes for both teams. Should the Jazz trade Burks, it would be a surprise move but something they will only do if he is not fitting in with the system that will now much more heavily depend on scoring from Donovan Mitchell.

And don’t think being on the potential trade block is new for Burks, because it isn’t.

Utah has more than enough when it comes to being a guard heavy roster, and now that Mitchell is expected to be a star in the league, it is going to be a make or break kind of season for Burks despite his seniority.

Dante Exum and Raul Neto are also coming back to the Jazz and are the reason that there is more than likely going to be an odd man out if the style of play becomes a problem. When looking at things from Bulls’ perspective, it’s a similar reason that they would consider this deal, but executing it would have an entirely different purpose.

They had to match an offer sheet from Sacramento to keep LaVine in town, and Markkanen was only a rookie last season. There’s tons of hype with the core that they have, but without solid veterans on the roster it’ll be hard to really make next season anything special.

Burks would be a guy on which that slipper would fit, as nobody on Chicago’s roster really has any leadership that really jumps out to corral the focus whenever it might slip throughout the season. He’s not a superstar, but balance is just as important as skill set when shaping a roster, and the Bulls will need to tread carefully if chaos consumes their young stars’ chemistry.

Cristiano Felicio is thrown into this deal for financial reasons, as giving up another higher paid player to match Burks’ salary doesn’t make sense to include. He’d be a project for the Jazz to try and develop, and would allow Chicago to not waste $8 million or so on a dud.

#2: Send Joe Ingles and Alec Burks to Washington for Otto Porter Jr.

Photo Courtesy of The Washington Times

This is where a lot of people will probably stop reading because they can’t imagine life without Joe Ingles, but hear me out. There’s nothing I have against Ingles whatsoever, he was a great piece to have¬† last year in the first round bout with OKC, but grabbing Otto Porter Jr. may be something that Utah would be smart to jump on if Washington offers.

Since Porter Jr. is on salary for just north of $26 million, it would cost the Jazz both Ingles and Burks to make it work financially.

Burks’ inclusion in this deal is different than the aforementioned one, as he is more of a money piece instead of a major takeaway for the team on the receiving end. Otto Porter Jr. has five years under his belt in the NBA, and last season he averaged a fracture beneath 15 points per game to go with six rebounds and two assists.

Given that there was intrigue at the possibility of Porter Jr. going to Houston last month, imagine what he could do for Utah now that they’ve established themselves as a team to be on the lookout for.

For comparison, Ingles averaged 11.5 points, 4.8 assists and 4.2 rebounds. Very close, statistically speaking, but depending on how Washington plays the first half of the season, another big change on their end may become necessary. Not only would the Jazz be smart to consider this offer, should it arise, because of the potential for increased production (at least on paper), but also to test the team’s chemistry at a crucial juncture in the season.

Considering that LeBron James is no longer in the Eastern Conference, there is no doubt that the Wizards will be looking to pull out all the strings they possibly can to get to the top part of the standings. Not only would that help their playoff positioning in the early rounds, but as far as we’re concerned right now, the East is a total toss up.

To add to that, the Jazz will be looking to keep pat with the juggernauts in their conference in any way possible. If they were to make this move for Otto Porter Jr., their biggest concern would be just making sure that it doesn’t throw their overall chemistry into a loop.

#3: Ship Rudy Gobert to Minnesota for Taj Gibson and Karl-Anthony Towns

Photo Courtesy of Clutch Mag

Don’t worry, I’m not done breaking your back; keep reading if you want to learn how this is not only possible, but something that could be more and more likely to happen earlier in the season. Yes, Rudy Gobert is an absolute tank and a great defensive asset to the Jazz, but given the chaos with division rival Minnesota, Karl-Anthony Towns could be on the trade table sooner than later.

Jimmy Butler has had chemistry issues of his own, but so have Towns and Wiggins. It’s unlikely that the Wolves would really get anything super valuable if they offered Wiggins, and they would be smart to do everything in their power to let Butler remain the alpha and, if push came to shove, give Towns the boot.

For Utah to do this, parting with Gobert could create more problems than good, but what ultimately decides if a deal like this were to happen is if the Utah front office feels that taking a risk on Towns due to his talent and better numbers than Gobert is going to put them in a better place to contend come playoff time.

Towns is better than Gobert by eight points and two rebounds per game. The only area that Gobert is better at, if we’re looking strictly on paper, is a one block per game edge over Towns.

Easy move? Definitely not. Smart move? Absolutely.

Utah’s offense is already going to be more dependent on Mitchell than anyone else, as we saw last season, so the only valid reason for keeping Gobert (which isn’t completely illegitimate) pertains to not wanting to put a new face in a place that Gobert has flourished in. I get that argument, I really do, but the NBA is a business, and the Jazz are finally relevant again. That kind of spotlight does not come without having to make some hard business decisions.

But that’s the thing– we forget sometimes that this league is also very much a business.


About Keith Rivas

Keith is based In Salt Lake City and covers the Jazz for TLSM. Follow him on Twitter @mrkeithrivas for all things Utah Jazz.

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