The Utah Jazz have reached something of a crossroads following their surprisingly successful 2014-15 campaign. Has the emergence of Rudy Gobert and the development of stars Derrick Favors and Gordon Hayward expedited the team building process? Or is GM Dennis Lindsey still in asset accumulation mode?
A potential trade with the Boston Celtics could provide Lindsey and the Jazz with an opportunity to hit two birds with one stone.
According to a report by Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders, the Celtics are looking to unload forward Gerald Wallace and are willing to sweeten the deal:
“Gerald Wallace remains the lone veteran contract Boston would like to move and sources say the Celtics would be willing to part with one of the half dozen or so first-round draft picks they have amassed to move him this offseason. Wallace will be entering the final year of his contract and is owed $10.1 million.”
Throughout the season, fans and media alike have opined that the Jazz could use a veteran presence on the wings. As much as this causes visions of Danny Green or Khris Middleton to dance in one’s head, the 30-plus minutes per game they would receive would ultimately come at the expense of Alec Burks and/or Rodney Hood.
If you’re really trying to make waves in the postseason this coming season, maybe that is the correct move. However, Hood and Burks may have more to offer the team than being second unit sparks.
If you expect one or both of them to be key cogs in the Jazz machine going forward, it’s probably more prudent to bring in a back-up who can give the team a good 8-10 minutes as needed and be a mentor for his younger teammates. Enter Wallace.
The 32-year-old Wallace no longer resembles the All-Star he once was. He can, however, provide leadership, a defensive mentality and will occasionally turn back the clock and make an athletic play that surprises you.
The icing on the cake would be yet another first-round pick in the team’s coffers–something that is always good to have. A first-round pick affords the team the chance to either acquire a promising young player or sweeten a deal of their own to bring in another piece to the puzzle.
As much as some fans may scoff at the idea of mortgaging cap space for future draft picks given Utah’s recent upturn, it remains a prudent course of action for the team’s future.
Now, whether or not there is a deal here remains to be seen. It’s entirely possible that Lindsey and the Jazz decide to use their cash in free agency regardless of what it might mean for the young wings already on the roster.
Still, there are worse ways to use one’s cap space than acquiring a player-coach and a first-round pick. A trade with the Boston Celtics yields the potential to provide just that.