The Utah Jazz have some tough decisions to make regarding the talent on their roster this offseason and if they are unable to re-sign George Hill, Eric Bledsoe could be the first player they look at.
There’s no question that the Jazz have a tough task ahead of them as they will attempt to re-sign three key players in Gordon Hayward, Joe Ingles and George Hill. Amazingly enough, George Hill’s signature has become the third priority of the Jazz’s front office because Joe Ingles obviously wants to stay long term (hopefully cheap) and Gordon Hayward is well…Gordon Hayward.
In an article I published earlier this week, I broke down the numbers of how the Jazz would fair as the offseason progresses in trying to keep most of their current roster on board. I came up with the following; if the Jazz trade Alec Burks (highly likely) and don’t pick up the team option on Boris Diaw (necessary to keep or bring in a quality point guard), they will be able to give George Hill an offer of up to $17 million next season if they are to keep their current roster (minus Burks and Diaw).
More from Jazz News
- With the FIBA World Cup over for Simone Fontecchio, it’s clear he deserves minutes for the Utah Jazz
- Best, Worst and Most likely scenarios for the Utah Jazz this season
- Hoops Hype downplays the significance of the Utah Jazz’s valuable assets
- 3 Utah Jazz players who have the most to gain or lose this season
- Former Utah Jazz forward Rudy Gay is a free agent still and it shouldn’t surprise anyone
It’s been well publicized, however, that Hill and his agent are after more money and a max deal wherever that may be. So if the plan to re-sign George Hill falls through, it would serve the Jazz well to have a backup plan, and his name is Eric Bledsoe.
At 27-years-old, Bledsoe is coming into the best years of his career. He’s shown the past few seasons that when he’s healthy, he’s right in the All-Star conversation. Not only is he nearly four years younger than Hill, he is likely on the Phoenix Suns’ trade block as they look to rebuild under promising young point guard Tyler Ulis.
I mentioned earlier that the Jazz could afford to pay Hill up to $17 million next season by using the luxury tax, and Eric Bledsoe has two years left on his current deal, getting $14.5 million next season and $15 million the year after.
Given that the Suns will likely want to move Bledsoe, it might not cost much more than Utah’s two first round picks to get him there. A scenario that I really love is this; If Hill elects to sign elsewhere, but Ingles and Hayward re-sign for slightly less than expected, the Jazz could use Derrick Favors in the trade for Bledsoe and use the money they free up to sign former Jazzman Paul Millsap.
Thats right, Jazz fans. If Ingles signs for around seven or eight million dollars instead of $15 million, Utah could potentially have a starting lineup next season of Eric Bledsoe, Rodney Hood, Gordon Hayward, Paul Millsap and Rudy Gobert.
The Jazz organization surely can’t be stuck on how the Jazz can make the Conference Finals or much less hope to finish top four in the west. Their main focus has to be on a championship, as is every other team’s. The Jazz just happen to be much closer than at least 25 other teams.
It has to be taken into account how the Jazz can match up with the Warriors, should they face each other in the playoffs again next year. And having the athletic, big-bodied Bledsoe to guard Stephen Curry is a big step in the right direction.
The reason Hill was such a good fit with the Jazz early in the season was because his style of play correlated well with how the Jazz play at both ends. Bled’s game should do the same. He doesn’t shoot the ball from the perimeter quite as well as Hill but he makes up for it with his elite and unique ability to finish at the rim with contact. We could be looking at pound-for-pound, one of the strongest, if not the strongest, player in the league.
Last season with the struggling Suns, Bledsoe averaged 21.1 points, 6.8 assists, and he was one of the best rebounding guards in the league, grabbing 4.8 boards per game. He only shot 33.5 percent from three-point land but he showed the ability to knock down the open ones and the quality of the looks he gets in Utah will be much better than in Phoenix.
There is a very real possibility that George Hill could leave the Jazz this offseason, and Eric Bledsoe’s days in Phoenix are likely numbered as they are looking well into the future. So if Hill leaves, Bledsoe should be the number one point guard target for the Jazz this offseason.
NOTE: This is not currently a trade rumor.