The Utah Jazz front office have a busy summer ahead. They have to put forth their best efforts to retain Gordon Hayward, Joe Ingles and George Hill. But if this can’t be done for financial reasons, it would be nice to have a reliable backup option in Darren Collison.
Keeping Utah’s current roster in place will be virtually impossible with George Hill, Joe Ingles and Gordon Hayward all due for new contracts at a greater cost. That’s not to say that the Jazz can’t keep a competitive roster, however.
Alec Burks will likely be moved and Boris Diaw could even get cut for the Jazz to make room to give Hayward and Ingles every dime they want. From there, the Jazz have to evaluate whether or not it’s worth keeping Hill for the lofty price he will most likely demand.
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The Jazz have three options; they can try and re-sign Hill for the money left in the luxury tax, they could part ways with Hill and go after another quality starting point guard at a lower price, or hand the starting point guard responsibilities over to Danté Exum and get a quality backup to solidify the position.
This article focuses on the third option. If Hill were to leave and the Jazz were adamant about moving Exum into a starting role, they will certainly need a more reliable backup than what’s currently on the roster in order to contend. Darren Collison could be the man for the job.
After spending the last three seasons on a rather uncompetitive team, Collison could be content moving to a playoff team as a free agent this offseason. He’s an all-around player at the offensive end, but his defense leaves a bit to be desired. Standing at six-feet tall and without really quick hands or feet, he could be seen as a liability at that end of the floor.
However, Rudy Gobert can make anyone look good at the defensive end because he makes up for so many lapses and mistakes.
Although Collison played 30.3 minutes per game in a starting role with the Sacramento Kings last season, he is still more suited for a bench role.
He is a quality player that’s proven that he can start and fit nicely, but you wouldn’t want to compromise the development of Danté Exum for the sake of starting Collison when he’s proven that he can be just as impactful off the bench.
He has improved his three-point shooting over the years and climbed to an impressive 41.7 percent last season. A big part of the Jazz offense is getting good three point shots from the corner, and Collison shot 57.1 percent on corner threes last season.
In his three years with the Kings, D.C. averaged 14.2 points, 4.7 assists and 2.5 rebounds per game. Those numbers provide a large upgrade over those of the other point guards the Jazz would have playing off the bench such as Raul Neto, Shelvin Mack and Marcus Paige.
With the Kings looking to leave no stone unturned in carrying out the rebuilding phase, Collison could very well be on the open market. The big thing for the Jazz is finding out his worth. The size of player contracts is now more unpredictable than ever with standard role players like Luol Deng, Evan Turner, Joakim Noah and Timofey Mozgov all signing huge deals last offseason.
So determining what Collison is worth will be tough. This is a situation where his worth to a team is whatever they are willing to pay for him and it has yet to be seen how much money the Jazz can possibly free up in order to get him. But one thing is for sure, the Jazz could use his contributions and he would definitely be worth pursuing if Hill walks this summer.
NOTE: This is not currently a free agency rumor.