Should the Utah Jazz jump into the Paul George sweepstakes?

Mar 20, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers forward Paul George (13) is guarded by Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward (20) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Indiana defeated Utah 107-100. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 20, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers forward Paul George (13) is guarded by Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward (20) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Indiana defeated Utah 107-100. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports /

The Utah Jazz often struggle to obtain free agents. Utah also remains at least one serious piece away from contending with the Warriors, Spurs and Rockets. Is now the time to swing for the fences before Gordon Hayward finds somewhere else to play?

**WARNING: Speculation ahead!

Without question, the future of the Utah Jazz is in doubt. They have spent the better part of the last decade managing assets and draft picks to put them into a position of playoff contention. However, the timing of it all coming to a head is, shall we say, untimely.

We’ve taken all the meat off of the “Is Gordon Hayward coming or going” bone. Today, with the rest of the internet, I throw my own hat into the “What will it take to get Paul George?” ring.

Players like PG-13 simply do not become available. He is a Top 5 player in the league when motivated and healthy. It wasn’t so long ago he was going toe to toe with LeBron James in the Eastern Conference finals AS THE No. 1 SEED!

Teams like the Jazz simply do not acquire Top 5 players in their prime. It has been a challenge every GM has had to deal with while in SLC. But this is the time to take the swing.

Utah has a great front office, and has always seemed to take the right, albeit conservative, approach to team building. No one will ever fault their leadership as they are consistently voted as one of the elite organizations in the league. If there was ever a time to take a swing it is now.

Hayward has made the leap just in time to be a free agent. He needs to know that staying in Utah means contending for titles, not just playoffs.  In looking at building blocks, the team is in a great place. Excellent perimeter defense runs shooters off the three-point line into the teeth of Rudy Gobert. They force you to play at a slower pace than you are used to, and seem to always be making the right read.

That is the stuff that is contagious. Go back and listen to every player’s exit interview and how they all hoped they could come back. Once you can get an outsider into that kind of environment anything can happen.

But that is all down the road and GM Dennis Lindsey would never assume George would stay long-term. This hypothetical is the actual one-year rental before he presumably signs with the Los Angeles Lakers.

So what would it be worth for one year of two of the best  two-way players in the game running a perimeter?

What we know is Indy wants to move fast.

We also know that Indy is looking for a starter and two first-round draft picks.

What’s that sound? THAT’S RODNEY HOOD’S MUSIC!

The Pacers want young players to build around. Hood has established himself as a do-it-all shooting guard with guts. He is obviously a building block the Jazz have to be protective of. However, you don’t trade bad players for great ones. You have to offer up something good.

Utah doesn’t have lottery picks to offer. But Hood is a lottery talent. They also have two first-round picks this year and very little bench space to sit them in. A package of Hood and both first round picks (including the Golden State pick) might be as good as anything the Pacers can get for their LA bound star.

Why would the Pacers take this deal? Among the other teams being thrown around in the PG-13 discussion, not many are willing to offer lottery picks for a one-year rental. By announcing his intentions to go to the Lakers following the conclusion of his contract, Paul’s trade value may have taken a hit.

The most commonly thrown out idea is a Kevin Love for Paul George swap. If I’m Indiana, that doesn’t help with a rebuild as Love is good enough to win more games than they should, and he isn’t likely to stay after his contract ends in two years. If the goal is to rebuild with talent, they should want young players who might lose a few games along the way.

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The Lakers understandably aren’t interested in blowing their trade assets on a guy who they may be able to get for free. The Clippers are trying to do a sign and trade for… something? No one is moving franchise talent for a rental. The best Indy may do is a starter with picks. They would also retain Hood’s rights as he goes into restricted free agency. You could do much worse.

Just imagine how much better the Jazz would have performed in the playoffs substituting Hood’s minutes for Paul George. If only for one year, Utah becomes elite and that is what you should be playing to be. Try and convince me that Hayward is leaving a team with three All-NBA players.

It would really be helpful if Paul George had said anything about wanting to play with Hayward as well right? RIGHT?

Paul George fits in the Utah system flawlessly. Lots of movement on offense. Switch everything on defense. And we’ve arlready seen his excellent chemistry with George Hill.

A future lineup of George Hill, Hayward, PG-13, Derrick Favors, and Gobert is enticing. They would be in the conversation for best defense in the league. It is a shot worth taking while the taking is good. Utah needs to get over the hump and make opportunity’s if they can.