Should the Utah Jazz pursue the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Brooklyn pick?

CLEVELAND, OH - MARCH 16: Kyrie Irving (Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - MARCH 16: Kyrie Irving (Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Cavaliers are reportedly fielding calls for their recently acquired Brooklyn pick. Should the Utah Jazz be one of the teams to pursue a deal for it?

Just when it was starting to look as if the NBA offseason would simply come to a slow and boring close, the league was sent reeling after a blockbuster trade between the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers was announced. The unexpected trade sent Kyrie Irving to Boston in exchange for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the long-coveted Brooklyn Nets first-round pick.

The trade was actually momentarily stalled after Thomas underwent a troubling physical which revealed a greater hip injury than Cleveland had originally presumed, but after receiving one additional future second round pick, the deal officially went through. Although that pick wasn’t much of an extra bonus, the Cavaliers made it clear that, more than anything, netting that first-round pick was too important to back out on the deal.

Now that the pick is officially theirs, however, reports have surfaced that the Cavs may not plan to hold on to it. According to Joe Vardon of, the Cavs have already “fielded numerous calls already about a potential trade” involving said pick. With that being the case, one can’t help but wonder if the Utah Jazz are among the teams inquiring about a potential trade for the supposed lottery pick.

And whether they are or not, the bigger question is, should they be?

The biggest pro to putting together an enticing package to steal away the pick from the Cavs would undoubtedly be its possibility of turning into a star player in the not so distant future. Brooklyn’s pick this last season ended up being the number one overall and after being traded from Boston to Philadelphia, went on to turn into Markelle Fultz, who most NBA experts have pinned as a near definite star.

The 2018 NBA Draft class is supposed to have some strong players with superstar potential as well, so if the Jazz were able to net one of them that could help elevate the organization to the next level for years to come, it would almost certainly be worth it to go for that pick.

Therein lies two problems, however. First of all, there’s no guarantee that the pick pans out and the Jazz would likely have to give up a pretty hefty haul in order to get the Cavaliers to bite. It would be a shame to see the Jazz trade away any combination of, say, Derrick Favors, Rodney Hood or Dante Exum for a high lottery pick that didn’t end up being worth it.

Furthermore, even if the Jazz wanted the pick, there’s no guarantee that they would have the right pieces to entice Cleveland into making a deal. Just as the Jazz are likely taking a cautious approach with some of their younger players that still have need to prove themselves, other teams around the league likely won’t be chomping at the bit to make a major deal for those guys.

I’ve said multiple times that 2017-18 is going to be an evaluation year for the Jazz and a proving ground for those three guys that I mentioned earlier, among others, who will have to step up in a big way from last season if they’re going to figure in to Utah’s long-term plans. Quite frankly, until the Jazz know for sure what Favors, Hood and Exum can truly turn into, I wouldn’t want them to trade them away for a pick that’s far from a sure thing.

Yes, the Jazz are in somewhat of a retooling year after losing out on Gordon Hayward and could be in for some serious changes in the not so distant future. With that being the case, acquiring a top lottery pick could help jump start them into putting together an exciting and effective roster down the road.

However, if they trade way some of their young talent too prematurely, it could also come back to bite them. Who’s to say that guys like Favors, Hood or Exum, who seem to be the most valuable and realistic trade pieces the Jazz have, won’t have a stellar 2017-18 season and become crucial parts of Utah’s roster? Certainly any of them have a chance to prove that they are more of a sure thing than an unknown draft pick.

Therefore, while there certainly is quite a large appeal to pursuing such a valuable pick, I don’t think it’s wise for the Jazz to gut their roster in order to do it. Even if Utah was able to put together a package that was valuable enough to entice the Cavs (which, quite frankly, I don’t think they could realistically), I think they’d be risking too much going for the pick.

They have plenty of talented players that deserve a chance to prove themselves this season, and trading them away to instead focus on the future would be more of a signal that the team is once again looking to rebuild rather than retool and improve off of what they have. That certainly doesn’t appear to be the direction that the organization wants to go at the moment.

Not to mention, although the Brooklyn Nets have long been one of the laughing stocks of the NBA, they made some significant improvements this offseason and could very well finish higher than they have in recent years, therefore rendering the pick not quite as valuable as some might suppose.

In short, whether or not the Utah Jazz have or are planning to inquire about the Cleveland Cavaliers’ recently acquired pick, I don’t believe that pushing to trade for it is a wise idea. The Jazz need to discover who their current players truly are first, then from there, perhaps either at this year’s trade deadline or during the upcoming offseason, they can look to make some deals.

If the Cleveland pick were still available at that point, perhaps then the Jazz would consider pursuing it. However, for the time being, they would be best served seeing what their young talent can do, continuing to build around Rudy Gobert and looking towards the phenomenal financial flexibility that they’ll have to add free agents or trade for big names in the offseasons of 2018 and 2019.

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The Jazz have gotten to where they are today by being methodical, strategic and by not trying to take shortcuts or skip steps. Making a hasty and ill-advised trade for an uncertain pick that may or may not benefit the team in the long run would be a deviation from that course. Although the Jazz took a step backwards in their progress after losing Gordon Hayward, all is far from lost and their young core still has the potential for a bright future ahead.

Now is the time to see what they’re truly made of, not to break them up in exchange for a player that could maybe develop into something in a few years. As long as the Jazz have Rudy Gobert under contract, they need to focus on being as competitive as they possibly can at the present, not at some vague time down the road.