Utah Jazz: Will recent hot streak affect trade decisions?

Derrick Favors, Utah Jazz. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images)
Derrick Favors, Utah Jazz. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images) /

After going through a major slump and appearing primed to be participants at the trade deadline in a big way, a recent hot streak could slightly change the Utah Jazz’s tune.

Just over a week ago, the Utah Jazz fell in alarming fashion to the hapless Atlanta Hawks and it seemed as if the team had hit rock bottom. The losses had piled up and the playoff dream was quickly fading. As a result of that, it appeared quite clear that the Jazz were in need of a shakeup and a number of guys on the roster were mentioned as being on the trade block.

However, fast forward to last night’s win over the Golden State Warriors and suddenly the outlook appears quite different. The Jazz have won three straight, including a tough road game over the Toronto Raptors and Tuesday night’s shocker over the defending champs. They’ve had undeniable chemistry on both ends of the floor, their shots have been dropping and their defense appears to be returning to its former elite levels.

Finally, the Jazz are beginning to look more like many optimistic fans hoped they would when the season started. And while mere days ago it seemed apparent that the Jazz needed to make some changes, now one can’t help but wonder, would it be better to let this group further prove what it can do?


Ricky Rubio, who’s been mentioned as a potential trade piece, had probably his best game in a Jazz uniform versus Golden State and finally showed some merit as to how he could fit in as the starting point guard for the Jazz. Derrick Favors, who most Jazz fans have long assumed is all but gone already, played well yet again in spite of concerns of he and Gobert co-existing.

And while the general opinion has been that Favors is set to leave the Jazz in unrestricted free agency, so they ought to trade him regardless of their thoughts on him as a player, he seemingly refuted that on Twitter just days ago. If he’s willing to stay, is it worth seeing if this Favors-Gobert thing can work after all?

A couple of other guys mentioned as belonging on the trade block include Rodney Hood and Joe Johnson, and quite frankly, they both certainly belong there still. The Jazz’s hot streak has come while Hood has been sidelined with injury and in spite of Utah’s recent play, Joe Johnson hasn’t played all that vital of a role overall.

Thus, while seeking to move that pair would absolutely make sense and of course Dennis Lindsey and the rest of the Jazz front office are going to do all they can to improve, after seeing how well the team has played of late, tampering with chemistry too much could be seen as a detriment.

So in taking all that into consideration, could a Jazz team that formerly looked anxious to make deals leading up to the deadline instead find themselves pumping the brakes somewhat and waiting to see what they can make of their current roster? After all, this season was supposed to be one of evaluation from the get-go. That’s been hampered by injuries and a chemistry that’s struggled to develop, but with those two things improving, will Jazz brass want to see more of what they have?

The good news is that there’s still just over a week until the deadline, so the Jazz still have time to observe what they have while also testing the trade market. And I imagine that this little hot streak aside, if an opportunity to improve the team over the long haul arises, the Jazz will strike, even if it involves someone who suddenly is playing well. Utah will head out on a four-game road trip prior to the trade deadline, where they’ll have a great opportunity to prove whether they’ve righted the ship and fixed their road woes or not.

While the Jazz should still very well be active at the trade deadline, it wouldn’t surprise me if this latest spurt leads them to be slightly more conservative than they might have otherwise been. Players such as Hood or Johnson who haven’t been all that instrumental in the latest push will likely be the main ones they aim to deal.

Favors, who has long been viewed as Utah’s most likely trade candidate, may ultimately be moved as well, but between the Jazz’s success of late and his proclaimed intention to perhaps re-sign with the team, I could see the front office rolling the dice and seeing how his final months of the season pan out before trading him away at the discounted rate that his expiring contract would certainly command.

With the LA Clippers aiming to bottom out and rebuild, the New Orleans Pelicans dealing with the DeMarcus Cousins injury and the Denver Nuggets struggling of late, there’s a window of opportunity for the Jazz to surge back into a playoff spot. Not only that, but there was nearly a deal done yesterday (and it could still come about) that would send one of Utah’s presumed top targets, Nikola Mirotic, to the Pelicans, which might make the Jazz further hesitate to deal.

If he’s off the board and with Utah’s recent stunning play, they may switch gears somewhat from being all-out open for business to playing it a little safer at the trade deadline, making sure that any asset they send off isn’t done without a worthy return while preserving what’s suddenly become a reassuring unit for a potential playoff push.

Next: Utah Jazz trade notes: Pistons want Hood, Mirotic nearly traded

The trade deadline is so close, I can almost taste it. And you can bet that the rumors and speculation are still going to swirl rampantly. Not only that, but I would be very surprised if the Jazz weren’t trade participants in some way, shape or form. However, their recent inspired play mixed with aiming to sneak into the playoffs may very well deter them from being quite as active as we formerly presumed.

Just eight more days until we finally know the truth…