Which Utah Jazz player is most likely to be traded in 2018-19?

Dennis Lindsey, Utah Jazz. Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images)
Dennis Lindsey, Utah Jazz. Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Utah Jazz may very well stand pat at the 2018-19 trade deadline, much like they did in this summer’s free agency. But if anyone gets dealt, Alec Burks seems a likely candidate.

The Utah Jazz didn’t exactly have the flashiest of offseasons. But they remained prudent by keeping their successful 2017-18 team intact. Even though the Jazz didn’t end up adding any new faces in this year’s free agency, Dennis Lindsey and Co. have been no strangers to striking while the iron’s hot and adding fresh blood in the past.

This year’s past trade deadline was a prime example of that as Utah shipped off Rodney Hood and Joe Johnson to add Jae Crowder from the Cleveland Cavaliers. Previously, they added free agents Thabo Sefolosha, Jonas Jerebko and Ekpe Udoh, and before that, they traded to add point guard George Hill.

So even though Utah opted for continuity heading into the 2018-19 season, that doesn’t mean that they won’t act once the trade deadline rolls around this upcoming February. And should they aim to make a bit of a change midseason, there’s potentially a few guys they could look to ship out.

With a number of friendly expiring contracts, or agreements with team options on the back end, the sky’s the limit on who Utah could aim to move. Raul Neto, Derrick Favors, Thabo Sefolosha and Ekpe Udoh all fall in those aforementioned categories and, especially depending on how the season shakes out, each of them could be in trade conversations.

Honestly, I have a hard time seeing any of those guys being moved, especially the recently re-signed Favors and Neto who were just given new deals this summer. Favors has often been purportedly made available at trade deadlines, but after proving his worth time and time again and earning the nice contract he did this offseason, I’d say it’s pretty clear the Jazz are set on keeping a tight hold on him (as they should), at least for the entirety of this season.

But if there’s anyone that I could see the Jazz potentially dealing at or before the deadline this season, it’s Alec Burks. Burks is another guy that has purportedly been dangled in trade talks before, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see Utah pull the trigger this time around.

It’s no secret that the Jazz have been willing to move on from Burks in the past, but due to his limited impact and relatively hefty contract, they’ve been unable to do so. However, he did presumably elevate his trade value this past postseason where at times he was Utah’s best player off the bench in the series against Houston.

Burks has always been a hyper-athlete, but during that series, he was able to put some of his typical weaknesses behind him in order to thrive. His decision making and control were better, and while efficiency has never really been his strong suit, he proved he could create his own shot and provided some nice offense for the Jazz’s second unit.

Not only that, but considering that he’s on an expiring contract, a team could potentially take him on without much risk, especially if it was a team aiming to hit the reset button and was thus willing to absorb contracts.

Between some promising recent play that could make Burks appealing to some teams, his expiring contract and the fact that he just hasn’t quite fit on this Jazz team, it’s entirely logical that they could aim to move on from him this season. That’s especially feasible when considering that it’s highly unlikely they’ll re-sign him at the conclusion of the year, so if he can land any sort of valuable return, the Jazz will likely go for it rather than parting with him for nothing.

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It would make me somewhat sad to see Utah part ways with Burks as he’s been a consummate pro during his time with the Jazz and has had some brilliant moments where he’s stepped up and made fantastic plays. However, I would also completely understand if the Jazz were to go that way considering all angles of the situation.

Then again, the Jazz aren’t typically a team to act rashly or hastily, so it’s entirely possible that they’ll once again follow a similar path at this year’s trade deadline. Whether or not Burks is a part of Utah’s long-term plans (most likely not), they may very well find it most prudent to keep him and the rest of this Utah Jazz squad together for the entirety of the year.