Multiple trade rumors concerning the Utah Jazz have bounced around the blogosphere this week, but is there any validity to them?
Utah Jazz fans have been through this song and dance before, but rumors regarding big man Derrick Favors have resurfaced again this week. Per one report, he could be shopped by the team ahead of February’s trade deadline. Elsewhere on the blogosphere, the team is said to have interest in Cleveland Cavaliers star Kevin Love.
Right off the top, I’ll say to take each of these with a grain of salt. There hasn’t been any real chatter about either player with regards to Jazz trades. But, for the sake of discussion, let’s get into them anyway, beginning with the Favors situation.
This time, it was The Sporting News‘ Sean Deveney who floated the idea that the Jazz could look to move D-Faves. For a piece exploring the tradeability of big men from around the NBA, Deveney spoke to multiple league executives and, based on those exchanges, here’s what he has surmised re: Favors —
"Few expect that Favors will be in Utah when next season starts, and if the Jazz can find a deal that brings in another forward with some versatility, Favors could be gone come February."
He also talked about Favors’ lack of a 3-point shot and complicated fit next to Rudy Gobert.
Now, it doesn’t seem super likely that any deal with Favors is imminent, but I will say this much — Deveney’s assessments ring true.
If he’s anything, Favors is a center in today’s NBA, but he’s never taking Gobert’s spot. And the duo’s ability to share the floor is still a hit-and-miss proposition.
Over Utah’s first four contests this season, it was mostly the latter. Through Friday’s games, the Jazz were outscored by 13.1 points per 100 possessions when both were on the court together.
Defensively, the duo can still do some things; the Jazz boasted a team D-rating of 98 in those circumstances. The offense, however, was abysmal, with Utah mustering only 84.9 points/100 poss. The Jazz’s floor spacing is undeniably impacted in a negative way when they go with the twin towers.
Obviously, these numbers are a bit of small sample size theater and should improve with time, but they aren’t a complete toss-out, either.
I, for one, still think Favors is one of the most underrated players in the Association. He’s a great defender, an elite rim finisher and he and Gobert have had some great moments together. In the long-term, though, it’s an imperfect fit.
That’s why the Jazz opted for roster flexibility last offseason in inking Favors to a deal that only guarantees him the current campaign.
So, there’s probably some small measure of fire to go with this particular smoke. At the least, it’s something to monitor throughout the year. As relates to Utah’s purported Love interest, however, I’d be surprised if anything is in the works.
The Love story comes to us via Sam Amico, who opined that the Love trade watch was officially on after Cleveland dropped its first three games this season. Since that time, the Cavs’ record has dropped to 0-5, so if that was true then, it’s definitely still the case now.
When Amico name-checked the teams that could chase Love, he listed the LA Lakers, followed by the Jazz, Toronto Raptors, Portland Trail Blazers and Denver Nuggets.
I’ll say this about Love’s fit with Utah — offensively, he’s one of the better pairings next to Gobert I can think of across the league. Even as he battles a foot issue and plays for the East’s current worst squad, he’s putting up a 19-14-4 line for the Cavs. And as a career 37-percent shooter from distance, he’d definitely help the Jazz spread the floor.
Now for the downsides, of which there are many.
First and foremost, Love is owed no less than $113.2 million over the next four years and could make significantly more with incentives. Inking that deal last summer surely took a lot of wind out of the Love-to-Utah sails on the Jazz side of things.
Add in the fact that Love is struggling to shoot in the early season, is on the wrong side of 30, has a history of injuries and couldn’t defend a boulder and it seems unlikely that there’s a high probability in play with this rumor.
I won’t totally dismiss the notion, because a healthy and performing Love really would change Utah’s dynamic offensively. But for all the other reasons we’ve talked about here, I’d refrain from holding your breath on another Jazz-Cavs trade.
That’s my take on the current Jazz trade rumors — there’s definitely a method to the madness in each case, but nothing that makes me think deals are happening. But what do you think? Hit me up on the comments below!