A report has linked the Utah Jazz to Washington Wizards big man and soon-to-be restricted free agent Bobby Portis. Also: an addendum to the Mike Conley rumors.
For several weeks now, much of the chatter about the Utah Jazz’s plan for the upcoming free agent frenzy has centered the likes of Tobias Harris, Kemba Walker and D’Angelo Russell. Obviously, those are star players and names bound to dominate the headlines, but one has to wonder how realistic they are as targets.
The reality of the situation may be that the Jazz will have to look to Plan B and C scenarios, be it at the point guard position or in the frontcourt. To that end, a report on Tuesday may have revealed one of those next-tier options — Washington Wizards big man Bobby Portis.
According to NBC Sports Washington’s Chase Hughes, 5-10 teams have expressed interest in the soon-to-be restricted free agent and the Jazz are one of those teams.
Whether there’s fire to go with the smoke here remains to be seen. However, there are definitely some aspects to Portis that make him an intriguing option in the event that Harris signs elsewhere and/or the team doesn’t retain Derrick Favors.
Splitting last season between the Wiz and the Chicago Bulls, the 24-year-old averaged a career-best 14.2 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. He also flirted with 40 percent shooting from distance while taking a higher portion of his shots from behind the arc (over 30 percent) than ever before.
Portis also has good size at 6-11 and 250 pounds with a 7-2 wingspan. He’s never been an elite athlete, but those dimensions combined with his ability to run the floor offensively, growing range and burgeoning face-up game could allow for some new wrinkles in the Jazz offense.
On the flip side, there are big question marks defensively and you have to wonder whether his scoring numbers are real or the byproduct of somebody (anybody!) having to score the points for a pair of bad teams. Truth is, there’s a chance he’ll never be a starter for a team that’s actually good.
You also have to wonder about a guy who willfully breaks bones in his own teammates’ faces.
He’ll likely never be a top-shelf playmaking four akin to Harris, but he may be someone worth exploring on the open market.
More on potential Jazz-Grizz trade talks and Mike Conley
Earlier this week, Shams Charania of The Athletic called the Jazz a ‘frontrunner’ in the Conley sweepstakes. Stein offered a similar appraisal of the situation, but added that the package the Jazz are offering is headlined by the No. 23 pick, as well as a future first-round pick, with no mention whatsoever of Favors.
This seems to fall in line with a Tony Jones tweet indicating that Favors wasn’t currently being offered up in discussions.
I’ll say this — if the Jazz could somehow procure Conley without including Favors in the deal, that could potentially be an epic win. I, for one, wonder how realistic that scenario is, though.
In either case, given how the odds are stacked against the Jazz with regards to signing a marquee free agent, a trade to bring Conley is as Ricky Rubio‘s replacement may just be the team’s best bet for making a major talent upgrade at the point guard position.