Utah Jazz: Best trade in franchise history with the Minnesota Timberwolves

Al Jefferson of the Utah Jazz i(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Al Jefferson of the Utah Jazz i(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

With the NBA regular season just over a month away, we’ve been taking time at the J-Notes to reflect on some of the best trades in Utah Jazz history. So far, we’ve stuck with deals the Jazz have brokered with their Northwest Division rivals, and that trend continues with the best trade they’ve ever made with the Minnesota Timberwolves. 

Unlike the other deals we’ve covered so far, this one did not net the Jazz a longstanding franchise pillar. In fact, the man affectionately known as Big Al Jefferson only played three relatively uneventful seasons for the Utah Jazz, from 2010-11 to 2012-13. Nonetheless, the cost of acquiring Jefferson did end up being a fairly meager one for the Jazzmen.

For younger readers who may not recall Koufos, he enjoyed a solid 11-year NBA career is a reliable backup big man. His best season came in 2012-13, when he averaged 8.0 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.3 blocks over 22.9 minutes of action per contest. Nonetheless, he was not a significant needle-mover: the Timberwolves actually ended up trading him midway through 2010-11, his first season with the squad.

The Wolves would go onto use those two future first round picks on Donotas Motiejunas and Terrence Jones. Both men flashed potential at the NBA level, but ultimately, neither enjoyed longstanding tenures in the world’s best basketball league.

The Utah Jazz effectively traded those three players for three years of Al Jefferson, widely regarded as one of the best players to never garner an All-Star selection. His best season in Salt Lake City came in 2011-12, when he averaged 19.2 points, 9.6 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game.

Jefferson’s low-post wizardry never resulted in a huge win total for the Jazzmen. Their best record by winning percentage with Jefferson in the middle came in the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season. That year, the team finished 36-30, earning a hasty first round playoff exit.

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That’s not exactly the stuff that legends are made of, but with all due respect to Motiejunas, Jones and Koufos, the package the Utah Jazz relinquished was a more-than-fair price for three years of Big Al Jefferson’s services.