Utah Jazz: Best trade in franchise history with the Los Angeles Lakers

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

Lately, we’ve been taking advantage of the lull in the NBA’s news cycle to revisit past trades that benefitted the Utah Jazz. In this article, we’re taking a trip to the Pacific Division to look at the best trade the Utah Jazz ever made with the historic Lakers.

If not for a certain mail-delivering power forward, Adrian Dantley would be the best scorer in Utah Jazz history by a wide margin. He was a star from the moment he arrived in Salt Lake City, averaging 28.0 points per game during the franchise’s inaugural season in Utah in 1979-80. From that point, Dantley’s scoring would only reach more ridiculous heights, as he would average at least 30 points per game from 1980-81 to 1983-84.

If advanced metrics are more your speed, Dantley still meets the criteria of an elite NBA player. In 1980-81, he finished the season with a Player Efficiency Rating (PER) of 24.3, with a Value Over Replacement Player (VORP) of 5.4. For context, that latter figure would have landed Dantley fourth in the NBA this season. He’d have landed well-behind MVP Nikola Jokic (8.6), but he lapped the entire field: Dantley’s mark is right-in-line with superstars Giannis Antetokounmpo (5.5) and Steph Curry (5.5).

Spencer Haywood was a former superstar in his own right, averaging an almost unbelievable 30 points and 19.5 rebounds in his 1969-70 rookie campaign. By the time he arrived in LA, however, he was nearly done: he averaged 9.6 points and 4.7 rebounds per game over the single season he spent with the Lakers.

All told, this trade generated 76.3 Win Shares (WS) for the Utah Jazz, and 3.1 for the Los Angeles Lakers.

dark. Next. Best trade in Jazz history with the Philadelphia 76ers

Adrian Dantley is one of the finest midrange shooters in NBA history and an undisputed Utah Jazz icon. At the cost of a rapidly aging Spencer Haywood, that’s a pretty good return.