The Utah Jazz seem okay standing pat this season.
The Utah Jazz could really be waiting for 2024’soffseason before making some moves, a very interesting and dare we say controversial stance. The team has the perfect combination of expiring contracts, young talent, and draft capital this year to make swings for not one, but two possible All-Star caliber guards.
Sure, if they wait until next season when guys like Joel Embiid or Luka Doncic are more likely to want out of their current situations (assuming things don’t improve for either), they could go from All-Star potential guys to All-NBA potential guys, but we have to be pragmatic here. Waiting for big swings like that is why teams like the New York Knicks and Doncic’s own Dallas Mavericks have been unable to sustain winning.
The Mavericks really thought they’d get DeAndre Jordan, only for him to be abducted by his LA Clippers teammates. Then you have the Knicks, who despite knowing Carmelo Anthony wanted to come to New York in the offseason, traded for him anyway, gutting the team in the process. Had they just been patient, they could’ve landed Anthony and kept their good young players.
That’s what “star-watching” gets you, when you wait to see if the best of the best of the best may be available, you miss opportunities. Would Lauri Markkanen and Doncic doing a killer pick-and-roll be awesome? Sure, but the odds aren’t in your favor because; one, there’s no promise the Mavericks will be bad this year and two, there will be more than the Jazz going for him.
The best idea right now is to think pragmatically, sure, you can try and land Doncic next year, or you can look around the league and help facilitate some trades and improve the team across the board and not just at one major position.
Aside from Nikola Jokic, there isn’t one player right now who can lead his team to the NBA Finals without a second All-Star. Sure, Jamal Murray’s been good, but there are better guards in terms of talent out there than him. But there aren’t many guards who are a better fit for the Nuggets than Murray.
So the idea of trading away everything to get a guy like Doncic would be foolish. You need to keep depth around the stars of the team, which is why it makes sense to go after guys like Tyler Herro DeJounte Murray, or even Zach LaVine. You’ll give up less to get them as opposed to a Doncic or Embiid, and you won’t have to gut your team in doing so.
Not only that, but you’ll possibly still have some cap space left for next season as well. Especially if you trade Jordan Clarkson or Collin Sexton in the subsequent deals. If you wait until next year, sure, you can just make a trade outright for a guy like Doncic, the Jazz should have enough cap space to take him back, but then you won’t have much else to spend on. And if you sign guys before trading for Doncic, then you have to match contracts.
Both scenarios have risks and both scenarios have rewards. Doncic is a top-three player in the league and Embiid is the reigning MVP (though it’s disputed if he really should be), but there’s no guarantee you’re more likely to win an NBA title with him as your centerpiece, as opposed to a quartet of Murray, Herro, John Collins, and Markkanen.