After some rumors of the Jazz's trade deadline activity circulating for weeks, we finally have some news. Earlier this morning, Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news that Utah has traded their Italian sharpshooter, Simone Fontecchio, to the Detroit Pistons.
More details about the trade came later, with Kevin Knox and the rights to Gabriele Procida included in the package alongside Detroit's 2024 second-round pick.
Momentum has been building recently that several teams had significant interest in trading for Utah's second-year small forward. At 28 years old, Fontecchio is averaging 8.9 points and 3.5 rebounds per game in his second NBA season. After an up-and-down first season with Utah, Fontecchio began to show some consistency with his jump shot. That, plus his defensive improvement has made Fontecchio a valuable piece for this year's Jazz team.
I was sad to hear the Jazz were letting Fontecchio go. He was becoming a fan-favorite in Salt Lake City--and I finally learned how to spell his name--so trading the Italian sweet-shooter would hopefully bring back a decent return. Here's Utah's haul from Detroit:
1. Detroit's 2024 2nd-round pick
This is likely the most valuable asset in Utah's return. With Detroit's second-round pick, the Jazz add to their already plentiful stockpile of draft picks. Unless Fontecchio becomes Detroit's savior, this pick will likely be the 31st pick of the draft as the Pistons possess the worst record in the NBA.
2. Kevin Knox
When he was drafted 9th overall to the Knicks, New York fans mercilessly voiced their disapproval by raining boos down on the newest addition to their team. Since he was drafted, Knox has been bounced around the league, seemingly unable to find a team that plans to keep him in their long-term plans. Including Utah, he has played for 6 teams in 5 years of NBA experience. Knox will likely come off the bench to play limited minutes at forward. We seem to know what Knox brings as a player, but he could be a solid addition if properly utilized.
3. Gabriele Procida
The Jazz are swapping Italian forwards with Detroit. Procida has yet to play in an NBA game, despite being selected with the 36th pick in the 2022 draft. Procida has played in the Italian LBA, EuroLeague, and with the Italian National Team in a limited capacity. He is currently scoring a career-high 8.7 points per game with ALBA Berlin. Utah will hold his rights if he ever comes to the NBA.
In all, this return is slightly underwhelming. I'm sad to see Fontecchio go, but this trade is indicative that he wasn't an integral piece of the Jazz's long-term plans. Knox could add some value off the bench, but Danny Ainge was likely most excited about picking up the Piston's high second-round pick in a draft where Utah was previously without a pick. This year's draft class is viewed as weak at the top, with no clear superstars cementing themselves as a can't-miss pick, but a few quality players may still be available in the early second round.