Otto Porter's retirement puts more pressure on the Utah Jazz to hit with that first-round pick

The Utah Jazz traded a few quality players for a first-round pick and a hopefully healthy Otto Porter, but that didn't turn out to be the case.
Los Angeles Lakers v Utah Jazz
Los Angeles Lakers v Utah Jazz / Alex Goodlett/GettyImages

The Utah Jazz made the bold choice to send Kelly Olynyk and Simone Fontecchio over to the Toronto Raptors for Otto Porter Jr. Kira Lewis, and a very late first-round draft pick. The pick will likely be the 29th pick in the first round, so not a super valuable pick on its own. While some had hope that Lewis would turn into something, Porter was really the prized player in return; if there was such a thing in the trade.

At first glance, neither of the players the Jazz got back were as good as Fontecchio, let alone Olynyk, but the idea was that Porter would get healthy and at least be able to play some for the Jazz before heading off into free agency to test his value. The defensive-minded wing would've helped immensely in Utah, as the team's defense has completely fallen apart since the trade deadline.

Sadly, Porter has been injured quite a bit over the last few seasons and it's taken its toll on him. He decided to retire on March 11, 2024 and was waived from the team just prior. Porter cites an inability to play at the level he used to as his driving reason why, at just 30, he's hanging up his sneakers.

The former 3rd overall pick won an NBA Championship in 2022 as a member of the Golden State Warriors, so it seemed to make sense that he'd prioritize his health over a few more seasons in the NBA. After all, he had already won a championship, the goal for most players.

He's earned a nice retirement, he played well for every team he was able to get on the court for, but sadly for the Jazz, his retirement now just puts even more unnecessary pressure on that first-round pick. The Jazz overpaid for that pick as it seems, with Olynyk and Fontecchio expected to stick around the NBA for at least a few more seasons.

This means that the first-round pick has to turn into a stable player for the Jazz going forward, otherwise, it would be a waste of a trade. If Porter were healthy, played well for the Jazz to close out the season, and got retained by Utah, then the pressure for the pick to transform into something special wouldn't be nearly as high.

Yet, now it is. The Raptors clearly wanted Olynyk, they gave him a new contract for a reason. The Jazz need to hope they can develop this late-round pick into a player worth having, otherwise, what was the point of the tank in the first place?