The Utah Jazz apparently decided on the soft-tear down last minute

The Utah Jazz were close to landing major help for the club this season.

Phoenix Suns v Utah Jazz
Phoenix Suns v Utah Jazz / Alex Goodlett/GettyImages

The Utah Jazz's decision to trade away Kelly Olynyk, Simone Fontecchio, and Ochai Agbaji in part to give guys like Taylor Hendricks and Brice Sensabaugh minutes has killed the team's ability to compete. The trio of players was important to the team's success, especially on defense, and the guys replacing them are just not up to par with effective NBA minutes right now. The team is struggling to find itself and the squad is in the middle of one of its worst five-game stretches this season.

The only upside is that the Jazz may be able to retain their first-round pick if it falls in the Top 10 or higher in the NBA Draft. While these trades can be described as part of a soft-tank, they had a monumental impact on the roster. So much so that they're barely able to compete anymore, recently losing to the hapless Charlotte Hornets

It didn't have to be this way and apparently, it nearly wasn't. In what could easily be a face-saving move, done to try and lift the spirits of the players and fandom after a disasterously received traded deadline, a new report claims that Danny Ainge and the Utah Jazz almost improved the team.

Key word, almost. Utah Jazz beat writer Tony Jones for The Athletic recently revealed that the Jazz had a deal in place to seriously upgrade the team at the deadline. Speaking on the Jackpotting Around: A Utah Jazz Podcast (via Sports Illustrated), Jones would reveal that a deal that would've helped the club fell apart, saying;

“The Jazz were in on a guy that, I absolutely 100% cannot say the name, if they had made that trade they would have been a buyer. It was not Dejounte Murray. The Jazz never got past an exploratory conversation for Murray. There was a guy; it would have been a buy, and he was pretty off the grid. He’s a really good player. The Jazz were about 60 to 65 percent down the road to that, and it just kind of fell apart. There was a lot of stuff that had to happen. That was the only buy trade they were in past Tuesday. Everything else was in sell mode. If they would have done that trade it would have been interesting times for sure.

...I would say that he wasn’t a star, but he was better than a starter. Nobody had linked that guy to the Jazz at all, and it would have been out of left field."

We don't know who this player was, and it's possible that Ainge or someone else in the Jazz organization gave Jones the story as a way to ease the uproar over a tank that many fans felt wasn't necessary. It's also possible that the story is legit. Too bad with the subterfuge around sports trades that we'll likely never know who the player was.