There would've been a silver lining had the Utah Jazz fell out of the Top 10

The Utah Jazz kept their first-round pick but had they lost it, then something good would've come from it.
Utah Jazz v Oklahoma City Thunder
Utah Jazz v Oklahoma City Thunder / Joshua Gateley/GettyImages

The Utah Jazz owe the Oklahoma City Thunder a draft pick thanks to a trade from 2021. In that trade, the Jazz traded Derrick Favors and the 2024 first-round pick to shed salary. That pick, however, was heavily protected. If the 2024, 2025, or 2026 first-round draft pick that the Jazz owns, falls out of the Top 10, then the Thunder get to claim it. With a small caveat for 2026, as the pick goes to the Thunder if it falls to No. 9 in the draft, or later.

They can only claim the pick once, and can only do it the first year this happens. So if the 2026 NBA Draft sees the Jazz land at No. 11, then the Thunder get that pick. If none of the three (now two) picks convey in 2025 or 2026, the Thunder end up with nothing.

With the idea that the Utah Jazz are going to actively compete during the 2024-2025 season, it's very likely that the Jazz won't keep their pick in 2025, a draft class that many are far more excited about compared to 2024. So it's not surprising that had the Jazz lost the pick in 2024, there'd be a bit of a bright spot for the team.

Utah Jazz VP of Player personnel, Bart Taylor, was happy to keep the pick but as he told, had they lost it, they'd at least be done with the trade, saying;

""I mean, I'm happy we kept it. Obviously, I think having a top 10 pick is always better than not having it. But if it had fallen to 11 then we'd be done with that protection to OKC as well.""

The reason why losing the pick won't matter much going forward is pretty simple, the Utah Jazz have three first-round picks in 2025 and two in 2026, though the second pick in 2026 is a bit complicated. Still, the Jazz will have five first-round picks in the next two seasons, meaning that losing their first-round pick next season or after won't be as significant as had they lost their 2024 first-round pick.

Not only is their pick in the lottery, something we're all expecting to not be the case in the coming years, but the Utah Jazz tanked this season to keep their pick. Tanking to keep your pick and then losing it is a worst-case scenario that the Jazz didn't want to have to deal with.

But still, had they did, at least they wouldn't have to pay out to the Thunder anymore.