Walker Kessler might be available in trade talks: Report

Following a disappointing sophomore campaign, rival executives say the Jazz may be willing to discuss trading Kessler, per Jake Fischer.
Houston Rockets v Utah Jazz
Houston Rockets v Utah Jazz / Chris Gardner/GettyImages

One year after he finished a very encouraging rookie season, Walker Kessler's disappointing sophomore season was bad enough that, supposedly, the Jazz might trade him off the roster this offseason if given the chance.

Yahoo Sports! Jake Fischer reported that fellow NBA teams believe Kessler might be available via trade.

"There appears to be a wide range of starting-caliber big men available for trade... Rival teams believe Utah is willing to engage in trade talks that would part ways with Jazz second-year center Walker Kessler."

Again, Kessler did not progress much following an excellent rookie season. Most young players have a sophomore slump, which makes his performance all the more understandable. However, what made his performance concerning was that the basis of his promise came from his rim protection.

The Jazz were No. 30 in defensive rating this season, per NBA.com. Kessler is not single-handedly to blame for that, but when the defense is that bad with someone who at one point looked like an elite rim protector in the making, many will question how effective he is at defending the rim. Now, he finds his name in trade rumors after he many believed he was part of Utah's future.

Is there fire to this Walker Kessler smoke?

Note that Fischer's phrasing is that other teams in the NBA believe the Jazz would be willing to discuss trading Kessler. First of all, that's not coming out of Utah, so that might not be anything more than mere speculation.

Second, just because Kessler could potentially be available does not mean the Jazz are angling to get rid of him. Most teams don't get rid of young players on rookie contracts when they've already proven their worth in the past. If they are, in almost every case, it's because they want an upgrade.

The Jazz should be patient with Kessler. It's true that many believed he would take a leap that ultimately did not happen. However, Chad Porto made the case that while Kessler fell short of expectations, he wasn't the complete failure that he was deemed to be following the season's end.

Kessler's potential leap may not be out of the question either. It just might be delayed. That has happened in the past with players who burst out of the gate. Toronto Raptors' star Scottie Barnes had a sophomore slump after a very exciting rookie season, and then he went on to make the All-Star team. Kessler doesn't have the same expectations, but it's definitely not the time to give up on him.