With the NBA trade deadline just hours away, the Utah Jazz dipped their toes in the water on Wednesday, moving Simone Fontecchio to the Detroit Pistons. In return, they receive the expiring contract of Kevin Knox, the draft rights to Gabriele Procida, and a 2024 2nd-round pick from the Washington Wizards that projects high in that round.
While this makes it appear that the Jazz are in seller mode, rather than buying as some expected, a closer look might indicate this as a shrewd move to get promising rookies Taylor Hendricks and Brice Sensabaugh more minutes with the Jazz over the final 30 games of the 2023-24 season.
As Utah Jazz players continue to pop up in trade rumors - notably Jordan Clarkson, Kelly Olynyk, Collin Sexton, Ochai Agbaji, and even Kris Dunn, one wonders how different this Jazz roster will look in less than 24 hours.
On the receiving end, the Jazz are even rumored to be looking at Toronto's Bruce Brown, who would help us on defense, and might do better in Utah than he has in Indiana or up north so far this season.
Dejounte Murray is still out there as of this writing, linked now to the Pelicans in addition to prior rumors that involved the Jazz and the Lakers, among others.
What does it all mean for the Jazz?
Based on their 26-26 record, the Jazz are more likely a play-in team when it's all said and done. Their ceiling, unless several teams above them collapse completely, is likely a 6 or 7 seed. Danny Ainge and Justin Zanik have to think about the long-term, not just the short-term future of the franchise.
If players like Keyonte George, Taylor Hendricks, and Brice Sensabaugh are going to be significant contributors in 2024-25 and beyond, they need more minutes. Earning it on the court is one thing, but 10-15 minutes won't be enough to work them through rookie mistakes.
More than likely, the Jazz are going to make more moves with that focus in mind. Even if they don't happen by Thursday evening.