Raymond Felton to Utah?

I’m not typically one who enjoys fueling belated NBA rumors, but I have to admit I was a little “intrigued” by the prospect of Utah picking up Raymond Felton from the Portland Trailblazers. This isn’t a rumor per se, and serves as nothing more than pure speculation, so take it with a HUGE grain of salt (still not sure what that means … when in Rome), but a website entitled gather.com has suggested the 6-foot-1 North Carolina point guard would benefit the Jazz in more ways than one.

Of course, that means Devin Harris would probably have to go (unless we could trade Tinsley and Evans – both of whom sit on the bench with nothing to do), but is that really a bad thing? Most of you (well, 18 out of 29) felt Harris should’ve been discarded long ago. Opinions have shifted slightly thanks to Harris’ increased production since the All-Star Break, but not enough to form a definitive answer.

I am one of those stuck in the middle, albeit veering more towards a trade as the days roll on. Harris is a decent point guard, but one who doesn’t bring a whole lot to Utah’s table.

IF THE TRADE HAPPENED

The Trailblazers would most likely acquire Devin Harris, a speedy veteran who would better benefit Portland’s more uptempo game; and the Jazz would secure a point guard capable of scoring in double digits on a consistent basis, whilst tossing out roughly 6-10 assists per night. Not too shabby.

Think about it, Devin Harris, while increasing in efficiency with each game, is still only managing roughly nine points and 4-5 assists per game. Against Charlotte last night, Harris’ stat line read: nine points, four assists, four rebounds, two turnovers. Defensively he is a proven liability, allowing nearly every opponent’s PG a chance to light him up all over ESPN (at least that gives the Jazz a chance to be on ESPN). I like Harris, and think his increased production has given Utah a much needed spark in the season’s second half, but I think Felton would be a much more efficient starter.

WHY?

Felton is a guy who can rack up 20 points and 10-15 assists on any given night. He’s a quick, versatile guard in the vein of Deron Williams – only not as athletic. Felton’s numbers are somewhat low this year compared to his time with the Knicks (where he averaged a whopping 17 points and nine assists per game), but I think that’s due in part to an inefficient Portland offense. He is capable of hitting from beyond the arc (although his numbers from three point land are well below Harris’ on the year, while his career average is only percentage points higher), but more importantly he knows how to handle a half-court style offense and/or an up tempo game.

Harris, on the other hand, only has two distinct identities: he’s either in the game, or completely absent. When he’s driving to the basket, drawing fouls and dishing the rock off to teammates, he’s extremely effective. But that’s his one and ONLY move. He has no outside game, and nothing to offer defensively.

At 6-foot-3 and just under 200 pounds, Harris has speed and energy, but the Jazz vets don’t need speed. They need efficiency – someone who can pass the ball, create plays and spread the floor with their outside game. I personally don’t see Harris improving, but I think Felton has yet to find his stride.

CONS

Felton is a competent defender, but also short in his position. He’s bigger and slower than Harris, but less likely to incur too many injuries. Felton looked like a perennial all-star playing for New York and Denver, but has since fallen into the type of mediocrity that comes from getting tossed around from team to team like a Cesar salad.

At 27 Felton is a few years younger than Harris (“Hang on … wait, I just want to check your math …”), but, as far as I can tell, capable of contributing so much more for Coach Corbin. He seems very unhappy in Portland right now and would most likely welcome any trade that would allow him to serve as starting PG.

Harris belongs as either the Jazz’s second string PG (where he could run n’ gun to his heart’s content), or a team that plays a much more deliberate style … ahem, Portland, whose efficient outside shooting would open up the world for Harris to slash and cut to the hole.

I’m not saying this trade will happen, but I think it makes sense.

THAT DOESN’T MAKE CENTS

Another issue I see, however, is Felton’s contract. The man is owed roughly $7.5 million this season … and that’s all. Harris is owed $9.3 this year and $8.5 next year. I’m not sure if Portland would want to absorb Harris’ contract since they are already spending over $76 million WITH their current roster (that would also place them at around $65 in signed contracts next year, leaving them little room to improve). Perhaps we give them Harris and maybe Evans or Tinsley (or even underused CJ Miles, who is a free agent next season) and in exchange receive Felton and … wait for it … Wesley Matthews.

Then again, according to Hollinger, the Jazz would drop about four games in that scenario. (I ditched Matthews and added Nicolas Batum and, to my surprise, found that we win three more games! Woo woo! I wonder if there is a perfect trade that would automatically enable us to win a championship …)

Oh well. What do you think? Should the Jazz trade Harris for Felton? Sound off below …

Should the Jazz Trade Harris for Felton?

  • I'd rather have Rajon Rondo (45%, 104 Votes)
  • Hellz yeah! (43%, 100 Votes)
  • No way you looney! (9%, 21 Votes)
  • Who cares, I'm gonna go watch John Carter (3%, 8 Votes)

Total Voters: 233

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Topics: Devin Harris, Portland Trailblazers, Raymond Felton, Rumor, Trade, Utah Jazz

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