Free agency begins in less than three days, and the Utah Jazz will be needing to sign some veteran free agents to a very young roster.
We will take a look at every position, but first, lets take a look at what the Jazz currently have at the position, and who they could target that could help out next season.
Currently, the Jazz’s point guard situation is unknown because we don’t really know quite yet how the Jazz will use newly drafted Dante Exum. If you ask Exum, he sees himself as a point guard, but if you ask anyone else, they see him as a shooting guard. I believe that he will be used more off the ball, but will run a two point guard lineup.
If Trey and Dante start for the Jazz next season, that would make John Lucas III the back up to Trey, as of right now. Diante Garrett is still technically on the roster, and will play for the Jazz’s summer league team, however, he has an option that the Jazz would have to pick up to bring him back to Utah. I don’t see him coming back, though.
There are a few guys out there that I could see coming in and helping out off the bench. First guy I look at on the list could be Avery Bradley from the Boston Celtics. Bradley is an extremely
active defender, and can also score the ball really well. Bradley averaged 14.9 points per game last season with the Celtics, but one of the other nice stats on his resume is that he averaged nearly 4.0 rebounds per game as a point guard. Bradley would be someone that could come in off the bench and provide both those things, defense and some scoring. Bradley could also play off the ball if they decided to have Trey or Dante on the court with him.
Bradley will be a restricted free agent this summer. The Celtics are rumored to be wanting to go after the Jazz’s own restricted free agent, Gordon Hayward, this summer. If the Jazz, who have over $30 million in cap room, decided to make a play for Bradley, maybe Boston would have to make a decision. Do they have enough room to sign Hayward and bring back Bradley? I’m not sure, but I know that the Jazz have enough room. Bradley could be a really great option for the Jazz to look at, and with his defense being something Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey would love, there could be a good possibility that he gets a call from the Jazz.
Another guy that I could see being able to come in and help is Kirk Hinrich from the Chicago Bulls. Hinrich isn’t a guy that is going to come in and fill up the stat sheet, but he did average 9.1 points per game last year with the Bulls. He had a decent average as a starter, but played really good off the bench. In fact, if you look at his assists per game alone, Hinrich averaged more off the bench than he did as a starter.
He can shoot the ball a little bit if the Jazz needed. He is a 35% shooter from the outside, and shot nearly 40% from the field overall. He would be coming from a system that preaches defense with head coach Tom Thibodeau. Lindsey would like to get the Jazz as one of the better defensive teams in the league. Hinrich, I think, is a capable defender, but if I’m choosing between him and Bradley, you have to pick Bradley every day.
One player that I could see coming back could be Mo Williams. If Mo were to come back, it
would be his third stop in Utah. The Jazz drafted him, then let him go, brought him back in for one season in 2012-13 season, then he went to Portland. While he was here a couple seasons ago, Mo was out for a little while due to injury. When he went to Portland, he stayed healthy, and primarily played off the bench backing up Damian Lillard. However, there were a lot of times that Portland used Lillard and Mo on the floor at the same time. They even put them on the floor at the same time and brought in Wesley Matthews to play at the small forward position.
When the Jazz brought Mo back before, Kevin O’Connor referred to letting him go the first time as his biggest mistake. Mo came back and even told everyone that he wouldn’t mind finishing out his career in Utah, however, that could also just be talk that his agent was telling him to say so the fans were excited about having him here.
If the Jazz were to bring him back, I could see him coming off the bench and backing up Trey easily. He can score the ball, and while with the Blazers last season, averaged 4.3 assists per game off the bench. I could also see the Jazz doing the same thing Portland did with him last year. With the flexibility that the Jazz have with moving guys around to different positions in the back court, you could see a lineup where Trey or Mo played the point, while Alec could play at shooting guard, and Dante could even slide over to the wing for a short period of time.
Mo could be a possibility, and where he is an unrestricted free agent after opting out of his contract with Portland, there is a chance that we could give him a call. However, with Mo still being a productive player, and getting a little older and wanting to win, he is probably more likely to go to a playoff team.
One more guy that could be a good option is Patrick Mills, better known as Patty Mills. Coming off a season where he was part of a San Antonio Spurs team that won the NBA championship, Mills was a big part of their run off the bench. During the finals, Mills shot a solid 54.3% from the field, and an incredible 56.5% from the outside. His shooting in the finals wasn’t much of a fluke either. Mills shot 46.4% from the field, and 42.5% from three for the season.
Mills is a fantastic role player that could help the Jazz greatly. His shooting would be something that helps right away, but another part of Mills that would help the Jazz isn’t necessarily just what he can do on the court.
The Jazz just drafted Dante Exum, an 18-year old from Australia, with the fifth pick in the NBA draft. Exum has played on Australia’s national team with another good guard from Australia, Patty Mills. In the interviews that Exum has done, when asked about how playing next to Trey Burke on the court would work, since both players are point guards, Exum has said that he thinks it will work well since he played with Mills on the Australian national team as a two point guard offense, and he said it worked very well for them.
Mills could possibly be the best option for the Jazz to go after in the off season, and could have the most interest out of the above mentioned four because of his relationship with Exum. Bringing in a player who has been to the NBA Finals and won it, is something that could be a huge help when mentoring guys like Trey, Dante, and even Alec.
The Jazz will need to go after a point guard this off season. They will want someone who can be productive, but also mentor the young guys in the back court. They also need someone who will be excepting of the role of a back up. Out of the four guys listed above, Mills might be the best option for Utah.