It was recently reported by Adrian Wojnarwoski that the Cavs and Nets are currently in trade talks involving Jarrett Jack for Marcus Thornton. A recent report by ESPN states that they may be looking for a third team to be part of the trade. The reason a third team is needed is the Cavs are wanting to clear enough cap space to be able to potentially sign LeBron James to a max contract. If the Jazz were to enter as the third team they would receive Marcus Thornton and a first round pick. This opens up a potential trade for the Utah Jazz.
There are multiple reasons this trade would be beneficial for the Jazz. First is they have cap space they need to spend. Even if Gordon Hayward is signed to a max contract and the Jazz match they will still be just shy of $13 million under the cap ($63.2 million) and $6.5 short of the minimum salary requirements (90% of the salary cap or $56.9 million). The second benefit would be adding also adding a solid player in Thornton. Thornton is a solid offensive player and has averaged as many as 21.3 points per game in a season (2010-2011). His numbers have dipped a bit since then, so has his minutes per game, but he remains a viable scoring threat and could be solid coming off the bench. Third, Thornton’s contract only has one year left on the deal, so it would be off the books for next offseason when Burks and Kanter are in line for pay increases. Finally, the Jazz would benefit from adding a first round pick. This pick would come from the Cavs and could be extremely valuable if they are ultimately unable to convince LeBron to come back to Cleveland. The Cavs should be better this season with or without LeBron, but without LeBron they remain a fringe playoff team. That pick would give the Jazz another asset to do with what they like. They may be able to package the pick to attain someone who can help the team, or use the pick depending on what year they receive the pick.
Making this trade (and matching any offer to Hayward) would put the Jazz at 10 player under contract for next season. They would still be several million under the salary cap and can simply pick up the team options for players such as John Lucas III, Ian Clark, Malcolm Thomas, and Eric Murphy to fill out the rest of the roster. Or pick up a couple of the team options and bring in another free agent for a couple million.
The bottom line is this trade would make the Jazz a better team, help them to get to the minimum they need to spend without having to overpay someone to come to Utah, and gives them an additional asset that could be used in a number of ways. It is a win-win for the Jazz.