Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Potential Trade for the Utah Jazz

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.

What is the biggest reason the Jazz should make the trade?

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Tags: NBA Trade Utah Jazz

  • Scott

    What would they have to give up in this trade?

    • Brandon Dennis

      If I am correct they would not have to give up anything. Because the Jazz are under the cap they do not have to send back equivalent salary.

      • represent

        Yep… like what we did with GSW last year. We dont need to give anything way, except Benjamin Franklins from Millers. But they have to spend it anyways to meet the minimum spend. Getting a first rounder for that, would be awesome – jazz essentially would be betting Pat Riley against Dan Gilbert. I wish stock market was that easy.

        • Brandon Dennis

          It would be a little different than the GSW deal last year because they had to waive the Bird Rights to Jefferson and Millsap to make the trade possible, but that is besides the point. They wouldn’t have to give up anyone to make the trade happen.

  • Diego

    For the Jazz it would be great!
    A Cavs pick is 85% a first pick.

    • Brandon Dennis

      Unless LeBron signs with the Cavs, then it becomes a late 1st rounder. However, that is still better than nothing and they get a player who makes them better as well.

  • represent

    Thats not enough… Marcus thorton + Cavs first rounder + a clause that someone from Cavs frontoffice o Gilbert’s son will be at the ping pong ball drawing for the first rounder. ;-)

    • Brandon Dennis

      haha or just the bow tie, since that is what their GM had in his pocket during the lottery this year.

  • Nate T.

    Hayward + at least a second rounder, I think would be the minimum from Utah for that deal to be agreeable to all parties. I don’t like the idea if it means sending Hayward to Cleveland. Besides, I think the Cleveland “luck” on the first pick would unbalance the trade value and thus would not be included in the package. ;P

    • Brandon Dennis

      This in no way would send Hayward to Cleveland. Cleveland is looking to get rid of Jack’s contract so they have enough to try to sign LeBron to a max deal. The Nets want Jack, but the Cavs don’t want Thornton’s contract in return. This is where the Jazz step in and take the contract and get a 1st round pick for taking the contract off the hands of the Cavs. I am anticipating Hayward remaining on the Jazz, not being traded.

  • IDJazzman

    I think the biggest concern I would have is less minutes available for the current players now on the team that need development time by playing. Thornton would cut into their rotations, hence the time Thornton would take would be mostly from Burks and Exum. So from that view point, I would not want Thornton on the team. IMO, I think it is now more productive to improve the Jazz through playing time with the current roster. The Jazz will be a top lottery pick team again next year, which will be another high value asset. They are getting enough of that now. In a few years they will not be able to afford all the players they now have. A trade that nets a player that will not cut into the playing time of the others, but could get an asset for future trades, then I think that would be better environment for the Jazz. I like the thought of this article, though.

    • Brandon Dennis

      The thing about Thornton though is he only averaged just over 20 minutes per game the past few seasons. He is also only 27 years old and if you add Thornton to the guard rotation of Burke, Burks, and Exum there are 96 minutes. If you play Thornton 15-20 minutes per game there is still enough for each of the other 3 to get over 25 minutes per game. Also, if all three do happen to play well, making Thornton expendable, it gives the Jazz an expiring contract to trade at the deadline and gain an additional asset.
      My whole thought is the Jazz are required to spend a minimum. Why not spend it not only on a player that will make the team better, but will also give the Jazz an extra asset in a 1st round pick.

      • IDJazzman

        Like I said, I did like the idea. Gathering assets and plenty of them is not a bad thing. I also think that Thornton will make the Jazz better for the short term, one year. Will they make the playoffs because Thornton is on the team? Probably not. Will the Jazz be better at the beginning of the 2015 season, if Thornton doesn’t play this coming year? I think so, because the other players got more development time in the 2014-2015 season, on the floor where real development takes place.
        There is an article on SLC Dunk by All that Amar, where he breaks out the available playing time. I know it is very incomplete, who really knows? But I think he did a good job of showing it will be difficult to give enough needed playing time for development to all the current players that are on the team.
        You are correct, the Jazz have got to spend the money somewhere. Where would it be best, I am not sure? I know if I were in Burks’s shoes and they signed Thornton, I probably would be less amiable towards signing an extension with the Jazz if it cost me playing time or he got started in front of me.

        • Brandon Dennis

          I think you’re a little too focused just on playing time. Don’t get me wrong that is a critical aspect of development, but it is still only one aspect of development. Don’t underestimate the importance of having veterans on the team to help these young players learn how to play the game.

          For instance, say the Spurs drafted a PF that everyone was excited about. He wouldn’t get much playing time because he would be behind Duncan, but what would be more valuable, playing time or the opportunity to pick Duncan’s brain, play against him in practice, and see him everyday? There is incredible value in a veteran presence in developing young players.

          Now I realize the Jazz don’t have any seasoned veteran that is a superstar such as Duncan. I simply used Duncan to better illustrate my point. However, veterans that have been in the league for several years will all have things they have picked up along the way that could help the young players develop. Are these benefits worth a couple of minutes of playing time?

          Also, I don’t think bringing in Thornton would hurt Burks at all. First of all, if Thornton cut into anyones playing time it would be Exum, especially early in the season when he is trying to adjust. Let’s not forget he hasn’t played in months and when he last played it was against high schoolers. You could say the NBA is a little better than high school, plus Exum is very raw. If Exum does develop ahead of schedule then you can trade Thornton at the deadline to open up more minutes for Exum.

          You simply can’t say “give our young guys as much playing time as possible and put a bunch of scrubs around them because anyone decent would cut into their playing time because the Jazz will be a lottery team next year anyways.” Not only do the young guys need veterans to help them along the way, but you don’t want a losing attitude in the locker room. Cultures are tough to change and taking the risk in developing a losing culture could leave the Jazz as the next Clippers (before Chris Paul) in lots of talent due to repeated top picks, but the team keeps losing.

          • IDJazzman

            Well we simply disagree.

          • Brandon Dennis

            It’s a moot point now anyways. The trade was just made, but Boston came in as the 3rd team and received Thornton, Zeller and a 1st round pick.

  • polljc

    Not to keen on getting Thornton but maybe it would do Hood good to be deep on the depth chart like Stockton in a backup role. He’s young. Still think we would have a log jam of players at 2 &3 if you include Exum as a 2. I like the trade. Maybe do the deal then trade someone (like Thornton) for more pics and/or money. I keep lobbying we try to sign Ryan Kelly. :) Maybe a sign and trade deal with the Lakers for Kelly as a 2nd stretch 4 if Lakers would even consider. If not, go after Kelly as a FA.

    • Brandon Dennis

      You wouldn’t be able to re-trade Thornton until December. You can’t trade a player you just traded for. However, if he doesn’t work out you can always flip him at the deadline as his expiring deal may be enticing to teams looking to clear cap space or a contender needing some more offense.

      I’m not sure how much good another stretch 4 would do. If Jazz want to add another shooter they should do it at 2 or 3. I can’t think of any team that has ever had multiple stretch bigs, much less with any success.