Jazz Notes Speculates On Possible Free Agent Targets For Utah
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Last Wednesday it was reported that the Utah Jazz had acquired veteran point guard Mike Conley from the Memphis Grizzlies.
In the trade, which will go into effect on July 6, the Jazz sent Kyle Korver, Jae Crowder, Grayson Allen, the 23rd pick in the 2019 Draft (which was traded to Oklahoma City and used to draft Darius Bazley), and a future first round pick to Memphis for Conley.
Although the trade is not yet official, Conley has already been working out and building chemistry with his future backcourt mate, Donovan Mitchell.
The trade came as a surprise to Jazz Notes host Cleon Wall and SportsBeat host Jeremiah Jensen enjoyed the chance to gloat about it to Wall.
“Great minds think alike, so obviously (Jazz VP of basketball operations) Dennis Lindsey agreed with me,” joked Jensen, who previously speculated that such a trade was in Utah’s future.
To Wall’s chagrin, the trade is going to happen and Conley has already expressed his excitement to join the Jazz.
With the pending deal for Conley, many of the options that the Jazz had to start the offseason have now been virtually eliminated. Due to salary cap restrictions, signing a top-tier free agent to max level contract is now off the table. It’s been reported that Tobias Harris has interest in the Jazz but to sign with Utah, he’d have to accept a much smaller contract that he could get with another team. It’s a considerable long shot.
Derrick Favors has a team option that will need to activated or renounced soon and the feeling around the team is that he’ll likely return for his ninth season in a Jazz uniform now that the team is out of the running for signing a max level free agent.
The day after the trade was reported the Jazz drafted three second round draft picks to add some inexpensive labor to the roster.
Still, after the trade and draft, Jazz general manager Justin Zanik added that the team will be aggressive in free agency, which will begin this weekend.
So what could be Utah’s plan for the rest of the offseason?
Possible Free Agent Targets
The Jazz have a mid-level exception that could help sign a useful player, which is important to keep in mind and will give the team $4.7 million to play with. Should they drop Favors, that number inflates to around $17 million in cap space.
Again, the feeling with most national experts is that Favors is not going to be easily replaced this offseason. More than likely, the team will bring him back for one more year.
If that happens, it’s going to be slim pickings for the Jazz in free agency.
Some players that have gotten some attention as potential fits for Utah include Wilson Chandler, Darius Miller and Jared Dudley.
Playing a game of “Should the Jazz go after these guys?” Wall and Jensen speculated on who could be the Jazz’s next target.
No, according to both hosts.
“No,” answered Jensen quickly.
“Is this really where we’re at,” wondered Jensen.
His defense is intriguing, but his shooting is streaky, so maybe no.
That one was interesting to Wall and Jensen. The 32-year old could certainly be a bargain for a team this offseason. He does have some age concerns but is a decent shooter and has been playing the best basketball of his career over the last two seasons.
It’s a no, but not a quick no, according to Jensen.
“Yes please,” said Jensen with excitement.
Jettisoned to Phoenix last summer after a solid run with Houston the year before, Ariza finished the season with the Washington Wizards averaging 14.1 points per game in 43 games with the Wizards. He’s long been considered to be an excellent role player and will be highly sought after in free agency. Although he’s 33 years old, it’s possible that a team could overpay him and extinguish Utah’s chances of adding him to the team.
“I’m not going to say no to this one,” said Jensen.
Parker seems like he could be a good fit culturally for the Jazz. Parker’s mother is from Salt Lake City and he is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He has some scoring chops, but injury concerns and his outspoken disdain of playing defense could ward off the Jazz brass from approaching him. It could be a risky move but if the value is right, it might be worth it.
In summary, both Jensen and Wall concluded that the chances of Utah signing an exciting name as a free agent this summer are probably slim to none, especially if the Jazz keep Favors.
Still, the Jazz got their man over the summer. His name is Mike Conley.