Jazz Schedule Beefs Up, O’Neale Resigns, And Conley Returns
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – In the latest episode of the Jazz Notes podcast, Ben Anderson of KSL Sports and Sarah Todd of the Deseret News break down the latest storylines from the Utah Jazz. Over the last week, the Jazz saw their 10-game win streak snapped to the New Orleans Pelicans, had Mike Conley rejoin the lineup against the Sacramento Kings, and resigned forward Royce O’Neale.
O’Neale and the Jazz agreed to a four-year $36 million contract that will kick in this coming summer. The team likely got O’Neale at a discounted rate, versus allowing the third-year forward to become a free agent this summer and test the market to see how much money he could get with a different team.
During the podcast, Anderson and Todd agreed that O’Neale may have been able to find upwards of $13 million a season on average with a different team, but prefers his fit with the Jazz over extra money elsewhere.
Conley played 15 minutes for the Jazz in his return, taking the majority of reserve guard Emmanuel Mudiay’s minutes in his debut. Despite the shift in the rotation, both Anderson and Todd expect Mudiay to return to the lineup when Conley moves back into the starting line, preferring to see Mudiay carry the majority of the reserve point guard minutes and allowing Jordan Clarkson to play off the ball.
However, as the playoffs get closer, which players will the Jazz be comfortable playing when the rotation shrinks from 9-10 players to 7-8.
The podcast hosts agreed that Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell, Joe Ingles, Royce O’Neale, Mike Conley and Bojan Bogdanovic are players the Jazz should feel comfortable playing in the postseason, but question marks remain about the rest of the roster when every possession in the playoffs.
Anderson and Todd then explored the NBA landscape to see which players might be available at the trade deadline that could help the Jazz against bigger opposing wings while still providing some offensive pressure. Todd suggested the Detroit Pistons Markieff Morris as the type of player who could help the Jazz in spurts off the bench.