KSL UNRIVALED

Unrivaled: Utah Jazz Need To Go Big This Offseason To Acquire A Superstar

Jul 15, 2021, 3:53 PM | Updated: 3:56 pm
Damian Lillard - Portland Trail Blazers - Golden State Warriors...
Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers in action against the Golden State Warriors at Chase Center on January 03, 2021 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/undefined)
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/undefined)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Jazz are in a must-win situation right now with Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert locked under contract for a few more years. Those two are All-Stars and they have plenty of role players to go along the way toward a title.

Mike Conley is a question mark if he will be back as he is a free agent, but there are trade rumors swirling around the NBA with Ben Simmons being shopped by the Philadelphia 76ers and also Portland Trailblazer Damian Lillard.

Getting either of those two would be tough due to the contract and amount of money they would eat up for the salary cap and beyond into the luxury tax. Landing either Simmons or Lillard would be better than paying that penalty for Conley. No offense to Mike Conley, but those other two would be a bigger boon and make the Jazz a heavy favorite to win the NBA title next year.

The one name that was first brought up was Simmons. The 76ers have been looking to move Simmons for a while and the asking price was an All-Star caliber player in return.

The Jazz have that in three players and KSL’s UnRivaled wonders if they should try to make some sort of deal with Conley for Simmons, even though that might be tough.

“You get Ben Simmons and at first blush, I would say this is crazy, stupid,” KSL Sports Scott Mitchell said. “As I think about it, It’s not a bad idea. It really is not a bad idea. Here’s why. The Jazz have a lot of scoring. They have Jordan Clarkson, they have Bojan [Bogdanović], they have Joe Ingles, they have Donovan, and they get points out of Rudy Gobert. They would lose a little bit in scoring but you’re going to get a guy who’s younger going to play every game”

Getting Simmons to Utah likely would need to be more than trading an aging Conley, as Simmons is a three-time All-Star and just 24-years-old. Simmons would also provide a more balanced team with perhaps a better combination, but this addition could cause some ruffles since Simmons is not really a big fan of Gobert.

Jazz Are Just Stuck

The big prize could be bringing Lillard back to Utah and play for the Jazz. Old tweets were pulled with Lillard once saying he would like to play for the Lakers or the Jazz but that was back in 2017.

There is no official word that Lillard wants out of Portland but he is not 100 percent happy but has not officially asked for a trade. This would be beyond a huge get for the Jazz and pairing him with Mitchell and Gobert would have the Jazz thinking multiple titles.

The Jazz are seemingly stuck in their current progression even though this past year was derailed due to some injuries in the playoffs this year. There has been a lot of heartbreak and wanting hope to take the next step which never happens from Jazz fans.

“You always get jilted. You’re always let down, and it’s so hard, and you put so much into it as a fan and you’re so invested,” Mitchell said. “Then every time and after a while, you go: ‘you’re not going to get me again. You’re not going to sucker me into this. I’m not going to follow this. I’m not going to be a part of it and they don’t.’ They just stop, you are talking front row championship years team, and it got too hard.”

That is a huge letdown for Jazz fans to slowly pull away from their fandom but going out and making one of its biggest acquisitions in franchise history could change that and just maybe owner Ryan Smith can make that happen by landing Lillard.

KSL Sports’ Alex Kirry feels that the Jazz would be better off going over the cap Lillard because he is an elite superstar and one of the best players in the NBA.

“The thing that’s interesting now is that Ben Simmons name is being discussed about getting Damian Lillard out of Portland. Damian Lillard doesn’t want to go play in Philadelphia,” Kirry said. “He said that the Lakers and Utah place that would interest him. Why can’t the Jazz jump on that? What would the Jazz have to give up to be able to get Damian Lillard here? Paying a luxury tax for Mike Conley seems like a Fool’s error compared to what you could be trying to get with Damian Lillard. Come into town now.

“I don’t know if the money could actually get there ever because of how expensive it would be, but that’s the type of thing that has to happen.”

Kirry goes onto mention the 1997 Marilns who literally bought a World Series with a roster stacked with superstars and then sold the team off the next year to basically nothing. The big question is if Jazz fans would be fine with one amazing year and winning its first title but then it all goes away after trading off assets. That would be one heck of a roller coaster ride for Jazz fans to be champions and then go to the bottom of the league.

Regardless, the Jazz need to think big and go bold to get over the hump and see if a championship is in their future and to get there a big move needs to happen and do it at all costs.

Tune into KSL Unrivaled every Monday through Friday, 7-9 p.m., or subscribe to the podcast. Also, download the all-new KSL Sports app on iOS or Android.

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