7. The NBA Trade Deadline
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Jazz open their season on October 20, just one week from today. With the clock ticking, we look at 50 things for Jazz fans to be excited about leading up to the 2021-22 NBA season. Coming in at number seven, the NBA trade deadline.
The NBA Trade Deadline
After finishing with the best record in the NBA last season, the Jazz are expected to be one of the top contenders in the West again this season.
During the offseason, the Jazz made several tweaks to the roster, most notably the additions of veterans Rudy Gay, Hassan Whiteside, and Eric Paschall, plus the trade for rookie Jared Butler on draft night.
Meanwhile, Derrick Favors, Georges Niang, Matt Thomas, and Ersan Ilyasova relocated over the summer.
Though the majority of the team’s roster-building is complete, they won’t know fully until several months into the season. At that point, the Jazz may choose to proceed with the unit they have intact or opt to make changes to the rotation before the NBA trade deadline.
How the Jazz will approach the February deadline could be impacted by several factors both on the court and off.
First, the team’s performance over the first four months of the season will play an important role. If the Jazz continue to perform as they did during last year’s regular season, there may be little urgency to shake up the roster of a team that will finish with a high seed in the West.
However, if the Jazz’s new additions don’t jell as the front office had hoped, or the team takes a step back from his promising 2020-21 season, upgrades may be necessary midway through the year.
Second, how the team feels about its pending luxury tax bill could play an important role for the Jazz at the trade deadline.
According to Spotrac, with the team projected to be at $18 million over the tax apron by season’s end, owner Ryan Smith will be on the hook for nearly $39 million in luxury tax penalties this season.
But, if the team wanted to trim their luxury tax bill, they could do so dramatically by sending out out one of their larger salaries in a trade while taking little or no money in return.
Here’s a look at the type of savings the Jazz could expect with four hypothetical trades:
Bojan Bogdanovic – $18.7 million = $38.8 million in savings
Joe Ingles – $13 million = $31.3 million in savings
Jordan Clarkson – $12.4 million = $30.1 million in savings
Royce O’Neale – $8.8 million = $23.7 million in savings
Third, the emergence of younger, and more affordable players on the roster could also play a role in the Jazz decision-making at the trade deadline.
Though it’s only been two games, rookie Jared Butler has been a breakout star for the Jazz, leading the team in scoring in both of his preseason appearances.
While the Jazz have perhaps the most talented backcourt in the NBA, the emergence of Butler could make push the team to clear room for him in the rotation. That could serve two purposes for the Jazz at the trade deadline, potentially upgrading the team’s talent on the floor, while also lessening the luxury tax bill by the postseason.
The official date of the trade deadline has yet to be set, but when it does, it’ll be worth tracking for Jazz throughout the first half of the NBA season. How the roster looks today and how it looks over the second half of the season is one of the top storylines for fans to track ahead of opening night.