UTAH JAZZ

Bogdanovic Trade Is Worst Value Of Jazz Summer

Sep 22, 2022, 5:06 PM | Updated: 5:07 pm
Bojan Bogdanovic #44 of the Utah Jazz celebrates a three-point shot (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty I...
Bojan Bogdanovic #44 of the Utah Jazz celebrates a three-point shot (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – The trade that sent Bojan Bogdanovic to the Detroit Pistons on Thursday morning was the Utah Jazz’s worst move of the summer.

In exchange for Bogdanovic, the Jazz are acquiring longtime NBA center Kelly Olynyk and third-year guard Saben Lee.

Olynyk can be penciled as a day one starter for the inexperienced Jazz frontcourt, while Lee will be fighting for every second of playing time he can in a crowded backcourt.

But the players heading to Utah don’t share the same value as Bogdanovic individually or as a duo.

Over the last three seasons, Bogdanovic was the Jazz second most reliable scorer behind All-Star Donovan Mitchell, and one of the best shooters in the NBA.

At his best, Bogdanovic was carrying enormous loads on the offense end, hitting clutch shots, and playing better than advertised defense. Even at his worst, he was a threat to space the floor alongside Rudy Gobert who needed room to operate near the rim.

Along with Carlos Boozer and Mehmet Okur, Bogdanovic is one of the best free agents ever to choose to sign in Utah.

After returning enormous hauls of players and draft assets in trades involving Gobert and Mitchell, the Bogdanovic return is noticeably lacking.

The team failed to return any draft capital for the Croatian star and got two players who likely aren’t long for a Jazz uniform.

Olynyk is not a bad player by any means, and the Jazz needed a veteran big man to consume minutes until either Walker Kessler or Udoka Azubuike prove they can handle real NBA minutes.

There’s no guarantee that will happen this year, so Olynyk’s 610 career NBA games will come in handy, especially before the All-Star break.

If he can regain the form he held in Houston just two seasons ago (19.0 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 4.1 assists in 27 games) the Jazz could flip him at the trade deadline to recoup some of the draft assets they missed in the Bogdanovic trade.

But that’s a big if.

If not, the Jazz can waive Olynyk next summer at a cost of just $3 million, or keep him on the roster for $12 million.

Lee is just two years removed from a strong career at Vanderbilt and had a promising rookie season in Detroit, but really struggled in his sophomore campaign.

The new Jazz guard shot just 39 percent from the floor and 23 percent from the three-point line in his second year split time between the Pistons’ main roster and their G League affiliate.

Lee’s age, expiring contract, and minute salary better fit the Jazz timeline, but unless he reverses course rapidly he may be a waiver candidate before the regular season begins.

The Jazz needed to move Bogdanovic who was likely to win them more games than they would like as they hope to improve their lottery odds. Additionally, Bogdanovic’s minutes will be better used to develop other younger forwards on the roster.

However, after a series of impressive moves this offseason in the Jazz deconstruction, the return for Bogdanovic leaves plenty to be desired.

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