UTAH JAZZ

With Trade Deadline Looming, Jazz Looking Long Term

Jan 9, 2023, 3:33 PM | Updated: Jan 13, 2023, 3:40 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – The NBA Trade deadline is fast approaching, and after Sunday’s loss, the Utah Jazz now sit on the outside of the Western Conference Playoffs looking in.

With the trade deadline looming, Jazz owner, Ryan Smith talked to Hans Olsen and Scott Garrard on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone about the team’s plans over the next month, and into the future.

You can listen to Smith’s full interview in the player below.

Jazz Taking Long-Term Approach At Trade Deadline

The Jazz have been one of the most speculated-about teams in the NBA this season after trading Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell, Royce O’Neale, and Bojan Bogdanovic during the offseason.

Would the team continue dismantling the roster in hopes of chasing Victor Wembanyama? Or after their surprising 10-3 start, would they make an impromptu push for the playoffs?

Despite sitting in the 12th seed in the West with 39 games left to play, don’t expect the Jazz to start purposely losing games.

“I think there’s a lot of people that don’t think that we want to win, we want to win every game,” Smith said. “That’s just who we are. It’s not in our DNA to think anything different.”

The Jazz are just 10-20 since their hot start, but own the second-best Net Rating among teams that currently sit below .500 in the standings. That means that even with their recent string of losses, they haven’t made a routine of getting blown out in games.

Opponents have beaten the Jazz by double-digits only five times this season, with only two losses coming by more than 20 points.

“I think we’ve had more close games than anyone in the league,” Smith said, “and it’s a testament to [coach Will Hardy], it’s a testament to the guys, it’s a testament to the vets and that’s what people want to see every night.”

But while the Jazz have exceeded expectations, Smith didn’t rule out the team making changes to the roster.

“We’re definitely thinking long term, we’re looking at it to be opportunistic as always,” Smith said. “I think we were opportunistic throughout this process.”

Much of that decision-making will fall on the shoulders of Justin Zanik and Danny Ainge who orchestrated the numerous trades to reshape the franchise last summer.

“That’s going to be a decision for Danny and [Zanik] to be able to look and say, ‘Hey, can we get better? How do we prepare now while also focusing on Team 49?'”

RELATED from Denver Sports: Denver Nuggets impress in NBA.com’s midseason media survey

Jazz Keeping Eye On Draft

Though the trade deadline is in the immediate future, the Jazz haven’t lost focus of the 2023 NBA Draft.

The Jazz will have three first-round picks in June to improve the roster. While some have advocated for tanking games to improve the team’s draft stock, Smith said the Jazz have taken a different approach.

“What’s probably most important is how well we draft as opposed to where we draft,” Smith said. “I know that’s what Danny is focused on.”

If the draft were set today, the Jazz would own the ninth pick, the 14th pick via the Minnesota Timberwolves, and the 29th pick via the Brooklyn Nets.

“We’re attacking it as well as we can but I truly believe that it’s what we do with these picks as much as it [are we picking] two or one or three?” Smith said. “But I mean, don’t get me wrong, Wembanyama looks pretty sweet.”

Between the 2022 and 2029 drafts the Jazz own 14 first-round picks outright, and a 15th depending on where they finish in the standings between 2024-2026 (Derrick Favors, Oklahoma City).

The team also owns draft swaps with the Timberwolves and Cleveland Cavaliers in 2026, and an additional pick swap with Minnesota in 2028.

  • Utah Jazz Scoreboard

  • Utah Jazz Team Leaders

  • Utah Jazz Standings

Utah Jazz

Dalton Knecht #3 of the Tennessee Volunteers...

Ben Anderson

Utah Jazz Draft Prospect: Tennessee F Dalton Knecht

Tennessee forward Dalton Knecht is projected to be selected in the lottery of the 2024 NBA Draft where the Utah Jazz own a top-ten pick.

11 hours ago

Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson celebrates an in-season tournament win highlights...

Chandler Holt

Jazz Notes Player Highlights: Utah’s Other Veterans In 2023-24 Season

Although Lauri Markkanen and Collin Sexton stole the show for Utah, some other Jazz veterans played key roles in the 2023-24 season.

11 hours ago

Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Cleveland Cavaliers...

Ben Anderson

Donovan Mitchell Denies Frustration With Cavaliers Teammates

It's been a rough 24 hours for Donovan Mitchell and his Cleveland Cavaliers teammates after being eliminated from the playoffs.

1 day ago

Bronny James Utah Jazz 2024 NBA Draft...

Chandler Holt

Utah Jazz Reportedly Have Interest In Working Out, Drafting Bronny James

According to Yahoo Sports, the Utah Jazz have expressed interest in working out Bronny James and selecting him in the 2024 NBA Draft.

2 days ago

Ron Holland #0 of G League Ignite...

Ben Anderson

Utah Jazz Mailbag: Which Wing Fits Jazz Best In Draft?

Welcome to the Utah Jazz mailbag where every week our NBA insiders answer your questions on social media about your favorite team.

4 days ago

Dalton Knecht #3 of the Tennessee Volunteers...

Ben Anderson

Utah Jazz 2024 NBA Mock Draft Round-Up: Post Lottery

The NBA Draft is just over six weeks away and with the lottery in the rearview mirror, it's officially mock draft season for the Utah Jazz.

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Follow @kslsports...

KSL Give-A-Thon

The KSL Sports Zone, KSL 5 TV, FM100.3, 103.5 The Arrow, and KSL NewsRadio have teamed up to raise money for the kids being served by Primary Children’s Care!

ksl-sports-newsletter...

KSL Sports

KSL Sports Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the KSL Sports newsletter. Get the latest Utah sports news delivered to your inbox.

...

KSL Sports

Jazz Notes Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the Jazz Notes newsletter. Get insider analysis, game recaps and opportunities to win tickets!

Follow @kslsports...

The Road Home Mediathon 2023

The KSL Sports Zone and KSLSports.com are proud to support the all-day Mediathon 2023 at the Road Home, an annual tradition to raise money and other essential items for the Road Home, a Homeless Shelter.

3 kids wearing real salt lake jerseys smiling...

Real Salt Lake

6 Reasons You Need to Experience a RSL Matchday

RSL Games are a great way to spend time with your family with fun activities, good food, and traditions you can only experience at the field.

High angle view of the beautiful Rose Bowl Stadium...

KSL Digital Sales

How to Prepare for the 2023 Rose Bowl

Everything you need to know to plan your 2023 Rose Bowl trip in Pasadena, California. This year, the Utes will face Penn State.

With Trade Deadline Looming, Jazz Looking Long Term