UTAH JAZZ

Why Did Jazz Trade Conley, Beasley, Others For Westbrook?

Feb 8, 2023, 8:38 PM | Updated: Feb 9, 2023, 3:28 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Jazz made a major shakeup Wednesday evening when they pulled off a blockbuster trade that shipped out Mike Conley, Malik Beasley, Jarred, Vanderbilt, and Nickeil Alexander-Walker in exchange for Russell Westbrook, Juan Toscano-Anderson, Damian Jones, and a lightly protected first-round pick.

In the deal, the Jazz will send Conley, Alexander-Walker, and two second-round picks to the Minnesota Timberwolves, while Beasley and Vanderbilt will go to the Lakers.

RELATED: What Are Jazz Getting In Westbrook, Toscano-Anderson, Jones?

Westbrook is likely to have his expiring contract bought out by the Jazz, while Toscano-Anderson and Jones offer the Jazz little in regard to production.

Toscano-Anderson is a small expiring contract, while Jones has a $2.6 million player option next season.

So, with such little talent in coming, and so much talent going out, why would the Jazz make this trade?

Let’s take a look at what else the Jazz are getting back in the deal.

Jazz Get Another Pick

The prized piece in the Jazz trade is the 2027 pick from the Lakers that is top-4 protected.

With LeBron James entering the twilight of his career, the Jazz appear to be betting on the Lakers dropping deep into the lottery by 2027, potentially delivering a top-10.

Now, this draft pick is far from a sure thing.

For one, the Lakers are one of the few teams in the NBA that are regularly contenders to sign the league’s top free agents and can generally avoid the traditional rebuilding method that involves sinking to the bottom of the standings to land a top pick.

And, without owning the 2027 pick, they have no reason to sacrifice a year to improve their draft stock only to help the Jazz.

To make matters worse, the pick reportedly comes with a caveat.

According to ESPN’s Zach Lowe, if the Lakers’ pick does land in the top four, they will hold onto the selection, and the Jazz compensation turns into a 2027 second-round pick.

That has the potential to be an enormous value for the Lakers and a terrible trade for the Jazz.

Regardless, the Jazz have another high-ceiling trade piece in the Lakers’ pick that they can use to acquire more talent, or pair with other picks to move up in the draft.

In total, the Jazz own 15 first-round picks outright after Wednesday’s trade, and a 16th depending on where they finish in the standings between 2024-2026 with the pick they owe to the Oklahoma City Thunder from the Derrick Favors trade.

That’s a nearly unrivaled package of picks that will allow the Jazz to acquire significant talent in the coming seasons.

Jazz Get More Flexibility

In addition to the draft picks, the Jazz have also freed up significant cap space this summer with the trade.

Conley was set to earn $24 million next season while Beasley and Vanderbilt would earn a combined $21 million.

In total, the Jazz cleared between $43-45 million from the books next season depending on whether or not Jones picks up his player option.

While this summer’s free agent list isn’t filled with marquee names, it does give the Jazz flexibility to make more trades, or sign players to better the franchise.

The Jazz now have the option to acquire players in a trade simply by taking them into their cap room, (see Portland Trail Blazers acquiring Jerami Grant) or by taking on other teams’ undesirable contracts along with additional draft capital.

Over the last several seasons, the Oklahoma City Thunder have built a treasure chest of draft picks that rivals the Jazz in part by taking back bad contracts.

According to Spotrac’s Keith Smith, the Jazz could have as much as $61 million in cap room to work with this summer.

That’s not an insignificant haul and will make the Jazz popular among willing trade partners.

Improving 2023, 2024 Draft Picks

With Conley, Beasley, Vanderbilt, and Alexander-Walker now on their way out, the Jazz should take a relatively steep dive in the Western Conference standings.

Prior to the trade, the Jazz sat in the 10th spot in the West, one game below .500.

If the draft lottery were to be held with their current record, they’d have a 4.7 percent chance of moving into the top four of the draft, and a 95.2 percent chance of drafting 13th or 14th.

Now, the Jazz have a chance to drop in the standings to better improve their lottery odds.

Currently, just 2.0 games and seven teams separate the Jazz from what would be the sixth-worst record in the NBA.

With 27 games left to play this season, there’s plenty of time for other teams to make up those 2.0 games, allowing the Jazz to climb dramatically in the lottery standings.

By comparison, the Jazz would have a 34.8 percent chance of drafting in the top four if they were to finish with the sixth-worst record in the league, and a 65.2 chance of drafting 6-10.

The Jazz may have also improved their odds significantly of holding onto next year’s first-round pick.

Currently, the Jazz owe their 2023 first-round pick to the Thunder after sending it to Oklahoma City in a deal including Derrick Favors.

That pick is top 10 protected, meaning it will remain with the Jazz if it falls in the first 10 picks of the draft next summer, or will go to Oklahoma City if it lands between 11-30.

While it’s too early to project what the roster will look like next season, it’s easy to imagine a scenario where the Jazz are once again in the bottom half of the league and wind up with back-to-back top 10 picks.

Did The Jazz Make A Good Trade?

Ultimately the question Jazz fans are asking is did the Jazz make a good trade?

Unfortunately, that answer won’t be fully known until we have a better understanding of what the Lakers’ 2027 first-round draft pick looks like, if the Jazz even hold onto long enough for it to convey.

However, it’s not solely dependent on that pick, as the Jazz have also added flexibility, and improved their own draft stock this season and next.

In the immediate aftermath of the trade, Jazz fans shouldn’t be devastated by the package they got in return for Conley, Beasley, Vanderbilt, and Alexander-Walker, but it’s no grand slam.

  • 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.

2 days 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.

2 days 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.

3 days 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.

3 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.

5 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.

6 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.

Why Did Jazz Trade Conley, Beasley, Others For Westbrook?