UTAH JAZZ

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

Feb 9, 2023, 3:08 PM | Updated: 4:58 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – The NBA Trade Deadline has come and gone and the Utah Jazz have significantly overhauled the roster by acquiring Russell Westbrook, Juan Toscano-Anderson, and Damian Jones.

In return, Mike Conley, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Malik Beasley, and Jarred Vanderbilt all have new teams in Minnesota and Los Angeles.

Here’s a look at what the new players offer the Jazz after the trade deadline.

Will Jazz Buyout Russell Westbrook?

Russell Westbrook was the biggest name the Jazz acquired in Wednesday’s trade and is ironically the player that will almost certainly never suit up in Utah.

As soon as reports of the trade broke, teams like the Los Angeles Clippers and Chicago Bulls were ready to pursue the guard if he were to reach a buyout agreement with the Jazz.

Westbrook has a long and difficult history in Utah, including a meme-worthy locker room exchange with local media, and an incident in which he received racially insensitive taunts from a since-banned Jazz fan.

Even beyond the Jazz off the court relationship with Westbrook, the veteran guard makes little sense on the floor over the final 26 games of the season.

At this point in his career, Westbrook is a high-usage, low-efficiency ballhandler who offers little in the way of leadership, and a high risk of distraction.

The Jazz have already significantly altered the team’s chemistry after trading Conley to the Timberwolves, and don’t need to saddle first-year coach Will Hardy with a player as headstrong as Westbrook has proven to be.

Westbrook remained on the Jazz roster through the trade deadline, but his time on the team should be shortlived.

Who Is Juan Toscano-Anderson?

In addition to Westbrook the Jazz also landed the expiring contract of 29-year-old wing Juan Toscano-Anderson.

Toscano-Anderson burst on the NBA scene by earning a spot in the Golden State Warriors rotation during the 2019-20 season before eventually earning a ring with the team last year.

While that resume may excite some Jazz fans, it doesn’t hold up to strong scrutiny.

Toscano-Anderson played a total of 49 minutes in the Warriors’ latest Finals run, and after winning a ring, was signed by the Lakers to a one-year, veteran minimum salary last summer.

Since joining the Lakers, the wing has averaged just 2.7 points and 2.0 rebounds in 30 appearances.

Due to a lack of depth, the Jazz should get ample opportunity to see what Toscano-Anderson offers the team, but realistically he’ll be a short-term salary filler to close the season.

Can Damian Jones Make The Rotation?

The final, and most unheralded piece in the Jazz trade is center Damian Jones who like Toscano-Anderson struggled to break into the Lakers rotation this season.

Jones began his career with the Warriors and won two NBA titles in 2017 and 2018 before spending short stints in Atlanta, Sacramento, Phoenix, and LA (twice).

At 27, Jones room for growth is limited, and it’s safe to assume he’s likely to be the second or third-best center on an average NBA roster.

With both Walker Kessler and Kelly Olynyk playing the majority of the center minutes for the Jazz, Jones should compete with Udoka Azubuike for the last spot in the team’s frontcourt rotation.

Azubuike is in the final year of his contract with the Jazz and is unlikely to be retained, while Jones has a $2.6 million player option which seems like a safe bet to be picked up.

There is some bit of intrigue regarding Jones in the not-so-distant past. Over his last 10 games of the 2021-22 season, he averaged 16.6 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks for the Kings in 71 percent shooting.

He won’t see those same 29 minutes per game he got during that stretch in Sacramento, but maybe he can channel that production on a much smaller scale.

Ben Anderson is the Utah Jazz insider for KSL Sports and the co-host of Jake and Ben from 10-12p with Jake Scott on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone. Find Ben on Twitter at @BensHoops or on Instagram @BensHoops

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