Mailbag: Should Jazz Consider Zach LaVine In Trade Talks?

Dec 1, 2023, 2:54 PM


Lauri Markkanen #23 of the Utah Jazz is defended by Zach LaVine #8 of the Chicago Bulls during the second half at United Center on January 07, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – Happy Holidays basketball fans and welcome to another edition of the KSL Sports Utah Jazz mailbag.

Each week we will send out a prompt on KSL Sports Threads, Instagram, X, and Facebook pages asking for the questions you have about the Jazz.

Then, we’ll respond to as many as we can in that week’s mailbag.

Jazz Mailbag: Should Jazz Look At Zach LaVine

Q: Zach LaVine?

A: Glen, allow me to offer a longer answer to your short question: should the Jazz consider trading for Zach LaVine?

First, let us consider that the Bulls will likely get a handful of offers for LaVine, so while the Jazz can likely match, or exceed any package for the two-time All-Star, especially when it comes to draft capital, he won’t come at the same discounted cost of someone like John Collins who had no market, and cost almost nothing to acquire.

So, understanding that the Jazz would have to give up multiple players simply to make the salaries work and that the Bulls will likely want at least one young player to begin their rebuild, which first or second-year player would you be willing to trade for LaVine?

It’s fairly safe to say that Walker Kessler, Keyonte George, and Taylor Hendricks are off the table in trade talks. Unless the Jazz are getting a surefire piece to push them nearer to the conference finals, I don’t see them giving up on a potential core player for now.

That leaves Ochai Agbaji and Brice Sensabaugh as the other young players that the Bulls would ask for in the deal.

Then, that player would have to be paired with Collin Sexton, and one of Talen Horton-Tucker or Kelly Olynyk to make the salaries match to complete the deal.

And, we still haven’t gotten into the future draft picks it would take to beat out other offers the Bulls are likely to get.

As I type this, you have to wonder how exciting this Jazz deal is for the Bulls, or if they’d simply prefer to take the rumored Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura offer from the Los Angeles Lakers.

Additionally, we haven’t discussed whether that’s a worthwhile deal for the Jazz who are giving up several assets to add yet another low-efficiency, iso-heavy guard to a roster that has no shortage of those types of players already in the fold.

Furthermore, does LaVine even push the Jazz back into the playoff conversation? The soon-to-be 29-year-old is in his 10th season in the NBA and has all of four postseason games to show for it.

Long story short, I don’t think LaVine puts the Jazz anywhere near where they need to be to end this burgeoning rebuilding, so, for now, I’d let this team get worse before I skip steps to make it marginally better in the immediate future.

Hold onto your draft picks and your trade assets, the right deal will come along, and this isn’t it.

Q: What did you think about the In-Season Tournament? 

A: Josh, I’ve been a fan of the In-Season Tournament, both because it made the Jazz’s otherwise rocky season slightly more interesting for a handful of games, and because the league got some desirable faces through to the knockout round.

No, the Sacramento Kings and New Orleans Pelicans aren’t the most exciting matchup, but I’ll gladly watch LeBron James and the Lakers face Kevin Durant and the Phoenix Suns on a cold December day.

Similarly, if the Milwaukee Bucks can get past the New York Knicks, and the Boston Celtics can get past the Indiana Pacers, a Bucks vs. Celtics semifinal in Vegas, with either James or Durant awaiting them in the Tournament Finals would be a dream scenario for the league.

As recently as last season these teams were resting star players in marquee matchups, hoping to avoid tipping their hands ahead of a potential playoff series later in the season. They won’t rest their stars with the cash reward on the table, and that’s a win for the NBA overall.

Q: Are you surprised with how well Simone Fontecchio has played lately?

A: I for one am very surprised at Fontecchio’s play as he looked like a candidate to return to Europe next season with his game struggling to adapt to the NBA last year.

Since moving into the starting lineup last week Fontecchio is averaging 13.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 2.8 assists while shooting 40 percent from the floor and 36 percent from three.

If he can continue to improve, he might be a reasonable long-term rotation piece for the Jazz as they rebuild this roster.

Or, the Jazz could shop him before the trade deadline to a team looking for a player with a solid basketball IQ, the ability to knock down threes at a high rate, and who will give his all on defense in a push toward the playoffs.

Regardless, I think Fontecchio has shown enough to prove his NBA career is just beginning, and not coming to a close, and that’s a rare ray of sunshine during an otherwise overcast Jazz season.

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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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Mailbag: Should Jazz Consider Zach LaVine In Trade Talks?