UTAH JAZZ

Utah Jazz Mailbag: Could Kelly Olynyk Re-Sign In Offseason?

Feb 6, 2024, 3:43 PM | Updated: 3:45 pm

Kelly Olynyk #41 of the Utah Jazz reacts in the second half while playing the Detroit Pistons...

Kelly Olynyk #41 of the Utah Jazz reacts in the second half while playing the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – Welcome to the Utah Jazz mailbag where this week our NBA insiders look at Kelly Olynyk and his value to the franchise.

Each week we will send out a prompt on KSL Sports ThreadsInstagramX, 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: Could Kelly Olynyk Resign In Offseason

Question: Do you see Kelly Olynyk resigning here this summer? If not, why keep him?

A: Jazztimejones thank you for the question, and I am sure it’s one the Jazz front office has gone over several times ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline.

First, let’s take Kelly Olynyk at his word when asked about his thoughts on playing for the Jazz. This is what he said Tuesday morning at shoot-around.

“I love Utah, I love the Jazz, the organization has been unbelievable, the city, the fans are great, I’d love to be here.”

So, let’s entertain the idea that if the Jazz would like to keep Olynyk this summer, there would be mutual interest, and, armed with plenty of cap space, the team could absolutely bring him back.

Now, let’s examine the more difficult question of “What value does Olynyk bring the Jazz?”

On that stat sheet, that’s easy to measure. It’s about eight points, five rebounds, and four assists on very good shooting percentages.

However, what Olynyk offers as a trade asset might surpass what he offers on the court.

Looking back at the trades Olynyk has been a part of, it’s remarkable the talent teams have been willing to give up to land him.

In 2021 the Miami Heat traded an expiring Olynyk with Avery Bradley to the Houston Rockets for Victor Oladipo who had been averaging 20.8 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 4.7 assists that season.

In 2022 the Pistons traded Olynyk to the Jazz for Bojan Bojan Bogdanovic who had just averaged 18.1 points and 4.3 rebounds on a good playoff team the previous season.

What that tells me is teams across the league have held Olynyk in high regard as an acquisition piece, both as an expiring contract, and for what he offers to whichever franchise he suits up for.

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Thus, while the Jazz could almost certainly re-sign Olynyk this summer, his value to the organization as a trade piece might be at its peak.

That doesn’t mean the Jazz are guaranteed to get an Oladipo or Bogdanovic-like player back in an Olynyk trade, but that return may be more valuable than his production on this specific moving forward.

Question: Are there any statistics that back up the notion that roleplayers play worse near the trade deadline due to uncertainty?

A: I have to admit that I’ve never heard this theory, but if there is a statistical trend, I would guess it has less to do with the trade deadline, and more to do with the marathon that is the NBA season.

As Jazz coach Will Hardy said Sunday, “I think everybody in the league at this point is a little bit fatigued.”

While it is important to remember that these players are human beings and that the uncertainty of the trade deadline is an albatross, I’d bet actual physical fatigue from the length of the season would be a bigger factor in any statistical downturn.

By this point in the season, NBA players have gone longer without a real break than they will at any other point in the year.

When you consider that the season opened on October 24, and every team has played at least 49 games, that comes out to an average of one game every other day for 105 straight days.

Then factor in travel, practice, and injuries, and it’s amazing the players can still walk, much less compete against the best basketball players in the world night in and night out.

Now if you team that with the added weight of the trade deadline, it’s no surprise why the majority of players in the NBA aren’t on their A-game statistically in February, if that is indeed a trend.

The All-Star break is coming at a good time for everyone in the NBA, and as always, you’ll see improved play when they return healthier and more rested.

Want to ask questions in next week’s mailbag? Give us a follow @kslsports. If you submitted a question and it didn’t get answered here, listen to this week’s edition of the Jazz Notes podcast (located in the player above) where we answered more of your questions.

Are you on Threads yet? Let’s connect, give us a follow @kslsports

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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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