Utah Jazz Trade Deadline Takeaways

Feb 8, 2024, 4:46 PM | Updated: 4:56 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – The 2024 NBA trade deadline is in the rearview mirror and the Utah Jazz were one of the league’s more active teams.

Over 24 hours, the Jazz traded Simone Fontecchio, Kelly Olynyk, and Ochai Agbaji for Kevin Knox, Otto Porter, Kira Lewis, a 2024 first-round pick, a 2024 second-round pick, and the draft rights to Gabriele Procida.

With the deadline now passed, let’s look at why the Jazz chose to be sellers this season.

What Did Jazz Accomplish At Trade Deadline?

The most immediate return the Jazz will see from the trade deadline is the increased playing time for 2023 ninth-overall pick Taylor Hendricks.

The forward has spent significant time in the G League where he’s made strides in his game from his clunky outings during the preseason.

Hendricks earned more than 20 minutes in five appearances with the Jazz this season and averaged 9.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.4 steals while shooting 44 percent from the floor and 38 percent from three.

The team can now see if he can build on those numbers over the final 30 games of the season.

The trades might also clear room for rookie Brice Sensabaugh who was selected with the 28th pick in last year’s draft.

Sensabaugh appears to be an NBA-level scorer already, but has struggled defensively with the Salt Lake City Stars, and will likely won’t see as much playing time as Hendricks to close the season.

In addition to clearing roster space for Hendricks and Sensabaugh, the Jazz added two more draft assets to their already massive treasure chest.

While the two picks they added are likely the worst draft assets the team owns going forward, it will give Danny Ainge and Justin Zanik more tools to tinker with this summer.

Finally, the Jazz were able to take a few flyers on young players in Kira Lewis and 2022 draft prospect Gabriele Pacdio.

A torn ACL in his second season has derailed Lewis’s career so far, but the Jazz will get to see if the 22-year-old has more to offer than he’s been able to show during his stops in New Orleans and Toronto.

Pacido is a strong athlete with well-developed physical tools, but will have to knock down shots at a higher rate if he hopes to make the leap to the NBA. Perhaps ironically, his game shares some similarities to the outgoing Agbaji.

What Didn’t Jazz Do At Deadline?

While the Jazz did clear space for their rookies to earn more playing time, and added a few draft assets in the process, there was plenty they didn’t commit to.

First, the Jazz did not improve this year’s roster at the deadline. After shipping out three of their top eight rotation players, it would be foolish to say that they are better today than they were at the beginning of the week.

Without any All-Star level players moved at the trade deadline, the Jazz didn’t see an obvious opportunity to make significant gains, so they went into asset acquisition mode, and lived to spend them another day.

And while the Jazz brought in three additional expiring contracts, they didn’t unload any additional long-term deals.

The Jazz may have preferred to add a contract that would expire in 2025 to help facilitate future trades, but still own long-term deals for John Collins, Collin Sexton, and Jordan Clarkson that could be floated in trade talks.

Between the expiring contracts of Porter, Lewis, Knox, Kris Dunn, Luka Samanic, and Talen Horton-Tucker, the Jazz have roughly $27.5 million coming off the books this summer.

What Questions Still Remain?

Though we have a clearer view of what the Jazz did, and didn’t do at the deadline, questions remain about the remainder of the season.

Most notably, what are the team’s priorities for the remainder of the season?

With 30 games left to play, the Jazz must decide if they want to continue to pursue a play-in tournament berth, simply win enough games to convey their protected draft pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder, or tank games to lock in another top-ten draft pick this season.

The Jazz draft pick will go to the Thunder this summer if it falls between picks 11-30 in the first round.

At the moment, the Jazz would own the 13th pick in the draft, in which case their selection would be long to the Thunder in June.

However, only two games separate the Jazz and the Houston Rockets who own the 10th worst record in the NBA.

If the Jazz were to be overtaken by any combination of three teams sitting behind them in the standings, they’d likely own a top-ten pick for the second consecutive season, barring a team ranked 11-14 leaping them in the lottery.

With a perceived week draft in 2024, the Jazz may prefer to convey their pick now, relieving them of their debt to the Thunder in future years.

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Or, if the team plans to make significant additions to the roster this summer via trade or free agency, perhaps they’d prefer to land one final top-ten pick, and convey next year’s selection to Oklahoma City that could fall later in the first round.

Regardless, it was a busy trade deadline for the Jazz, and one whose full impact won’t be known for several years.

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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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