Utah Jazz Mailbag: Do Jazz Want To Convey Pick To Thunder?

Feb 13, 2024, 3:53 PM | Updated: 3:55 pm

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Luguentz Dort (5) smiles while he and Utah Jazz guard Collin Sexton (2)...

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Luguentz Dort (5) smiles while he and Utah Jazz guard Collin Sexton (2) hold onto the ball (Credit: Megan Nielsen, Deseret News)

(Credit: Megan Nielsen, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – Welcome to the Utah Jazz mailbag where every week our NBA insiders answer your questions on social media about your favorite team.

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: Do Jazz Want To Convey Pick To Thunder?

Question: The 2024 pick restricts future picks if we keep it this year, but how big of a deal is that in the grand scheme of things? Just not being able to trade our own 2025 or 2026 picks? How much does that limit our flexibility because I feel like it’s being blown out of proportion a little bit.

A: Thank you for the question utjazznews, let’s reset what pick you’re talking about.

In 2021, the Jazz traded their 2024 first-round pick along with Derrick Favors to the Oklahoma City Thunder to shed the veteran’s salary, and ease the team’s bloated payroll.

The draft pick is 1-10 protected in its first year (2024), protected 1-10 in 2025, and 1-8 in 2026. That means that if the Jazz end up with a pick between 1-10 this summer, they hold onto their selection.

If it falls to picks 11-30, it will belong to the Thunder.

Furthermore, if the Jazz were to end up with a top 10 pick next season, and a top eight pick in 2026, the debt would be considered paid without the Jazz ever giving up any draft capital.

By itself, these protections are not that difficult to understand. But, there are complicating factors to consider.

First, until this pick is conveyed, whether it’s in 2024, 2025, or 2026, the Jazz will be unable to include any of their own draft selections through 2026 in potential trade talks.

It’s not a huge factor, but it’s something to consider.

More importantly, however, is what it could mean for the Jazz’s draft swap rights with the Cleveland Cavaliers or Minnesota Timberwolves in 2026.

Included in both of the Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert blockbuster trades were the rights for the Jazz to swap draft selections with either the Cavaliers or Timberwolves in 2026, whichever pick ends up higher.

This means that even if the Jazz end up with the last selection in the first round, they can swap their 30th pick with whoever has the higher selection between the Cavaliers and the Timberwolves, even if it’s the number one overall pick.

However, if the Jazz don’t convey their pick to the Thunder either this summer or next, and their 2026 selection falls anywhere between 9-30, it would belong to Oklahoma City, and the Jazz would no longer be able to use their swap rights with either the Cavaliers or the Timberwolves.

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Now, hypothetically, if the Jazz were to end up with the 10th pick in the 2026 draft, and the Cavaliers and Timberwolves were both selecting between 11-30, the Jazz wouldn’t have lost any value by not conveying their pick in either 2024 or 2025 because they wouldn’t have chosen to swap picks with the Cavaliers or Timberwolves anyway.

But, if the Cavaliers or Timberwolves end up with a top-eight pick, and the Jazz own a pick located between 9-30, not only would they not have a first-round pick due to it belonging to the Thunder, but they would miss out on their ability to swap into the high lottery.

So, what should the Jazz do?

The simplest option would be to continue to win games at a .500 pace this season, finish outside of the bottom 10 records in the NBA, and convey the pick to Oklahoma City this summer.

The Jazz would then control all of their own future draft selections through 2031.

However, the Jazz could look at their roster now and choose to add another top-10 pick to the team this summer after selecting Taylor Hendricks with the ninth pick last year.

After all, the Jazz already own the 11th worst record in the NBA at 26-28, and with a little finagling, could lose the majority of their final 28 this season, and easily secure another high lottery selection.

From there, the Jazz could invest in their roster this summer, and plan to win enough games to convey their pick to the Thunder in 2025, while retaining their draft swap rights in 2026.

Or, they could simply let the cards fall as they may, not try to rig the system in their favor, and see what happens over the next 48 months.

But I don’t see that happening.

While Jazz general manager Justin Zanik said on Saturday that the team doesn’t have a preference on whether they convey their pick this summer or not, I suspect they recognized that trading three rotation players for draft capital would likely cause them to drop in the standings.

And, because they don’t want to risk losing draft swap rights in 2026, they’ll build a roster good enough to finish outside of the lottery next season and convey a mid-first-rounder to the Thunder in 2025.

That way the Jazz end up with another top-10 pick this year, and retain their draft swap rights in 2026, while paying a relatively painless debt to the Thunder in 2025.

Q: Can you give an update on Brice Sensabaugh? Will the Jazz give him playing time, a la Hendricks or will he remain in the G League? What is he working on in his game?

A: Will Hardy had a very blunt response Monday when being asked what the Jazz want to see from Sensabaugh as he continues to develop.

“To care about all the things that don’t have to do with shooting.”

To me, that means Sensabaush has an advanced ability to shoot/score, and is underdeveloped in just about every other aspect of his game.

It has caught my eye that Sensabaugh remained with the main Jazz roster last night while the Salt Lake City Stars were back in action, perhaps indicating that the rookie could factor into the team’s rotation at some point soon.

However, I would be surprised if wee him before the All-Star break, and maybe not until mid-March.

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

Download the new & improved KSL Sports app from Utah’s sports leader. You can stream live radio, video and stay up to date on all of your favorite teams.

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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Utah Jazz Mailbag: Do Jazz Want To Convey Pick To Thunder?