The trade deadline can put players on edge.
“Somebody might open a door,” Jazz coach Ty Corbin said as his team convened for practice Thursday morning, just a few hours before the NBA’s trade season would officially close, “and you might look to see if somebody is coming in or leaving.”
Around the league, more than 20 players got new homes, though few big names were moved. In perhaps the day’s biggest trade, Philadelphia reportedly sent Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen to Indiana for Danny Granger. Elsewhere, the Cleveland Cavaliers acquired Spencer Hawes and ex-Ute Andre Miller, banished from Denver, was sent to Washington for a fresh start.
But by 1 p.m. MST, all was quiet on the Wasatch Front.
“At the end of the day, we didn’t want to do anything to interrupt the platform that we have for the young core that we are trying to develop,” said Jazz General Manager Dennis Lindsey.
Swingman Gordon Hayward’s name had come up most often in rumors this week. The fourth-year player will be a restricted free agent at the end of the season and could cost the Jazz more than they might be willing to pay for his services. But the Jazz will address Hayward’s status this summer.
Utah, 19-34, has struggled this season. But Jazz forward Marvin Williams believes the Jazz’s youth movement has the potential to contend for a playoff spot sooner rather than later if they can stick together.
“I think if you take the young core that we have now and you give those guys one or two more years, I definitely think they’ll be a contender [for a playoff spot],” said Marvin Williams. “They’ve got a lot of talent. I think the biggest thing hampering us right now is our youth. … Those five guys [Hayward, Trey Burke, Alec Burks, Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter], that could be a big-time starting five the next couple years in the league for sure.”
Williams himself might have made for an enticing trade commodity, being in the final year of his contract. The Jazz have more than $30 million in expiring contracts among Williams, Richard Jefferson, Andris Biedrins and Brandon Rush. When those deals come off the books this summer, the franchise will have options when it comes to re-signing Hayward or making a potential splash in free agency.
“One of the major tenets of a rebuild is to keep flexibly in place as long as possible until you’re championship competitive,” Lindsey said.
Lindsey and the Jazz were able to get two first round picks from Golden State in July to take on Jefferson, Biedrins and Rush. On Thursday, not a single first-round pick changed hands.
“Under the new [collective bargaining agreement, draft assets are, in my opinion, going to be much harder to procure,” the GM said. “And I think there is some aura about this draft.”
Jazz at Trail Blazers
P At Moda Center
Tipoff • Friday, 8 p.m. MT
TV • ROOT Sports
Radio • 1280 AM, 97.5 FM
Records • Jazz 19-34; Trail Blazers 36-18
About the Jazz • Coming off a 105-99 loss to Deron Williams and the Brooklyn Nets. … Committed 18 turnovers in the loss. … Forward Derrick Favors (hip sprain) did not travel with the team to Portland. … Guard Alec Burks has scored 23 or more points in three straight games.
About the Blazers • Ex-Weber State star Damian Lillard is enjoying an All-Star season in just his second year in the league. … Forward LaMarcus Aldridge is expected to miss a week with a groin injury. … Former Jazz guard Wes Matthews is averaging 16 points and four rebounds a game.