The NBA's trade deadline is set for 1 p.m., meaning that by just around the time the line at the Gateway Panda Express becomes tolerable, all deals must be submitted to the league office for approval. For months, signs have pointed to the Utah Jazz making a deal prior to the deadline. Our story in today's Tribune tries to explain why the Jazz would or would not make a deal. Here's what to look for as the key hour approaches:
• The Jazz are not going to trade Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap simply to make room for Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter. There are 27 games left and the Jazz won't make a move to expedite the ascension of the young bigs by so few contests.
• To bring back anything other than an expiring contract or draft picks means the Jazz are sacrificing cap space. Don't expect them to do that unless it is for someone they see as part of the long-term plan.
• Which is why, if the Jazz are forced to take Lamar Odom or Caron Butler in a deal for Eric Bledsoe — as rumored — don't be surprised if they push for Odom. He comes of the books this season while Butler is under contract for one more year.
• That Bledsoe deal remains the most talked about, with the young point guard coming to Utah in exchange for some kind of package involving Paul Millsap. All that chatter, though, could mean it's the most likely to happen or, as is more often the case, has been dead for weeks.
• If the Jazz do add a point guard, don't be surprised if teams start calling about Mo Williams before the deadline.
• Don't expect the Jazz to get involved with any of the other players you hear about being on the move around the league, i.e. Josh Smith, J.J. Redick, etc. Seems obvious, but people always ask. With this team, a deal is far more likely to come out of left field.
• No player is untouchable. But Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors seem the least likely to be moved, and would require a superstar in return.This seems like just about the least likely scenario right now.
• If the Jazz bring back more players than they trade away, they'll need to clear up roster spots. Raja Bell, who has been away from the team all season after clashing with Tyrone Corbin, seems like the most likely candidate to be shipped off for a draft pick or cash.
• Final thought: The Jazz have too many assets not to be players at the deadline. They may opt to not make a move, but are no doubt sifting through offers right now.
— Bill Oram
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