Traditionally, the Jazz franchise has not had much success in luring big-time free agents to Utah, and has found the trade market a much more impactful way of adding to the team.
So, it’s perhaps no surprise then that, after months of fans wondering if the team could land a top free agent this summer along the lines of Kemba Walker, Tobias Harris, or D’Angelo Russell, the Jazz instead resorted to a trade to shake up the franchise.
Mike Conley’s acquisition will certainly have a seismic impact on the team, coming as it does, in a summer when the Western Conference is perceived as being wide-open following significant injuries to Golden State stars Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson.
Even at this early stage, it is safe to say it is one of the biggest deals in team history. But how big?
Here’s a look back at some of the other top trades in franchise history:
Dominique Wilkins traded to the Hawks
Arguably one of the most lopsided trades in NBA history was done out of financial necessity. While the third pick of the 1982 draft would have brought a star to the franchise (and would have been an incredible teammate to subsequently be paired with John Stockton and Karl Malone), the reality is, the Jazz were in real danger of not meeting payroll. So they sent Dominique Wilkins to the Hawks in exchange for John Drew, Freeman Williams, and $1 million to keep the organization solvent.
Deron Williams traded to the Nets
After ongoing tension between All-Star point guard Deron Williams and legendary coach Jerry Sloan came to a head in February 2011, the coach wound up resigning. Not long after, the Jazz dealt Williams to the New Jersey Nets for guard Devin Harris, rookie big man Derrick Favors, and two first-round draft picks — the first of which the team immediately used on Enes Kanter, the latter of which was traded several more times and eventually yielded Ricky Rubio. Favors, who will presumably have his 2019-20 option year picked up by the Jazz soon, is now the only remaining tangible get from that trade.
Jeff Hornacek acquired from the 76ers
After years of making the playoffs but never seeming to have enough juice to be legitimate title contenders, the Jazz made a move on Feb. 24, 1994 that would help the team take the next step. Jeff Malone was sent to Philadelphia in a shooting guard swap for Jeff Hornacek. The latter’s deep-shooting ability (specifically, his 3-point range) helped Utah reach back-to-back NBA Finals appearances in 1997 and 1998. Hornacek’s jersey now hangs in the rafters.
Adrian Dantley dealt to Detroit
After coming to the Jazz in 1979, Dantley proved to be one of the league’s top scorers — finishing first overall in both the 1981 and 1984 seasons. However, a series of incidents with coach/GM Frank Layden — including a holdout that led Layden to pronounce that Dantley was trying to hold the team hostage,” a locker-room dust-up in which Dantley defended then-rookie Karl Malone, and a news conference railing against a suspension — ultimately proved a harbinger for his exit from the franchise. Prior to the 1986 season, Layden sent Dantley and two future second-round picks to the Pistons in exchange for forward Kelly Tripucka and center Kent Benson — and Dantley expressed relief to be gone. He eventually made up with the team, became a hall of famer and had his jersey retired.
Jazz move up to land D-Will
Years before the point guard’s relationship with the team ultimately soured, the Jazz were enamored enough with him to swing a draft-day deal. In the 2005 draft, the Jazz were set to pick sixth and 27th (they had the extra pick after swapping the draft rights of Pavel Podkolzine, the No. 21 pick of the 2004 draft, to Dallas). But just hours before the ’05 draft took place, Utah dealt those picks, plus a 2006 first-rounder, to Portland for the No. 3 selection. With Milwaukee committed to University of Utah center Andrew Bogut at No. 1, and the Hawks set on North Carolina’s Marvin Williams at No. 2, the Jazz would have their choice between Williams, of Illinois, and Wake Forest’s Chris Paul in order to come away with their point guard of the future.
• A relatively recent trade near and dear to Jazz fans’ hearts is a 2013 deal sending the No. 46 pick and cash considerations to Denver for the rights to the 27th selection, French center Rudy Gobert.
• An even more recent deal, again at the Nuggets’ expense, took place in 2017, in which the No. 24 pick and little-used forward Trey Lyles were packaged for the 13th pick, used on Donovan Mitchell.
• Kyle Korver will be leaving the Jazz again as part of the Conley deal. But the two times he was traded to Utah both had an impact. He first came to the Jazz via a Dec. 29, 2007 trade with the 76ers in exchange for Gordan Giricek and a future first-round draft pick. He returned to the Jazz this past season via another swap, with Utah sending Alec Burks and some second-round picks to Cleveland to get the veteran sharpshooter.