With the NBA trade deadline Thursday, the Jazz watch their rivals

Utah Jazz's Ed Davis argues with an official during the first half of the team's preseason NBA basketball game against the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)

The Utah Jazz don’t look poised to have a big trade deadline.

Too much of their roster is figuratively or literally un-tradable. Joe Ingles and Royce O’Neale, thanks to their contract extensions, can’t be traded per the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement. Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell are part of the Jazz’s core, and the Jazz value them more than any of the other 29 teams would.

Mike Conley — though he has underperformed — makes $32.5 million this year, which significantly limits the contracts the Jazz can acquire for him. The Jazz continue to believe that their highest ceiling comes with Conley playing at his highest level. Trading Conley for smaller pieces doesn’t make sense if it’s not for a championship-level result.

They do have pieces that could be moved. In particular, Ed Davis, he of the $4.7 million contract for the next two seasons, would be a logical candidate to be traded. The Jazz would need to find a suitor that would think that Davis could be a contributor in their program, which he hasn’t been in a Jazz uniform.

If Jordan Clarkson is traded, per NBA rules, they can’t trade him along with other players. They could use his contract alone to acquire a player or players totaling up to $18.4 million. Trading Clarkson would mean losing an important contributing piece to the bench lineup, one Jazz coach Quin Snyder has relied on heavily since his acquisition.

Most importantly, the Jazz need a contributing big man. It’s hard to find a team that would be willing to trade a contributing big who would fit Utah’s system while taking in Davis, so a three-team deal may need to be completed. ESPN’s Zach Lowe says the Pistons’ Christian Wood and Markieff Morris, the Timberwolves’ Dario Saric, the Spurs’ Jakob Poeltl, and the Hornets’ Marvin Williams are among the options.

What might change the Jazz’s fortunes as much as anything are the trades their competitors make. The Houston Rockets’ owner, Tillman Fertitta, is looking to shed salary off of the Rockets’ $140 million cap payment for this year, trying to get under the $132 million luxury tax line. That news, reported by CNBC’s Jabari Young, could culminate through a move of Rockets’ backup center Nene to a team with cap room.

Perhaps the more interesting possibility is a move of Houston Rockets starting center Clint Capela, who has been rumored in numerous deals over the last 24 hours. The Atlanta Hawks were reported to be talking to the Rockets about Capela, as were the Boston Celtics. The Celtics currently rely heavily upon former Jazz center Enes Kanter, who has exceeded expectations this year at the center position, but may want to improve for the long term anyway.

Meanwhile, the San Antonio Spurs may be looking to move former Jazzman wing DeMarre Carroll. This summer he was signed to a three-year, $20 million contract, but he’s played only 135 minutes this season. The Spurs are said to be “100% obsessed” with acquiring the Western Conference’s eighth seed, one that would win them a streak of 23 playoff appearances in the NBA. Rudy Gay could also be on the trade market, but Young reports that the Spurs’ asking price is too high at the moment, though that could change before Thursday’s 1 p.m. MST deadline.

Minnesota wing Robert Covington looks like a likely candidate to be traded as well. The Timberwolves, currently 14th in the Western Conference, know that they have one of the best two-way wings in the NBA. Covington is one of the best perimeter defenders in the league while also being able to knock down corner 3s at a high rate. But the Wolves are asking for multiple first-round picks for Covington, and while it’s unlikely they get that, it’s reflective of Covington’s high value in the market.

The Wolves also will try to acquire Golden State guard D’Angelo Russell, who Golden State could be willing to move after signing him this summer. The one-time All-Star has been a contributing scorer for the Warriors, but they’ll be willing to move him for players who fit alongside Steph Curry and Klay Thompson more effectively.

Memphis’ Andre Iguodala hasn’t played all season, but where he ends up is a major subplot of this year’s trade deadline. Iguodala, 36, is one of the NBA’s most reliable wing defenders. He’ll be a certain target for both the Lakers and the Clippers, but the bidding war figures to go down to the wire.

New Orleans is another interesting team to watch this week. J.J. Redick is a shooter who could fit nearly any team, but Zach Lowe reports that teams inquiring about Redick have been “shooed away.” Derrick Favors is a logical trade candidate — he’s interested in returning to Utah — but the rules state that the Jazz can’t trade for him. The only way Favors could return to Utah is if he were traded, then waived by another team. In that case, the Jazz could acquire him. Jrue Holiday could be moved, but would take a large package to be moved, per Lowe.

There’s one consistent theme right now around the trade deadline: Most deals are far away from being consummated. That’s pretty typical three days before the deadline, as most teams wait until the last minute to finalize their best offers, or anything close to it.

Still, there’s something we’ve reliably learned from the NBA’s silly season: Expect the unexpected.