Utah Jazz trade Bojan Bogdanovic to Detroit Pistons

Here’s why the Jazz made a move a move that surprised some league observers.

As expected, the Utah Jazz have traded Bojan Bogdanovic.

The unexpected? His destination.

The Jazz traded Bogdanovic to the Detroit Pistons on Thursday morning in a surprising move, receiving veteran center Kelly Olynyk and young reserve point guard Saben Lee in the process. The Jazz neither sent nor received any picks in the deal, The Salt Lake Tribune can confirm. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski was first to report the deal.

The 31-year-old Olynyk played 40 games for the Pistons last season, scoring 9.1 points and garnering 4.4 rebounds per game. He was the No. 13 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft after making a name for himself at Gonzaga. He is paid $12.8 million in 2022-23, and then $12.2 million in 2023-24 — only $3 million of which is guaranteed.

Lee, the cousin of former Jazz player Trent Forrest, played in 37 games for the Pistons last season, averaging 5.6 points and 2.9 assists per game.

The trade ended weeks of speculation over what the Jazz would do with Bogdanovic and his $19.5 million salary, with the Lakers and Suns being named as more likely suitors.

The Pistons came into negotiations with an offer that the Jazz preferred.

It’s a trade that provoked confusion among league observers on Thursday. The Jazz had been so pick-focused in trading away All-Stars Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, and it was surprising that the Jazz didn’t receive any — not even second-round selections — in exchange for Bogdanovic.

But offers from other teams had longer-term salaries attached to them. Some contending teams for Bogdanovic struggled to meet Bogdanovic’s salary in trade-matching conversations.

In the end, the Jazz believed this deal would balance the roster somewhat. Out goes Bogdanovic, making room for the newly drafted Ochai Agbaji, along with new additions Lauri Markkanen, Simone Fontecchio and Jarred Vanderbilt to play the forward positions. In comes Olynyk, a capable pick-and-pop center who can credibly play with lead guard Collin Sexton.

The deal saves the Jazz $5.6 million in salaries for this season, while adding at least $3 million next season. They now have 18 guaranteed contracts on the roster for next season, which they will have to cut down to 15 by the beginning of the regular season.

This story will be updated.