The Utah Jazz’s in-season turnaround has thrust them into the Play-In Tournament hunt, but that won’t stop their front office from acquiring a first-round pick at the deadline. The Jazz are sending Kelly Olynyk and Ochai Agbaji to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for Kira Lewis, Otto Porter Jr. and a 2024 first-round pick.
ESPN first reported the deal. The move gives some extra size and depth to the Raptors interior, along with a nice wing player to join the group of athletic wings Masai Ujiri typically loves to acquire. For the Jazz, we’ll see if this marks the beginning of the end for their postseason pursuit. The red ink is out, so let’s throw some grades down on this trade.
Raptors acquire Kelly Olynyk, Ochai Agbaji
The Raptors already acquired RJ Barrett during this season, so are they in the middle of acquiring as many Canadian players as possible? Is this a homegrown marketing campaign? Will the Pistons try to convince Ujiri that Killian Hayes is French Canadian to get him on the roster too? From a basketball sense, the Raptors grabbing some versatile size is interesting. They haven’t had a great season (18-33 entering today), but they’re only four games out of the Play-In Tournament behind the Atlanta Hawks. And their team is better than their record would indicate, even after trading Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby this season.
Now, they’re bringing in Olynyk, who can be the backup to Jakob Poeltl or play alongside Poeltl in gigantic lineups. Olynyk provides so much as a veteran big man. He’s a great shooter from outside (career-high 42.9 percent this season). He’s tough and strong with the interior. He can help with some rebounding issues the Raptors have. He’s also a great playmaker at his position. He really does it all, and the Raptors just need more versatility in their approach on both ends of the floor.
Agbaji isn’t the outside shooter many hoped he’d be coming out of Kansas, but there’s still plenty of potential there to extract. He’s a ridiculous athlete and can be a very good defensive player. He’ll fit in nicely to what the Raptors try to do on that end of the floor. He can switch multiple positions and is a strong wing, despite being “just” 6-foot-5. Agbaji can help create some turnovers and get out in transition.
Olynyk will be a free agent this summer, and Agbaji is still on the third year of his rookie-scale contract.
Jazz acquire Kira Lewis, Otto Porter Jr. and a 2024 first-round pick
This is really about the draft pick the Jazz acquired. It’s the least favorable of the Clippers, Rockets and Jazz pick in this year’s draft, so that will probably land it in the No. 27-30 range. The Jazz are pretty confident in their scouting and development departments, so even a pick at the back end of the first-round could be something valuable for them, even when it’s a weaker draft. The Jazz know they can find diamonds in the rough.
The rest of the trade is basically just contract filler. They had to give up a nice prospect like Agbaji in order to get the first-round pick here. Kira Lewis, who was in New Orleans to start the season, might get some chances at the point guard position for Utah, but that only happens with injuries. They love their rotation of Kris Dunn and rookie Keyonte George at the position. Porter could provide some help to them with his size and versatility on the wing, but this is still about acquiring yet another pick for Utah.
This article originally appeared in The Athletic.