Potential Trade Scenarios, Packages for Utah Jazz to Replace Rookie Trey Burke
Well, it's safe to say that Trey Burke's rookie season isn't beginning as strongly as he would have hoped.
The No. 9 pick in the 2013 NBA draft fractured his right index finger during a preseason contest, and now, according to Utah Jazz beat writer Jody Genessy, he "needs pins in his fractured index finger. He will be out 8-12 weeks after surgery, per his agent."
That doesn't bode well for the Salt Lake City residents.
They were almost completely relying on Burke during his rookie season, as John Lucas III is now the only healthy point guard on the roster. Does this mean that a move is going to be forthcoming in the near future?
Maybe, and if so, the Jazz should make one of the following decisions.
Potential Trade: Brandon Rush for Andre Miller
Brandon Rush, he of the expiring contract and unproven skills after returning from a torn ACL, is the best trade chip that the Utah Jazz have at their disposal. And he fits in perfectly with the Denver Nuggets game plan, as the team needs a "three-and-D" guy to help shoulder the load while Danilo Gallinari rehabs his own torn ACL.
Randy Foye and Evan Fournier don't make for a particularly potent partnership at the 2, and Rush would be a clear-cut starter as soon as he was healthy enough to be playing at full strength. Plus, the defensive potential of a wing pairing that featured Wilson Chandler and Rush would be staggering.
On top of that, do the Nuggets really need Andre Miller?
While the veteran point guard is a valuable player who mentors Ty Lawson and provides steady minutes of the bench, he isn't as important now that Nate Robinson is in town. The diminutive point guard is fully capable of taking on the bigger spot in the rotation, and those minutes have to come at the expense of some other guard, like the incumbent, for example.
On the Jazz, Miller would continue to function as a backup once Burke returned to health, but he could also start mentoring the future stud. And that's more valuable than winning games in 2013-14, as the Jazz are better off keeping up their losing ways and getting a better spot in the lottery.
Miller obviously isn't a part of the future plans, but he could make the Michigan product an even more valuable asset.
Potential Trade: Marvin Williams for Rodney Stuckey
Neither of these players matter too much to Utah, although Rodney Stuckey could take on point guard minutes for the Jazz until Burke is healthy enough to play.
Right now, Marvin Williams is an overpaid backup small forward. He isn't going to start games over Gordon Hayward, nor should he at this point in his career, even if he remains a solid and well-rounded player.
Williams' presence on the roster prohibits Hayward and the other young players (Jeremy Evans, for example) from receiving as many minutes as they should during a developmental season. But on the Detroit Pistons, he could actually be the primary backup to Josh Smith and contribute positively.
In fact, I'd go so far as to call him the potential piece who could push this team into the playoffs, especially because his three-point stroke brings a certain element of floor spacing.
Is Stuckey that guy? Definitely not.
Between Brandon Jennings, Chauncey Billups, Peyton Siva and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, there isn't a need for another guard. Utah doesn't need him either, but the Jazz certainly wouldn't mind picking up his expiring contract and creating even more financial flexibility for the coming offseason.
Potential Trade: Brandon Rush for Kendall Marshall and Malcolm Lee
While the suggested moves with the Denver Nuggets and Detroit Pistons were either dump trades or swaps geared toward acquiring a mentor for Burke, this deal actually has long-term ramifications for the Jazz.
Kendall Marshall will never live up to his potential while he's on the Phoenix Suns. With Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe both blocking his way now, the minutes that he receives will be sparse at best.
The North Carolina product did not have a good rookie season. And that's putting it kindly. He averaged 3.0 points, 0.9 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 0.5 steals and 0.1 blocks per game while shooting 37.1 percent from the field and playing horrific defense.
All of the concerns that surfaced before he was drafted became realities. He couldn't shoot the ball, and he most certainly couldn't do anything on the less glamorous end of the court besides ushering opposing players right past him and into the paint.
However, that doesn't mean his NBA career is over. Plenty of players have become quality contributors after struggling during the first go-around, and Marshall is still only 22 years old.
The Jazz are in position to take on a risk like that, and the first few weeks of the season would be a great time for the southpaw to show off his skills in a new location. Sometimes a change of scenery is all that it takes on the road to emergence.
Potential Trade: Brandon Rush and Jeremy Evans for Jimmer Fredette and Patrick Patterson
Can we bring Jimmer Fredette back to Salt Lake City?
Of course we can!
Not only would Utah fans be quick to embrace him after his college exploits for BYU, but the 24-year-old guard has actually shown flashes of an ability to develop into a quality player. Maybe not a starting-caliber guard, but at least a backup who can play some decent minutes.
After a miserable rookie season, Jimmer shot 42.1 percent from the field and posted a 14.6 PER during the 2012-13 campaign, coming in just shy of the league average. He also drilled 41.7 percent of his three-point attempts en route to scoring a highly respectable 18.4 points per 36 minutes.
Maybe I'm in the minority, but I haven't given up on his long-term potential. Not even a little bit.
Patrick Patterson also helps make the return for Brandon Rush and Jeremy Evans even more valuable. The power forward, much like Fredette, doesn't figure to get enough playing time since he's part of the team-wide logjam for the Sacramento Kings.
But he can be a quality first big off the bench, backing up Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter while playing more than he ever would in Sac-Town.
The Kings get to unload some of their clutter, adding two high-potential players, and the Jazz still get the better haul.
No Trade at All
The Utah Jazz don't have to make a move, of course.
They could be perfectly content to sit back and see what unfolds with John Lucas III running the show at point guard and Alec Burks sliding over to fill in whenever necessary. It's not like the Jazz are trying to win games and compete for a playoff spot, after all.
At the end of the day, the primary goal in Utah is twofold: The front office must evaluate the current talent on the roster, determining the long-term potential and who is a part of the future plans. Additionally, it must keep all the options open for the future.
If a trade messes with either of those goals, it just isn't worth making.
In the absence of a deal to acquire a new floor general, Utah would be paper thin at the 1. But again, that's not the end of the world, especially since Burke might end up returning on a quicker timetable than the one originally forecasted.
On Twitter, the rookie point guard had this to say about his recovery: "8-12 weeks is very unreasonable people and idk who made that up. I appreciate the support and prayers but 4-6 weeks is more likely. Thanks"
It wouldn't be too hard to hold tight for a month and a half. In fact, it may be the best decision of all.