The Utah Jazz are at a crossroads. They have added exciting young pieces in Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter, and Alec Burks. Utah holds Golden State’s 2012 first-round pick and might gain two additional lottery picks for three draft classes in a row. They also have veteran assets such as Devin Harris, Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, and the expiring contract of Mehmet Okur. The Jazz now have Tyrone Corbin coaching after a 23-year blessing of Hall of Fame coach Jerry Sloan.
The Jazz can take the team in three directions: make moves to contend, continue with existing pieces, or concede that the current team is not championship caliber and blow up the roster.
Contend: If the Jazz decide that they are not rebuilding, they have many pieces that other teams would want.
By combining draft picks, young talent, and Mehmet Okur’s expiring contract, the Jazz could trade for a player in his prime such as Andre Iguodala, Josh Smith, Lamar Odom, or Monta Ellis. Next, the Jazz would need to pay free agent Andrei Kirilenko whatever price he asks to stay with the team.
The Utah Jazz have missed the playoffs only three times since 1984, and trading for veterans would guarantee that they continue their tradition.
Should the Utah Jazz try to contend, continue, or concede?
Continue: A Jazz roster mixed with rookie and veteran talent is a more likely direction than would be a win-now strategy.
This strategy requires the Jazz to stand pat unless Paul Millsap is unable play small forward. The Jazz currently have five players who can play both power forward and center, so expect the Jazz to trade one of their big men for a wing or a point guard to tweak the roster.
If the Jazz continue along, expect them to make the playoffs with a first round exit.
Concede: General Manager Kevin O’Conner has admitted that the team is rebuilding, and the Jazz may need to step back to be able to step forward as contenders.
Veteran assets Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, and Devin Harris can be traded for young players, draft picks, and cap relief. This would be rebuilding and not tanking. The Jazz would miss the playoffs, but get to use their protected draft picked owed to Minnesota as well as a Golden State top 7 protected pick acquired from the Deron Williams trade.
After Deron Williams’s and Jerry Sloan’s departure, conceding that the Jazz are aiming towards the future gives them a chance to be contenders in three to five years by building around Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter, Gordon Hayward, and Alec Burks.
What direction should the Utah Jazz take?