Jazz's 2022 Free Agents, Targets and Draft Needs After NBA Playoff Loss

Doric SamContributor IApril 29, 2022

Jazz's 2022 Free Agents, Targets and Draft Needs After NBA Playoff Loss

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    Ashley Landis/Associated Press

    After falling to the Dallas Mavericks in six first-round games, the Utah Jazz are turning the page to the offseason and building toward next year.

    Utah went 49-33 this year and finished fifth in the Western Conference. It was just a year ago that it had the best record in the NBA, so general manager Justin Zanik will be tasked with making the right moves to get the team back into title contention.

    With the star duo of Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert signed through 2026, it will be paramount for Zanik to add the right pieces around them. He'll have to rely solely on free agency, though, as the Jazz currently don't own any picks in the 2022 draft.

    Per Tankathon, Utah's first-round pick at No. 22 is owned by the Memphis Grizzlies, and their second-round pick (No. 52) is owned by the New Orleans Pelicans.

    Here's a look at where things stand for the Jazz heading into the offseason.

Free Agents

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    Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

    Unrestricted Free Agents

    Hassan Whiteside

    Danuel House Jr.


    Restricted Free Agents

    Eric Paschall

    Trent Forrest


    The Jazz have the benefit of bringing nearly their entire team back next year, and their free agents are fairly inconsequential.

    Hassan Whiteside will likely draw some interest on the open market from teams looking to add a veteran to their frontcourt. He averaged just 17.9 minutes per game while playing backup center behind Gobert, so it wouldn't be a surprise to see Utah let the 32-year-old walk.

    Danuel House Jr. originally joined the the Jazz on a 10-day contract in January before the team signed him for the remainder of the season. He provided solid depth on the wing thanks to his 43-percent average from three-point range. While it might be a good idea for the Jazz to retain him, there are better options available in free agency they should prioritize instead.

    Eric Paschall and Trent Forrest both averaged 12.8 minutes off the bench this season. Neither is expected to command big money in contract negotiations, so the Jazz would have the chance to match any offer for either of them if they so choose.

Offseason Targets

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    Alex Brandon/Associated Press

    The Jazz are projected to have a salary-cap number of $164.4 million, per Spotrac, so the team will have to get creative if it hopes to add a top-tier talent this offseason.

    It's hard to imagine Utah trading away Mitchell or Gobert, but after another early playoff exit, the front office could look to get aggressive and blow the whole thing up. In February, B/R's Grant Hughes listed the pair among the players most likely to be traded this offseason.

    Both Mitchell and Gobert have publicly expressed a desire to remain in Utah. So for now, we'll assume the Jazz prefer to build around their two stars.

    Utah could look to move on from veteran small forward Bojan Bogdanovic and seek an upgrade on the wing. While he's a sharpshooter from beyond the arc who averaged 18.1 points, he is 32 years old and set to make $19.55 million in the final year of his contract. The Jazz would open up a significant amount of space by shipping him to another team.

    Adding another playmaker should be Utah's top priority this offseason. Besides Mitchell and Jordan Clarkson, it doesn't really have any players who can create for themselves and their teammates consistently. Mike Conley isn't the player he once was and can't be depended on as a secondary scorer.

    In a perfect world, Utah would put together a trade package to entice the Washington Wizards to send them Bradley Beal. Or it would have enough cap room to sign free-agent wing Zach LaVine. Unfortunately, the team likely doesn't even have the space to chase rising but less established stars such as Jerami Grant and Miles Bridges.

    Utah will likely be relegated to secondary talent such as P.J. Tucker, Josh Okogie and Taurean Prince. After trading fan-favorite Joe Ingles midway through the year, it could also look to bring him back at a discount while he recovers from a torn ACL.