The Utah Jazz have already traded a pair of franchise pillars. As CEO of basketball operations Danny Ainge continues a full-scale rebuild in Salt Lake City, don’t expect the Jazz front office to be any less aggressive tearing down what’s left of its incumbent roster.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported in wake of Mitchell’s stunning trade to the Cleveland Cavaliers that Utah isn’t “done dealing,” signaling the forthcoming departures of solid veteran Bojan Bogdanovic, Mike Conley and Jordan Clarkson.
Utah still has coveted veteran trade asserts, including Bojan Bogdanovic, Jordan Clarkson and Mike Conley Jr. They'll approach an Oklahoma City-esque haul of draft assets once they're done dealing. Jazz consider Markkanen, Sexton and Agbaji keepers for their rebuilding roster.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 1, 2022
After netting king’s ransoms from the Cavaliers and Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for Mitchell and three-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert, Utah is armed with a whopping seven additional future first-round picks, all of which are unprotected. The Jazz also have the right to swap two future first-rounders with Cleveland and one with Minnesota.
Needless to say, Utah won’t exactly be trying to win in 2022-23 under first-year coach Will Hardy. Instead, they’ll continue seeking trades for incumbent veterans that burnish an increasingly hefty stockpile of draft assets and add to a budding core of young players.
Collin Sexton, in particular, could outperform the four-year, $72 million deal he signed with Utah as part of the Mitchell trade, and it wouldn’t surprise if Lauri Markkanen rehabbed his league-wide value in Utah after playing out position during his one-season stop in Cleveland. Talen Horton-Tucker, rookie first-rounder Ochi Agbaji and Jarred Vanderbilt could prove themselves as long-term answers with the Jazz.
Expect Ainge and company to work quickly finding trades for Bogdanovic, Conley and Clarkson, as well as sharpshooter Malik Beasley. That former-most pair was regularly linked to the Los Angeles Lakers before Rob Pelinka traded for Patrick Beverley last month. The Miami Heat have a gaping hole at power forward that could be snugly filled by Bogdanovic. Other teams with playoff aspirations or championship dreams will no doubt make calls on Utah’s veterans, hoping Ainge’s notoriously high asking prices in trades have come down following the departures of Gobert and Mitchell.
The Jazz might be the worst team in the league this season, but their failure will be by design. A new era is dawning in Utah. We’ll find out as soon as next summer’s NBA draft—and in many more to come down the line—what star young prospects will be added to it.