Remember in 2011 when the Utah Jazz traded Deron Williams to the Brooklyn Nets (then the New Jersey Nets)? It seemingly came out of nowhere because there was hardly any information leaked about the trade. That’s because the Jazz like to make their moves under-the-radar like that. It’s how they play the trade game.
So with rumors circulating regarding Al Jefferson’s future in Utah, it’s not surprising that there aren’t many concrete bits of information about a possible trade involving him. However, one thing that is for certain is that the Jazz have to deal Jefferson before the Feb. 21 NBA trade deadline if they’re looking to do so.
Jefferson becomes a free agent at the end of this season and it’s unlikely that he will stay in Utah if they were to hold onto him for the rest of the campaign. And even if he were to stay, doesn’t it seem like this Jazz team has reached their pinnacle with Jefferson and Paul Millsap as their core and their primary frontcourt? It seems like it. Since that’s the case, it’s doubtful that the Jazz want to continue to finish in the seventh or eighth seed in the Western Conference, where they finished last year and where they currently sit now.
Given that, Jefferson has to be the guy that they put on the move. Jefferson is a fantastic offensive player, averaging 17.4 points and 2.4 offensive boards per game as well as shooting 48.5 percent from the field. There’s no doubt he has defensive shortcomings, but the value of an offensively sound center in the NBA can’t be understated because there really aren’t many in the league.
So instead of keeping him and either getting bounced in the first round of the playoffs or missing the playoffs and then having him probably leave Utah this summer, the Jazz should try now and get something in exchange for him.
The only catch to this is that they have to make sure that they get fair value and that they get players who will help him. They can’t trade him for cents on the dollar. They have to look for deals like ones that Chris Sheridan of Sheridan Hoops reported was being talked about between them and the San Antonio Spurs. This deal would land the Jazz Tiago Splitter, Patrick Mills and Stephen Jackson. Doing that would add to every aspect of their roster and give them a defensive center in Splitter to compliment the offensive play of Millsap.
No matter who Jefferson goes to, though, the Jazz have to deal him so that they don’t lose him for nothing. They just have to be wise about it.