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Early success means Jazz have some options to consider on trade market

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Injuries and slightly larger sample sizes have sparked a bit of trade chatter in the NBA as the league calendar approaches the Dec. 15 launch date, when free agents from this offseason will qualify for the deal.

We’ll start in Utah, where successful jazz rivals are wondering what direction Danny Ainge’s front office will take after a surprising 12-7 start that led to second place in the Western Conference.

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How much time Mike Conley misses with a knee injury over the weekend could influence Utah’s decision-making if the Jazz’s competitiveness dwindles later. So far, Utah has signaled intent to keep star forward Lauri Markkanen and franchise favorite Jordan Clarkson and set a high asking price for Jarred Vanderbilt, sources told Sportzshala Sports, leaving Malik Bisley and Kelly Olynyk, along with Conley, as obvious Jazz veterans could move to the extreme. due date February 9th. Olynyk is known to be Ainge’s favorite.

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But what if Utah is no longer content to join the race for prospect Victor Wembanyama? The Jazz’s interest in Hawks forward John Collins is real, league sources say, and Utah appears to be considering how to add to that winning unit rather than subtract from it. For now, however, the likelihood of Collins landing in Salt Lake City seems low. Sources said that Atlanta approached the Jazz with an offer to trade Collins for Markkanen, but there was no interest.

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As for Utah’s powerhouses, Conley’s salary would have been the same as Collins’ if Atlanta had seen fit to add another point guard after Trae Young and Dejonté Murray. Though $22 million, of which $14.3 million is guaranteed for next season, is a lot for the tax-conscious Hawks to pay for an aging reserve with a recent injury history. Beasley would seem to be the best return for any theoretical deal that would bring Collins to the Jazz, but it would also require the addition of an additional Utah contract to reach at least $18.5 million for an outgoing package to take over. $23 million Collins owes this season. Sources say the Jazz were looking for a spot for Rudy Gay, who will almost certainly get his $6.5 million player option for the 2023-24 season.

Lauri Markkanen of the Utah Jazz celebrates with Jordan Clarkson during an NBA game against the Phoenix Suns on Friday, November 18, 2022 in Salt Lake City.  (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Lauri Markkanen and Jordan Clarkson helped the Jazz kick off this season unexpectedly. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Finding a home for Collins becomes a difficult task when you consider that the Hawks have manipulated the talented 25-year-old over several transaction cycles. There was real momentum in the Sacramento deal during this summer’s draft, sources say, but the Kings left with Kevin Hurter and seem pretty happy with this current iteration at the Golden 1 Center. Sources say the Wizards had a legitimate interest in Collins prior to last year’s trade deadline, but they have since paired Bradley Beal with Kristaps Porzingis, who helped root the Washington top 10 defense.

Jay Crowder on the block

While Atlanta remains one of the teams on the roster for Phoenix swingman Jay Crowder, league sources said the Suns showed no interest in taking on the remaining four seasons of the five-year, $125 million contract that Collins signed after the Hawks entered the 2021. Eastern Conference Final. This seems to be the consensus among competing executives. A good player with a solid long-term contract only brings that much trading interest when he is above market value.

Elsewhere in Atlanta, keep an eye out for Justin Holiday this trading season as rookie A.J. Griffin continues to make headway in Nate McMillan’s rotation despite Holiday’s close bond with the head coach from their Indiana days together.

Sources told Sportzshala Sports that Crowder’s other main fan is Milwaukee. Rumors swirled among league staff last week that the three-team structure with the Bucks that eventually landed Crowder was gaining momentum, though it’s clear the deal didn’t go through. Competitors’ front offices were contacted in various three-team schemes that could send Crowder overseas, the sources said. Atlanta never found a direct deal with Phoenix after months of contact. Milwaukee was trying to use Grayson Allen to sign the veteran Suns, the sources said, but that direct deal has yet to come through in the months since Crowder started the resistance. The Suns’ interest in KJ Martin led the Houston to several three-team concepts, sources said.

Detroit could be ready for a deal

In Detroit, the severity of Cade Cunningham’s shin injury led the Pistons to consider end-of-season surgery, leading opposition front offices to claim veteran shooter Bojan Bogdanovic will indeed become available before the February siren. This summer, the Suns and Lakers were two teams interested in trading Bogdanovich to the Utah.

Another Pistons player league staff being watched is third-year forward Saddiq Bey. Villanova’s product was recently demoted from the starting lineup before returning to Dwayne Casey’s starting lineup. Bey will be eligible for an extension this summer, and production has dropped noticeably. Detroit has taken early calls from Bey from teams dealing with issues, sources said, in a move that has changed since recent trading windows. But it looks like the Pistons are intent on appreciating Bey even more before truly entertaining his market.

Wait and see the Lakers

The last week of November will be an integral part of the Lakers’ decision making ahead of this unofficial trading season. Los Angeles won a three-game streak after losing to Phoenix on Tuesday night, but Anthony Davis scored a fourth consecutive 30-point game. LeBron James is close to making a comeback after his kidnapper. The Lakers now have a couple of games against San Antonio and then a home game against Indiana before closing out the month against Portland. That’s three fights against teams that expected lottery ball chasing rather than wins in preseason, plus a good litmus test against the fiery Blazers. If the Lakers don’t show enough during that time, it will be hard to see Los Angeles management deem a 2027 and 2029 first-round pick swap to be truly warranted.

Lakers mentioned interest in restricted free agent Miles Bridges. The Hornets will, however, have the right to match any list of offers for the Michigan State product, and teams cannot facilitate signing and trades during the regular season. Bridges is also expected to face a significant suspension upon his return to the NBA after refusing to contest domestic violence charges related to an incident in Los Angeles during the summer.

In the arena, Clippers head coach Tai Liu and the front office teamed up in search of frontcourt depth after Ivica Zubac, sources say. The two top centers in the trade this year are Miles Turner and Jakob Poeltle, although it seems more likely that the Clippers will target the switchable center as an option that Liu can replace Zubak against faster lineups rather than using a full smallball team. . .


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