The NBA Draft is less than 24 hours away, and the rumor mill has slowly started to turn. As usual, the Jazz aren’t really tied to any of the pre-draft news, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t actively looking to improve their roster behind the scenes.
The team most likely to trade their pick inside of the top 10 is the Memphis Grizzlies, especially if Luka Doncic is off the board by the time they are selecting at 4. The Grizzlies want to shed the contract of Chandler Parsons, and appear to be willing to move back in the draft to do so. The most likely suitor to move up appears to be the New York Knicks, who own the 9th pick in the draft, and would be willing to take a gamble on Parsons for the next two seasons, even with his horrendous deal. The Knicks appear to be eying Mo Bamba out of Texas with the 4th pick, a defensive stopper in the paint who would pair nicely with Kristaps Porzingis. Bamba certainly won’t be there at 9, so if the Knicks think he is a franchise changer, taking on Parsons is likely worth the risk.
Unfortunately for the Jazz, they likely don’t have the pieces to move up into the draft’s top 10, without sacrificing either Rudy Gobert, or Donovan Mitchell, both of whom appear to be untouchable from the Jazz perspective.
However, I wouldn’t rule out the Jazz trying to move up a tier on their draft board if they felt like they was a significant talent gap between say the 15th, and 21st picks.
Its been rumored that the Los Angeles Clippers picks at 12 and 13, the Denver Nuggets pick at 14, and the Washington Wizards pick at 15 are all available for the right price, and may be within in striking distance for the Jazz. The Jazz own all of their future first round picks, and could package two together to move up in the draft, should they believe they are likely to be drafting in the 20’s as long as Mitchell and Gobert are in Utah. If the Jazz were to have fallen in love with a prospect that dropped out of the top 10 picks, say Trae Young, Mikal or Miles Bridges, the Jazz could look to move up like they did last year to acquire Mitchell.
I would be surprised if the Jazz would be willing to take on long term salary, jeopardizing their long term flexibility in the free agent market, but may be willing to assume a few extra million in expiring contracts this season to free up cap space in 2019.
I am live in New York for the draft, feel free to tweet questions at me @BensHoops, and catch our live draft coverage all day on Thursday on ESPN 700!
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