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Is the price right for the Jazz?

Is Nikola Mirotic worth a first round pick?

You’re not going to fleece them. This isn’t going to turn into a dream scenario where the Utah Jazz unload Derrick Favors or Alec Burks and back comes Nikola Mirotic. Close the Trade Machine tab.

According to KC Johnson of the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Bulls General Manager Gar Forman wants a first round pick. And he has the leverage to do it. The Detroit Pistons and Portland Trail Blazers are bidding alongside the Jazz. Add on to that, Mirotic is posting career best numbers since returning from injury (17.4 points per game/ 7.0 rebounds per game/ 22.9 PER). He’s shooting a sizzling 46.5% from three through 17 games. Forman can drive up the price and pit these three teams against each other.

Desperation is a powerful motivating factor. It got the United States the Louisiana Territory, easily the biggest real estate fleecing in history! Now, the Blazers need a scoring punch to help improve their sagging isolation-heavy offense. Now whether or not Mirotic solves Portland’s problems is another issue. The Pistons are pushing for substantial results under Stan Van Gundy. Detroit is looking for just its second playoff appearance since 2010.

Mirotic’s interest in playing for Quin Snyder is a plus, but if the Bulls exercise their team option, his no-trade option evaporates. He may want to be here, but Chicago doesn’t have to bend to his demand.

As of right now, Utah is pegged for the 11th pick in the 2018 draft. A pick in that range is too valuable to give up. As Andy Larsen laid out, a move would most realistically involve multiple teams. As it stands, Derrick Favors appears to be the primary piece involved in trade talks, according to our Jazz Insider Tony Jones. But how big is the market for a power forward with an expiring contract?

My favorite Larsen approved transaction involves the Cleveland Cavaliers sending Channing Frye and a first-rounder to the Bulls in exchange for Favors. This is perfect for all sides. Chicago gets worse, Cleveland gets a defensive big, and Utah gets Mirotic. But ultimately, this relies on the Jazz convincing another team to throw in a first round pick Utah is unwilling to spend. Additionally, Favors’ market relies on DeAndre Jordan being unavailable. Again, you’re hoping for desperation.

Sports Illustrated’s Andrew Sharp told Gunther & Hackett on Wednesday he liked the thinking behind the move.

“The Jazz could use a jolt of offense from wherever they could find it. I would be reluctant because Mirotic has been pretty streaky over the last three or four years, but over the last month or two he’s been fantastic. It’s a smart gamble if they can get him on the cheap,” Sharp explained.

Unfortunately, it appears the price is just too high.


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