The next few off seasons for the Utah Jazz may be as crucial as any in the franchise’s history. Will they jump to the Western Conference’s top tier, or continue being a bottom feeder in the playoffs?
Forget the typical 4-to-5-year team rebuilding, the Jazz could become real Western Conference threats with just one big move: trading Paul Millsap.
This needs to happen for two reasons: First, by trading Millsap the Jazz can acquire a much needed shooter. Second, up-and-coming teammate Derrick Favors is better suited for Millsap’s job anyway.
Utah Jazz General Manager Kevin O’Connor often refers to players as “assets”, and what better way to use an asset than to trade for someone who is better for the team? Of the players O’Connor should be shopping, Millsap is clearly the player with the most “exchange value”.
Millsap is set to earn $7.2 million next season, and he is worth every penny. Hard working, and over achieving, Millsap has a lot to offer other teams at that price. This makes him much more tradable than someone like highly-paid Big Al Jefferson, who doesn’t provide his $15 million salary’s worth of basketball. The Jazz will have a much easier time shopping Millsap and his reasonable contract.
The ideal trade would be for a shooter, or better yet, a scorer. Someone who can be trusted with the game on the line. Someone Coach Corbin can put the ball in the hands of, and expect the outcome to be a basket. Too many times, the Jazz looked lost in the final minutes of a close game. Not knowing where the next shot was going to come from.
Trading Millsap would not only get the Jazz a shooter/scorer in return, but would also free-up playing time for emerging Derrick Favors. Favors is no longer a player suited for the bench, and with Millsap out of the way, Favors can grow into the next great power forward.
At this point it is tough to say which teams are looking to make a deal for one of their shooters. The offseason is young, but you can bet over the next 4 months a good trade will present itself. Does Kevin O’Connor make the move to put the Jazz into contention? Or do the Jazz keep the same roster, and end up with the same outcome as last year? The 8th playoff spot was a necessary and valuable step for the Jazz, but the ceiling will be higher for the Jazz come next season.
As tough as the thought may be to trade a player who personifies the Jazz franchise, all signs say ‘go’, on trading Millsap. There are moves to be made, Mr. O’Connor, make some calls and build a better team by sending Millsap on his way.