So I was thinking about potential trades for us, which eventually led me to the Jazz message board, and now I'm focusing on working out a trade with them.
Here's the low-down:
The Jazz, as constructed, are decent. Not good, not bad. Same as last year for the most part. The West is incredibly deep this year, so they may not sneak in as an 8 seed this year, even though they're just as good, if not better than they were a year ago. They are aware of this, however, and while they are a competitive team as is, they know they are building for the future still. The Jazz are in a really interesting situation this year, with a big man rotation of Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Derrick Favors, and Enes Kanter. Obviously Favors and Kanter are their future down low. But at the same time, Jefferson and Millsap are both damn good players in their own right at the moment, and they still start for the Jazz. Not only do the Jazz have a surplus of talented big men on their roster, and a need for a better back court, but Jefferson and Millsap's contracts both happen to expire this season.
So if they don't trade one or both of them (or one or both of Favors and Kanter, to be fair) by season's end, then they'll hit free agency. The Jazz could decide to try and re-sign one or both of them, but bringing back both seems illogical seeing as it's going to cost a ton of money, and they'll still have the issue of not having enough minutes in the front court to go around. It is more possible that they'll try to re-sign one of them though, although it remains to be seen if they have a strong preference one way or another as to which one of them they keep. It's also possible they don't re-sign either of them, either because they choose not to, or because the players decide to sign elsewhere (a very possible outcome, because they are well aware of the surplus of big men in Utah, and they want to be somewhere that they know they'll play).
So the logical decision for the Jazz would be to trade one or both of them (Millsap and Jefferson, that is) at some point this season to acquire an asset or two, as opposed to losing them for nothing, or possibly sign and trading them away for a Trade Exception.
Currently they need to bolster their other three positions.
Right now here's what they've got:
PG: Mo Williams/Jamaal Tinsley/Earl Watson
SG: Randy Foye/Alec Burks/Raja Bell
SF: Marvin Williams/Gordon Hayward
Hayward plays a decent amount at SG as well, I believe.
So as you can see, it's a weak spot. A SF rotation of Williams and Hayward is actually pretty solid though. But outside of those two players, there really isn't much of anything talent-wise. Mo Williams is okayyy, but he's expiring, and he's clearly not ideally anyone's starting PG at this point in his career. Tinsley, Watson, and Bell are worthless. Foye is, well, we know Randy. And Burks is looking like a journeyman at best, although Jazz fans seem to be a little more optimistic that he's their SG of the future. I'm not so sure though.
In addition to their own 1st round pick in this coming draft, they also have Golden State's 1st round pick (top 6 protected). So that's most likely 2 1st round picks in the 7-16 range, IMO.
Anyways, I thought their unique situation might result in a possible trade opportunity for us, so I checked out their message board. Who knows if their message board is very representative at all of what the Jazz organization actually thinks, but they seem to be more than ready to part ways with Jefferson and/or Millsap. They expect Jefferson is going to cost about 4 years/$50 million on the open market, and they seem to agree that it's not worth it to them. They expect Millsap is going to cost about 4 years/$40 million, and they're more open to that, but still not that thrilled. Personally, I'd take Millsap over Jefferson any day of the week, especially if he's $10 million cheaper.
So I'm working on trades that would send Millsap to the Wizards.
Outside of our draft pick, and a few so-so prospects that we could throw together, we don't really have much to offer the Jazz for Millsap (because we're not trading Wall or Beal). So unless they get really desperate and no one is offering them anything, I can't see it working out.
But I did find one 3 way trade that I think makes a lot of sense for everybody involved.
TOR Out: Jose Calderon
TOR In: Emeka Okafor + UTA 2013 1st round pick
UTA Out: Paul Millsap + UTA 2013 1st round pick
UTA In: Jose Calderon + Jan Vesely + WAS 2013 1st round pick
WAS Out: Emeka Okafor + Jan Vesely + WAS 2013 1st round pick
WAS In: Paul Millsap
Why for Toronto: Calderon is expiring this year, and he's currently their backup PG. Toronto fans (who I have gathered are beyond delusional) would be willing to re-sign Calderon for about 3 years/$15 million or so. Personally I think Calderon will get more than that. And if he doesn't, then he might as well go to a contender instead of being the backup PG in Toronto. So basically, Calderon's almost definitely a goner after this season. They'd pick up Okafor who could be a decent addition down low, and he's only on the books for 1 more year, so it doesn't hurt them too much. They pick up Utah's 1st round pick (this could also be Golden State's pick instead) in the process. Utah's pick after making this trade is probably in the 10-14 range, IMO. So the Raptors rent a capable veteran big man for the next year, and they pick up a late lottery pick, just for giving up a guy who is almost definitely leaving anyways.
Why for Utah: Like I alluded to before, they have a surplus of big men, and Millsap is expiring this year. They don't need him because of their depth down low, and they might as well get something in return for him while they can. They could get Calderon for this season, and hopefully they'd agree on an extension for a reasonable amount of money. Calderon isn't a stud PG by any means, but he's a huge upgrade over Mo Williams. They'd also pick up Vesely in the process, who would simply be a backup big man for depth after losing Millsap (and possibly Jefferson). We could probably change Vesely to Booker or Singleton, if need be. And it got tricky predicting which of the draft picks are likely the most valuable, especially after factoring this trade, but I figured the Jazz would rather have the Wizards pick than their own. Yes, the Wizards would be better with Millsap, and if you add a healthy Wall and Nene back into the mix soon, then maybe they turn it around quickly and the pick ends up late lottery or so, but there's also the very real chance that they continue to be terrible, and it could easily be a top 5 pick.
Why for Washington: Emeka Okafor is solid, but he's nothing more than average. He's very replaceable. There's no denying that Millsap is a huge upgrade over Okafor. Same goes for Vesely, even if you buy into his potential down the road. Wizards would have Millsap and Nene starting down low. That's a great duo, and actually a fantastic combination, considering their strengths and weaknesses. We give up what could be a very high pick, but this draft class might not be that strong, and regardless, we clearly have had our issues with drafting the best players, not to mention developing them afterwards. At this point, I'll give up our high draft pick for a guy as good and relatively young as Millsap. This all, of course, hinges on Millsap's agreement to sign an extension with the Wizards at the time of the trade. If the Jazz fans are right, and we can get him at 4 years/$40 million I'd be THRILLED. But even if they're wrong, and it's more like 4 years/$50 million, I think Millsap's a guy who's worth it. Especially when you consider that we'd still be shedding salary by getting rid of Okafor and Vesely, at least in this coming year. And then we've got our core of Wall/Beal/Nene/Millsap. That's potentially a pretty damn good crew.