The Utah Jazz trading Donovan Mitchell did not come as too much of a shock given that they were on the verge of a massive rebuild, however, trading him to the Cleveland Cavaliers shocked many around the NBA world.
For weeks, the narrative surrounding Mitchell was that he would eventually find his way onto the New York Knicks roster, but after extending RJ Barrett on a new four-year deal and being unwilling to negotiate further than their initial offers, the Knicks sank their own ship in regards to trade talks with the Jazz.
So much happened in trade talks surrounding Donovan Mitchell over the course of 48 hours and now, he joins the likes of other young, All-Star talents in Darius Garland, Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley in Cleveland.
For Utah, they are no longer in the championship picture in the Western Conference and will be going through what looks to be a multi-year rebuild after trading away both Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert this offseason. Now, the Jazz will turn their attention to the other veteran players on their roster in Mike Conley, Bojan Bogdanovic and Jordan Clarkson, possibly dealing them for more future assets ahead of the trade deadline.
When the Jazz first traded Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves at the start of July, teams around the league not only inquired about Mitchell, but they also inquired about Clarkson’s availability. The Memphis Grizzlies, Milwaukee Bucks, Sacramento Kings and Toronto Raptors were among those teams to show interest at that time, sources told Fastbreak on FanNation.
While no traction has been made at this time on any additional trades for the Jazz, their roster will be on many team’s radars entering the 2022-23 season due to the fact that they have players who can contribute on playoff contending rosters right now, Jordan Clarkson being one of those players.
Looking at some of the teams who showed initial interest in Clarkson, here are some trades that could wind up developing over the course of the next month or so.
Toronto Adds Much Needed Bench Scoring
Toronto Raptors Receive: G Jordan Clarkson
Utah Jazz Receive: G Malachi Flynn, F/C Precious Achiuwa, C Khem Birch, TOR 2023 2nd Round Pick
If there is one thing that the Toronto Raptors need in order to once again be a championship contender, it is viable scoring options to turn to on their bench.
Toronto ranked last in the league in bench points per game a season ago and while they have addressed this issue slightly this offseason by adding the likes of Otto Porter Jr. and Juancho Hernangomez on the wing, the addition of Jordan Clarkson would be grand for this franchise.
Clarkson immediately gives the Raptors one of the best bench scorers in the league and they would finally have someone who is capable of playing behind Fred VanVleet at the point guard position, giving the first time All-Star some much-needed breaks throughout the course of a season.
Last year, VanVleet averaged a career-high 37.9 minutes per game and he ranked tied for first in the league in minutes per game with his teammate Pascal Siakam. Wear and tear has resulted in Fred VanVleet missing chunks of time the last two seasons, which is why adding another proven talent in the backcourt like Clarkson could go a long way in the Raptors turning themselves into real championship threats in the Eastern Conference.
This outlined hypothetical deal is just the framework for what the Raptors would need to trade not only to make this trade work financially, but in order to peak Utah’s interest. The Jazz are not going to just get rid of Jordan Clarkson for the sake of doing so, as he is under contract through the 2023-24 season, assuming he opts into his player option next year.
Getting two young, former first-round picks in Malachi Flynn and Precious Achiuwa would certainly be the kind of value the Jazz would like to add, however, Khem Birch would likely be relocated to a third team in this deal. Moving Birch, who is about to turn 30-years-old at the end of September, would be difficult to do though, as he is owed close to $13.6 million over the next two seasons with no opt out clauses in his contract.
Grizzlies Push To Be No. 1 Seed In Western Conference
Memphis Grizzlies Receive: G Jordan Clarkson
Utah Jazz Receive: F Ziaire Williams, G Danny Green, MIN 2023 2nd Round Pick (via MEM), TOR 2024 2nd Round Pick (via MEM)
Memphis Grizzlies general manager Zach Kleiman is always looking to stay ahead of the curve and make moves to set the Grizzlies up for immediate success, which is why a move ahead of the trade deadline to bring in someone like Jordan Clarkson would not be too surprising.
They did recently bring back Tyus Jones this offseason on a very friendly contract for both parties, but adding another backcourt option, especially one that can replace De’Anthony Melton’s lost production, could be vital for this team to find playoff success.
When you look at the Grizzlies bench right now, they are definitely weaker than they were a season ago simply due to the fact that they are younger and less experienced. Tyus Jones, Brandon Clarke and John Konchar return for Memphis, but Ziaire Williams, Killian Tille and Santi Aldama are all unproven, young talents.
Not to mention, Jake LaRavia and David Roddy are rookies that have not played a single minute in an actual NBA game yet!
Danny Green is recovering from a torn ACL suffered last season, so he likely will not be available all year for the Grizzlies and while they are high on Ziaire Williams, this move could very well come down to contending right now or taking a chance on a young prospect for the future.
As long as they do not give up a first-round pick, Memphis would likely pursue Jordan Clarkson, but if Utah is demanding at least one first-round pick, the Grizzlies would likely back off and keep developing the young players they have.
Bucks Look To Get Back To NBA Finals
Milwaukee Bucks Receive: G Jordan Clarkson
Utah Jazz Receive: G Grayson Allen, G MarJon Beauchamp, MIL 2023 2nd Round Pick, POR 2024 2nd Round Pick (via MIL)
Perhaps the best landing spot for Jordan Clarkson should he be traded is the Milwaukee Bucks. Recently winning a championship in 2021, the Bucks will once again be title contenders in the Eastern Conference this upcoming season.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is one of the best players in the world, if not the best, and what makes Milwaukee special is that they can beat their opponents on both ends of the floor. Continuing to add depth in their second-unit was a key point of emphasis for Milwaukee in the offseason and they did so by not only retaining Bobby Portis and Wesley Matthews, but signing Joe Ingles as well.
The veteran sharpshooter will likely be ready to go at some point in 2023, likely after the All-Star break, and adding his former teammates in Jordan Clarkson brings the Bucks the little bit of extra production they were lacking a season ago.
Clarkson and Ingles finished No. 1 and No. 2 in the 2020-21 Sixth Man of the Year voting, respectively, and also having Pat Connuaghton out on the wing, the Bucks would arguably have the best scoring bench in the league when at full-strength.
Jordan Clarkson would be an upgrade from Grayson Allen for the Bucks and while they just drafted MarJon Beauchamp in the first-round, moving him and some draft assets for added value in Clarkson could deliver Milwaukee their second championship in the last three seasons.