Trade grades: Jazz snag veteran Shelvin Mack from Hawks

The Utah Jazz settled on a veteran point guard by acquiring Shelvin Mack from the Atlanta Hawks in a three-team trade with the Chicago Bulls. Who won the deadline deal? SI grades the move.
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The Utah Jazz, Atlanta Hawks, and Chicago Bulls have reportedly completed a three-team deal involving reserves Shelvin Mack, Kirk Hinrich and Justin Holiday, and a second-round pick. 

Who’s going where? Who won? Who lost? Let’s take a look.

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Utah Jazz: B

Jazz receive: Shelvin Mack

Utah’s need for point guard help earned a measured response on Thursday, when the Jazz flipped a marginal asset for a veteran placeholder. Mack was too good a player to be Atlanta’s third point guard, and certainly too good to play a largely distant third to capable superiors in Jeff Teague and Dennis Schroder. The Jazz offer a way out—an opportunity to play regular minutes, to work alongside a coach (Quin Snyder coached Mack in Atlanta) and star (Gordon Hayward played with Mack at Butler) with which he’s quite familiar, and to genuinely help a team in the playoff hunt. 

The pick Utah gave up in this deal is a 2018 second rounder that originally belonged to Denver, per Jazz radio broadcaster David Locke. The opportunity was there for Utah to send a future first (of which the Jazz own several) or package other players to get a high-profile lead guard. The impeding issue was the quality of the candidates in play; the likes of Ty Lawson and Jeff Teague didn’t make all that much sense for a team in Utah’s position. The means to make a move does not make one necessary.

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Mack, instead, gives Snyder a reliable option to either start or steady the Jazz bench. He’s a bigger, more physical option than Raul Neto or Trey Burke, worthwhile in diversifying Utah’s defensive options. Any offensive value Mack might offer depends in part on his ability to correct course on a disastrous long-range shooting (4-of-27, 14.8%) season. If he can bounce back to his more decent career numbers, Mack should make for an acceptable stopgap in Utah’s rotation.

There’s not a lot for the Jazz to lose or gain here, but they could certainly have done worse.

Atlanta Hawks: B-

Hawks receive: Kirk Hinrich

In concept, this is a shuffle of third-string point guards for a team that has a clearly established starter and reserve. There wasn’t an expressed need for the Hawks to trade Mack. There also wasn’t a terribly compelling reason to keep him, provided Atlanta could acquire a third guard for the sake of insurance. Hinrich satisfies that need and will be off the books next season.

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In the grand scheme of things: Mack is fine, Hinrich is fine, and neither much changes the outlook of Atlanta’s season. There’s not a lot of ground to be made up in swapping deep reserves, though the structure of the transaction suggests the Hawks see this as an upgrade. Hinrich is that, if only marginally.

Chicago Bulls: B-

Bulls receive: Justin Holiday and a second-round pick

True to form, the Bulls worked with financial savings in mind. Hinrich wasn’t entirely expendable (what reserve guard would be on a team that starts Derrick Rose?), though he was inessential enough for Chicago to prefer nearly $5 million in luxury tax savings. Gar Forman and his staff didn’t improve the Bulls’ chances of securing a playoff spot or making noise in the East, though they successfully—and significantly—helped Chicago’s bottom line.

Holiday, a long-armed defender who never saw much run in Atlanta, is a mere bonus. Chicago might not have the minutes to jumpstart his career nor the inclination to focus on his development, but there’s little wrong with adding a capable player to the end of the bench.