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Former Jazz Exec Pumps Brakes on Offseason Rumor

Acquiring an All-Star via trade may not be in the cards for the Utah Jazz in 2023.

Despite being positioned to make some aggressive moves this offseason, the Utah Jazz may take a slow and steady approach to building their roster heading into 2023-24. Former Utah executive Richard Smith shared his insight on what could be going on at Jazz HQ this summer on ESPN 700's The Drive with Spence Checketts.

“They’re going to make decisions based on what they think makes sense for the long haul,” Smith told Checketts. “It’s not gonna be like, 'What can we do that’s going to help us win a handful more games next year?' It’s gonna be, 'What makes sense when our guys are maturing and getting their act together?' And Coach [Will] Hardy has been here 3-4 years, and his system is well implemented.”

This shouldn’t be a shocker, with Utah being several pieces away from contending for a championship. It’s also consistent with Jazz GM Justin Zanik’s comments in his end-of-season press conference.

“We’re not going to be pushed by a timeline,” Zanik said. “Like we have to be 'X' by this time of this year or the next year. It’s just a continuous timeline of trying to make really good decisions.”

The prospect of the Jazz obtaining an All-Star caliber player via trade this year is probably not on the table. A couple of names that have been brought up as potential targets in the social media arena are Jaylen Brown and Damian Lillard, but it’s unlikely anything will materialize. 

Brown does have ties with Jazz CEO Danny Ainge, but dishing out a max contract paired with the draft capital it would take to acquire an All-Star may be a little premature at this stage. Utah still needs time to find out what it's got in players such as Ochai Agbaji or Talen Horton-Tucker before jumping in with both feet on Brown.

Trading for Lillard would create quite the buzz in Salt Lake City, but if we’re being honest, the 32-year-old veteran doesn’t fit the timeline that Zanik alluded to. Lillard’s contract doesn’t end until he’s 36 years old, with $63 million owed in 2026-27. Taking that type of cap hit for a player that will be well past his prime is not a recipe for sustained success.

It appears the Jazz may have another year of feeling out the current roster before they push their chips in the middle on a franchise-changer, but this doesn’t mean Ainge will be sitting on the sidelines, either. Utah’s front office should be exploring opportunities to move up in the 2023 NBA draft, and Jazz fans can also anticipate an upgrade or two via free agency. 

Free agents will officially be allowed to negotiate contracts beginning on June 30, while the draft is on June 22.

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