The Utah Jazz are actively engaged in a rebuilding effort that began by parting ways with Royce O'Neale in a trade with the Brooklyn Nets. The two All-Stars, Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, were next to be on the move. Patrick Beverley was then traded before ever playing in a game after being acquired in the Gobert trade.
With the start of training camp near, the Jazz made another move. They traded Bojan Bogdanovic to the Detroit Pistons in exchange for Kelly Olynyk and Saben Lee. No draft picks were involved in the swap.
With Bogdanovic being set to earn $19.5 million on an expiring salary, the Jazz sought not to add additional salary beyond the 2022-23 season to their books. They would have had to take on unfavorable salaries in trade packages that would have landed them a projected late first-round pick.
Olynyk is set to earn $12.2 million in 2023-24 in what will be the final year of his contract, but an important factor is that only $3 million is guaranteed. Given that Olynyk played for the Boston Celtics during Danny Ainge's time running the front office, it makes sense why he may be valued more.
The Jazz still have some veteran players that could be traded soon. Some of the top names include Mike Conley, Jordan Clarkson, Malik Beasley, and Rudy Gay.
Should the Dallas Mavericks have an interest in being what our man Mike Fisher calls "a vulture'' and pursing any of these options?
The concept: The Jazz might be in an emotional fire-sale free fall. ... and in terms of being a contender? That carcass is no longer moving.
So, Mavs ... pick at the carcass.
While there undoubtedly are negatives to both, Conley and Clarkson stand out as the main names that could provide a positive impact for the Mavericks. Following Jalen Brunson's departure, there is a lack of a reliable third creator in the backcourt and either player would add depth in that regard.
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If either Luka Doncic or Spencer Dinwiddie was to go down with an injury, the lack of shot creation and playmaking in the backcourt would be staggering considering Frank Ntilikina is currently expected to play an important bench role. Jaden Hardy will also develop, but counting too much on rookies can be risky.
The primary mechanism the Mavericks have at their disposal in trade negotiations with a rebuilding team like the Jazz appears to be Dwight Powell's $11.0 million salary. He is in the final year of his current contract while names like Tim Hardaway Jr. and Davis Bertans still have three years remaining.
Powell is set to earn near the $13.3 million that Clarkson is owed in 2022-23. However, reaching the minimum requirement for salary matching to acquire Conley would be challenging without forcing the Jazz to take on future salary.
Theoretically, the Mavericks could send an unfavorable contract like Bertans or Hardaway Jr. to a third-team in a multi-team swap, but that suitor would need to be compensated for making such a move. The cost would be raised all the more after having to make it worth the Jazz's while to send out Conley in the first place.
It could be beneficial to make such a maneuver for the Mavericks if it means adding meaningful backcourt depth while parting with a substantial negative contract. However, there are still concerns about how much the soon-to-be 35-year-old guard has left in the tank after a disappointing playoff appearance.
The Mavericks don't have to resolve a roster concern immediately, though. There is the option of waiting for a more favorable trade target to emerge as an option. A midseason move proved quite successful last year when they acquired Dinwiddie.
You can follow Grant Afseth on Twitter at @GrantAfseth.
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