Vying to come out on top of the Dwight Howard free agency sweepstakes, the Golden State Warriors instead turned to the Jazz earlier Friday in an effort to carve out the requisite salary cap space to sign Andre Iguodala.
Utah's reward: the considerable salaries of Richard Jefferson and Andris Biedrins, as well as young shooting guard Brandon Rush.
Yahoo! Sports NBA writer Adrian Wojnarowski and TNT's David Aldridge tweeted Friday afternoon about the trade and subsequent agreement between Iguodala and the Warriors.
Source says the Warriors are sending Andris Biedrins, Richard Jefferson to the Jazz. Checking on what they're getting back.— David Aldridge (@davidaldridgedc) July 5, 2013
Andre Igoudala has reached agreement with Golden State on a four year, $48 million deal with the Warriors, league source tells Y! Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 5, 2013
Brandon Rush is the third player going to Utah in the Jefferson-Biedrins salary dump, league source says.— Ken Berger (@KBergNBA) July 5, 2013
League sources later confirmed the deal to Deseret News beat writer Jody Genessy.
Just confirmed that the Jazz are receiving Andris Biedrins, Richard Jefferson and Brandon Rush in a trade with the Warriors.— Jody Genessy (@DJJazzyJody) July 5, 2013
In addition to the three players, Utah will also receive multiple draft picks, including first-round selections in the 2014 and 2017 drafts, according to Wojnarowski.
Golden State is sending multiple draft picks to Utah to unload the $24 million, including 2014 first-rounder, sources tell Y!— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 5, 2013
The trade was made possible due to Utah's considerable amount of cap room, which allowed the Jazz to take on salary without giving back more than Kevin Murphy's non-guaranteed contract.
ESPN's Marc Stein tweeted Friday morning that the Jazz and Warriors engaged in trade talks centered around former Utah Ute and valuable big man Andrew Bogut, but those discussions never led to anything substantial.
Now, it appears those talks have culminated instead in the acquisition of Jefferson, a 12-year veteran small forward, and Biedrins, a shot-blocking and rebounding specialist. Rush, a 41.3-percent 3-point shooter for his career, provides the floor-spreading presence Utah desired heading into the offseason.
The two veterans provide much-needed depth and experience for a Jazz team that could potentially start four players all 23 years old or younger next season (Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter and Trey Burke).
For that depth, the Jazz have sacrificed their financial flexibility (approximately a combined $24 million) in three players who saw their minutes decline in the wake of Golden State's younger players, who eventually carried the Warriors to the second round of this year's NBA playoffs.
All three players' contracts expire at the conclusion of the 2013-14 season.
Jefferson averaged a career-low 3.1 points per game in just 10.1 minutes per contest last season for the Warriors. Utah will be his fourth NBA team. Biedrins is coming off a season in which he averaged career-lows in nearly every significant statistical category.
As for Rush, the former Kansas Jayhawk missed nearly the entire 2012-13 season with a torn ACL.
The NBA's annual moratorium over free agent signings and trades ends July 10. At that point, any and all player transactions may officially take place.
Matt Petersen is the sports Web editor for DeseretNews.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @TheMattPetersen.