At this point in the off-season, the Utah Jazz will take what they can get.
On Thursday, it was reported that Utah was in talks to send the Boston bound Gordon Hayward to the Celtics in exchange for forward Jae Crowder. While Crowder isn’t an All-Star like Hayward, he’s a proven starter and game-changing defender.
But now it appears the Jazz might not get anything for Hayward, after all.
Boston needed to clear cap space to sign Hayward to the four-year, $128 million deal the two agreed upon on Tuesday. Celtics general manager Danny Ainge was reportedly shopping Crowder, Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart.
Early Friday morning, Boston agreed to a trade with the Detroit Pistons, swapping Bradley for Marcus Morris.
By letting forward Kelly Olynyk walk to the Miami Heat as a free agent and trading Bradley’s $8.8 million contract to Detroit, the Celtics have cleared over $30 million in cap space — or enough to sign Hayward to his $29.7 million first-year salary.
Morris is owed $5 million next season, so the Celtics will soften their financial burden by almost $4 million after the trade.
Unless a big name becomes available, which seems unlikely, expect the Celtics to remain out of any potential blockbuster trades.
Boston will now have a small forward rotation of Hayward, Crowder and 2017 third overall pick Jayson Tatum.
Utah could’ve benefited from Boston’s need to dump salary and would’ve gotten a starter replacement in Crowder, but that option is no longer available.
To make matters worse, the Jazz’s other targets are also off the table.
Sacramento forward Rudy Gay signed a deal with the San Antonio Spurs and Heat forward James Johnson will remain in Miami.
Utah’s front office will now have to get creative as they continue the search for Hayward’s replacement.
Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey can look to steal a restricted free agent — most notably Detroit’s Kentavious Caldwell-Pope or Washington’s Bojan Bogdanovic — by agreeing to a deal and essentially hoping the opposing team doesn’t match the offer. Or, they can continue to look for a trade, even though Crowder is no longer a possibility.