On Thursday night the 2022 NBA draft will signal the true beginning of the NBA offseason, and although the Utah Jazz do not own a pick in the draft, there are a lot of things that could happen in the coming days.

It’s important to recognize who is in charge and what that means before we dive into the possible scenarios the Jazz could face. Danny Ainge has earned a reputation as a shrewd businessman in the basketball world and that’s not just because he wheels and deals and is willing to make tough decisions, pushing loyalty to the side for the sake of success. It’s also because he plays the system.

There have been many instances over the years, when Ainge was leading the Boston Celtics’ front office, in which information leaked and trades were rumored only for Ainge to pivot at the last minute or to stay as quiet as a church mouse. Those are not accidents.

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A lot of people have referred to Ainge as the greatest of all time at the almost-trade, and while it’s true that sometimes deals fall through, there are also times when pulling out of a deal at the last minute or whispering in the right person’s ear is the smart decision.

So, there are bound to be more rumors, there are bound to be many calls made and there is bound to be movement this offseason. So what could the Jazz potentially do on Thursday night? Let’s take a look.

A major trade involving a first-round pick in the 2022 draft

The Jazz have been open to having conversations about trading major pieces on the roster — most notably Rudy Gobert. Two teams that have been rumored to have shown interest are the Atlanta Hawks and Chicago Bulls.

Those aren’t the only teams that are interested or have been in contact with the Jazz, they’re just the ones that have been mentioned the most in reports so we’ll use them as an example here.

The Hawks have the 16th pick in Thursday’s draft and the Bulls have the 18th pick. If the Jazz were to make a deal that included a first-round selection in this year’s draft, they could target one of the young, versatile wing defenders coming out of the college ranks while also bringing back other pieces.

A lesser trade that nets a future pick or second-round selection

The Jazz aren’t just fielding calls about Gobert. They are willing to listen to any trade possibilities that might come their way and it’s not guaranteed that they even find a deal that they find acceptable that includes Gobert.

So other players like Mike Conley, Bojan Bogdanovic, Jordan Clarkson and Royce O’Neale could potentially be on the trading block. Depending on what kind of package the Jazz are able to net, they could end up dealing their way into the second round of Thursday’s draft, or acquiring future picks.

Patient silence

The Jazz could also do nothing on Thursday.

Though they are certainly not going to stay quiet through the entirety of the offseason, there might be teams who are willing to make a deal with the Jazz that want to wait and see who they end up with after the 2022 draft.

So, the Jazz’s biggest offseason moves might not involve a pick in this draft at all and could come after the draft dust settles.

Picking up undrafted free agents

I pretty much see this as a guarantee.

The Jazz are going to want to fill out their Summer League roster and get some good players on the Salt Lake City Stars team for the upcoming season. Most of the Jazz’s pre-draft workouts have been centered around players who could end up going undrafted and they didn’t bring in those players just for funsies.

Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith looks at Danny Ainge at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021.
Danny Ainge, left, and Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith, speak about Ainge’s new role as CEO of Utah Jazz Basketball, in charge of all basketball decisions, at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021. | Laura Seitz, Deseret News