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Commentary: Don’t despair Jazz fans, the offseason isn’t over

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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

Immediately following the 2022 NBA Draft, and even during it, large sums of Utah Jazz fans turned immediately to feelings of exasperation and despair.

It’s obvious to just about everyone that there need to be changes made on the Jazz roster.

To put it plainly, the players on the roster don’t seem like they’re destined to get substantially better and the sum of these players has proven that it can not win a championship.

So what were they doing on draft night? Why did they sit on their hands and refuse to make a deal? How could they be so blind to the need of any kind of movement?

Everybody just take a deep breath. In through the nose (remembering that we are still in the month of June), and out through the mouth (knowing that there are still more than three months left in the offseason).

Let’s look at this through a more realistic lens.

The Jazz have often not had very high draft picks but still worked out players that were going to be lottery picks. But this year they didn’t really work out anyone that would have been largely considered a lock to be drafted at all. Like it or not, they kind of showed their hand a little bit there.

The Jazz aren’t hanging their hopes on a rookie to come in and save things, and if they are a team that still has hopes of winning anything in the absolute immediate future, that’s probably a reasonable approach. Whether the belief that they can win with any iteration of this roster is reasonable is another argument for another day.

What about deals to move one of the more substantial players on the roster, couldn’t that have included a 2022 draft pick? Sure. But I think it’s fair to say that any deal that might have included a selection in this year’s draft did not impress the Jazz enough to move forward, at least not on Thursday night.

The NBA Draft is a very unofficial beginning to the NBA offseason. Technically, trades can be made by teams as soon as their season ends. Of course, many teams wait until after the NBA Finals, when all of the teams’ seasons have ended so that all teams can be included in conversations. The Finals conclude just before the draft, and there are so many unknowns and changes on draft night which is why there’s a lot of movement and why it is considered the beginning of the offseason.

But the important word here is “beginning.”

June 23 was not the end of the NBA offseason. The Jazz did not lose out on all of their potential moves just because they didn’t deal their way into the draft. The free agency window doesn’t even open until June 30. 

You might be thinking, “but the Jazz never have much success in free agency.” You are correct. But once other teams are able to see what the market has to offer and what kind of moves they can realistically make, then their options for trades become more clear.

The NBA Draft is just one piece of the offseason puzzle, and not even a piece that is necessary for every team to complete their puzzle.

This is the time where we get to really see what the Jazz’s front office is made of. This is the first real test that Danny Ainge has faced since becoming the CEO of Utah Jazz basketball.

If the Jazz are heading into October, still having not made any substantial movement to improve the roster or the future rosters and have not made any changes that are going to make a difference for this team, then all of the hand wringing and exasperated tweets and despondent quips will be completely justified.

But, the offseason has only just begun, so take a deep breath.