Do the Utah Jazz have interest in Juancho Hernangomez, Eric Paschall, Hassan Whiteside or Trent Forrest?
Hernangomez, Paschall, Whiteside and Forrest are all free agents and all played for the Jazz last year. Will the team bring any of them back?
With the NBA 2K23 Summer League underway, the Jazz are in full on evaluation mode, scouting young prospects hoping to find future rotation players.
With multiple open rosters spots — Utah has 16 players under contract currently and the ability to have as many 20 players on the roster during the offseason — the Jazz can add a few more players going forward and they know it.
“We are still going through,” Jazz general manager Justin Zanik said. “We are still in free agency and the offseason. We are going to look at every opportunity and obviously still have a couple of roster spots open.
“With the evaluation of summer league and any other opportunities that come up, we can continue to do what we can to balance and improve the roster, if those opportunities are there.”
Will the Jazz look to bring back some familiar faces?
Players like Juancho Hernangomez, Hassan Whiteside, Eric Paschall and Trent Forrest are all free agents who played for Utah last season, none of whom have signed with a new team yet.
The Jazz waived Hernangomez and didn’t extend qualifying offers to either Paschall or Forrest, but are they thinking about bringing them back anyway?
As of Saturday, it remains a possibility.
“We certainly haven’t closed the book on anyone,” Zanik said. “All of those players made good contributions for us. But free agency is a process and you have to take care of some of the major things first. Like I said, we have a couple of open roster spots right now.
“So we will get through that, through summer league and then we will finalize the rest of the roster. But by no means have we closed the book on any of those guys.”
Whiteside was the most significant contributor — of the four — for the Jazz last season, appearing in 65 games and averaging 8.2 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per contest.
Forrest appeared in 60 games with the Jazz during the 2021-22 season and averaged 3.1 points and 1.7 assists per game, while playing primarily as a potential defensive stopper.
Paschall, meanwhile, appeared in 58 games, scoring 5.8 points per contest.
As for Hernangomez — Bo Cruz as Jazz CEO Danny Ainge joked, referencing the Adam Sandler film ‘Hustle’ — he arrived in Utah at the trade deadline and appeared in 17 games, including the playoffs, averaging 6.2 points and 3.5 rebounds per game, while shooting 44% from 3-point range.
The Jazz have limited Bird rights for Whiteside, Paschall and Forrest — none for Hernangomez — and can use their mid-level exception, though Ainge noted “it just depends on what is available. We would for sure (use our mid-level exception) if we thought that player was going to make a difference.”
The Jazz also have the ability to open an additional two roster spots later this year, after signing Kofi Cockburn and Jordan Usher to Exhibit-10 deals, if they so choose.