Editor’s note: Sixth in a series evaluating and grading every player that was on the Jazz’s final 2022-23 roster.

The final year of Kelly Olynyk’s contract is partially guaranteed, and the Utah Jazz have to make a decision by June 28 to either pass on Olynyk and pay him $3 million, or guarantee his 2023-24 salary of $12.1 million.

But, that decision seems to have already been made, and making it official will be more of a formality. During exit interviews last month Jazz general manager Justin Zanik and CEO Danny Ainge, said that they are not anticipating Olynyk going anywhere else.

“I would anticipate that we would be having him back,” Zanik said. “Obviously we’ll go through the offseason ... this is the kind of time to decompress and take a little bit of a break. We have some time to make those decisions, but I was really happy with Kelly’s contributions and he’s fit in great here.”

So why would that all be such an easy decision for the Jazz to make? It’s time to evaluate Olynyk’s year with the Jazz.

Kelly Olynyk — Grade B+

In Olynyk’s exit interview, I asked him if he thought he proved anything about himself this season.

“I don’t know,” he said, tilting his head slightly. “That’s a good question. Do you think I did?”

I told him yes and explained that I thought there was a bit of a narrative starting to form about his career being on its last legs. He’d been traded from Miami to Houston, a team at the bottom of the standings that was looking to rebuild but also lacked direction, then he signed a three-year deal with Detroit, another team that was on the bad end of a rebuild. Two short stints with bad teams and he’d been injured and didn’t play much.

So when the Jazz traded Bojan Bogdanovic to the Pistons for Olynyk, there wasn’t a lot of hope or interest in how he was going to perform. But with the Jazz, Olynyk showed that he is still really good and can add value to a competitive team.

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“Yeah, I mean, Houston and then Detroit, it was kind of weird. I was in Detroit and I was hurt and they were not good, yeah. So, you never know,” he said, musing a little on that narrative I’d mentioned. “Coming here, it was refreshing, you know? A fresh breath of air to come here and compete, start, and contribute to some successes and try and help the young guys and then bring them along and grow and learn, but still play and compete at a high level. I want to do this for as long as I can, so hopefully, like you said, that shows that I’m still here and still wanting to play the game of basketball at a high level.”

Olynyk’s per-36 numbers from this season were nearly identical to the numbers he was putting up in his early years with Boston and then Miami — 15.7 points, 7.8 rebounds, 4.7 assists, shooting 39.4% from 3-point range and 49.9% overall. Really the only negative about his game was that his turnovers increased a bit, which is understandable with a new team that was changing so much throughout the season.

If there was any doubt about Olynyk being able to produce at a high level at age 32, those doubts were proved wrong.

But even more so was what happened when Olynyk was not playing. The eye test is backed up by Olynyk’s on-off numbers — the Jazz were a better team with him on the court (a plus-9 win differential) and he was able to do a little bit of everything.

Kelly Olynyk has been Jazz’s ‘connective tissue’ this season. Who will be that for the Jazz in the future?

Jazz coach Will Hardy called Olynyk a “connective tissue” player and the kind of player that every team needs, no matter what stage the team is in. If a team is rebuilding, Olynyk’s wisdom and expertise are necessary to help young players along, if a team is trying to win games and contend, they need Swiss Army knife players like Olynyk who have experience in big moments and do the little things that help teams win.

Considering how well Olynyk played and how much he helped the Jazz’s young core throughout the season, and adding into the equation that Olynyk is a jovial and easygoing player who is good to have in the locker room, it’s not really surprising that the Jazz would want to extend his tenure in Utah.

Utah Jazz forward Kelly Olynyk yells for a foul after getting knocked down in Salt Lake City on Thursday, April 6, 2023. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News