SALT LAKE CITY — Trade season is upon us.
NBA teams have until Thursday at 3 p.m. ET to wrap up any transactions that may be in the works.
With the recent four-game losing streak on the minds of many, there is clearly one area of concern when it comes to the Jazz, which could be the difference between them being a playoff team vs. a real contender.
While finding a more threatening backup center would be great and give the Jazz relief from relying completely on Tony Bradley or Ed Davis, there remains a problem when the Jazz are playing against a five-out team that stretches them away from the basket and forces Rudy Gobert to play in space.
In order to rectify that problem, here are five players who could potentially help:
Markieff Morris — Detroit Pistons
In my opinion, getting Morris would be a great low-risk, high-reward move for the Jazz. He is on a very friendly $3.2 million contract with a player option for next season at $3.3 million. Detroit is rumored to be shopping Morris for draft picks and could possibly be lured by the 2021 second-rounder that the Jazz have available but could also potentially be wooed by some young project-type players. Morris has been playing well in the absence of Blake Griffin. Yes, he is a natural power forward, but that could be the answer for the Jazz. Morris could be used to play some reserve minutes behind Gobert, especially in a small-ball type lineup, and he is shooting 39% from 3 this season.
Jakob Poeltl — San Antonio Spurs
This is not a trade that would fix the problem the Jazz have against spacing, shooting teams, but Poeltl is a serviceable big man who could end up being very valuable behind Gobert. Getting Poeltl wouldn’t be a long-term solution since after this season his current $3.75 million price tag is likely to dramatically increase in the offseason because after putting up impressive per-36 numbers and being just 24. Even though there would still be a spacing problem after acquiring Poeltl, his low-cost contract would still leave the window open for the Jazz to make another move for another piece.
Dario Saric — Phoenix Suns
Saric, also on an under-$4 million contract, is someone who, despite having numbers that are not incredibly impressive, is highly regarded in NBA circles as a trustworthy player who could add important minutes during the playoffs. Celtics coach Brad Stevens is one of many who has been on record as saying that Saric is underrated and is someone that is hard to play against. He has played stretch-five minutes in his career before and with Phoenix needing to make some frontcourt decisions, he could be a piece they look to move.
Frank Kaminsky — Phoenix Suns
As I said, Phoenix has an abundant frontcourt it needs to make decisions about. On a two-year $9.7 contract ($4.6 this season), Kaminsky comes in at a higher price tag than the previously mentioned names, but he is probably the most reliable floor-spacer on this list. While the Suns might not want to take on Ed Davis’ contract in return, the Suns could be a team that would go into a multiteam deal in order to get what they want, while sending out multiple pieces.
Chris Boucher — Toronto Raptors
The Athletic’s Blake Murphy wrote this week that Toronto “doesn’t seem particularly comfortable with Boucher as a centre in heavy minutes.” That may be the case for the Raptors, but Boucher has played well in his minutes for the reigning champs and he’s doing it on a league minimum contract. His per-36 numbers are an incredibly impressive 17.6 points, 12.2 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks. He is not a threat from outside, but he is a center who is willing to shoot from deep and has been known to knock a few down. It’s not clear if Boucher is even available, but Toronto is a team known to take calls no matter the situation.