Thursday, June 19, 2014
The Jazz have the assets to trade up for Jabari Parker
The Utah Jazz currently possess the #5, #23, and #35 pick in next week's draft and while they are happy to have a top 5 pick in this loaded draft, they will almost certainly not get the player they most want in the draft if they end up picking 5th. The player they covet is Jabari Parker, a freshman sensation out of Duke who plays the small forward position but handles the ball like he is a point guard and scores like he is a shooting guard. Parker is the most offensively polished player in this draft and probably the most NBA ready. It is no surprise that the Jazz want him based on his basketball skills alone. The fact that he is an active member of the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints suddenly makes him even more valuable to Utah because of how he would energize the fan base. It's obvious he is a perfect fit in Utah, but the question is can the Jazz get him? Upon looking at who the Jazz have under contract, they do have some options to trade up to get him. I will explore some of those options and also try to find the most likely scenario in which they draft him.
First off, if the Jazz are going to trade up to get Jabari Parker, that means the #5 pick and #23 pick in the draft will be packaged in a deal with one or two players. Which players might they be? Gordon Hayward immediately comes to mind because he is an impending restricted free agent and he plays the same position as Jabari Parker. Getting rid of Hayward and adding Parker would be an immediate upgrade for the Jazz at the small forward position. However, the Jazz will need more to entice either the Bucks (#2) or Cavaliers (#1) to give up their pick. That's where Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter come in. If the Jazz want to trade up to grab Jabari Parker, either Enes Kanter or Derrick Favors will have to go. According to InsideHoops.com, the Jazz see Derrick Favors as more of a center, which could pave the way for them to trade Enes Kanter. Either way, the Jazz will need to trade either Kanter or Favors, the #5 pick, #23 pick, and likely Gordon Hayward to pull off a trade for the #1 or #2 pick. The question now is what situation is most likely to result in the Jazz getting Jabari Parker?
The most straight up situation is to make a deal with Cleveland for the #1 pick and send them the #5 pick, the #23 pick, Enes Kanter, and Gordon Hayward. Would Cleveland take the Jazz up on this offer? The revelations about Joel Embiid's fractured foot make things interesting. Enes Kanter is a really talented young center who has proven he can play well in the NBA and Gordon Hayward is still a promising young small forward. Getting those two players plus the #5 and #23 pick could be pretty tempting for the Cavaliers. Especially if they want a quality big man and feel worried about Joel Embiid's back and foot.
Milwaukee to me is the most likely team to be willing to make a deal with the Jazz. They are the most desperate team picking in the top 3 and they need a lot of help. Getting Gordon Hayward, Enes Kanter, the #5 pick, and the #23 pick in exchange for the #2 pick might sound like a good deal to them. Maybe they get a front court of Noah Vonleh and Enes Kanter out of it and then they trade Larry Sanders for another piece. All of a sudden, boom! They have themselves a really nice core of guys to work with. Of course, if they think Jabari Parker is a franchise changing player who they can build around for years to come, then they are much less likely to be willing to make a deal like this. But if they have any reservations about Parker or if they really think Utah's offer makes them a lot better overall, then they might make a deal with the Jazz. It all depends on what Milwaukee thinks of Parker, but I think odds are decent for the Jazz that the Bucks would make this move.
As for the 76ers, they play a strange role in all of this. Let's say they want to trade for the #1 pick to get Andrew Wiggins. What does that mean for Utah? Well, what if the 76ers, Jazz, Bucks, and Cavaliers orchestrate a weird 4-way trade? E.g. The Jazz get the #1 pick from the Cavaliers; the Cavaliers get the #5 pick, Gordon Hayward, and Enes Kanter from the Jazz; the 76ers get the #2 pick from the Bucks, and the Bucks get Thaddeus Young and the #3 pick from the 76ers plus the #23 pick from the Jazz. The Jazz get Jabari Parker with the #1 pick, the 76ers get Andrew Wiggins with the #2 pick, the Bucks get Joel Embiid with the #3 pick, Thaddeus Young, and another talented player with the #23 pick, and the Cavaliers get Enes Kanter, Gordon Hayward, and the #5 pick. With the #5 pick, the Cavaliers could either draft Marcus Smart/Dante Exum, which makes Kyrie Irving expendable at the point guard position or they draft Noah Vonleh/Julius Randle to give Irving a quality pick and roll mate to go alongside Kanter. The Cavaliers could walk out with three really quality pieces to work with that either keep Kyrie Irving happy or make his departure not such a big deal. I'm not sure Joel Embiid gets Kyrie Irving to stay in Cleveland and to be honest, I don't think Wiggins or Parker do, either.
This crazy four-team trade idea comes off as insane but it is possible. Especially since all teams involved benefit. The Jazz get the guy they want in Parker and the 76ers get the guy they want in Andrew Wiggins. Plus, I've heard that the Bucks like Joel Embiid so they may end up getting the guy who they want most in this draft. Now I will say that the revelation about Joel Embiid's stress fracture in his right foot does complicate things. But I think it's possible that this four way trade still goes down, but we simply substitute Joel Embiid's name with either Marcus Smart or Dante Exum who are both the top point guards in this draft.
As I have demonstrated, Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter, Gordon Hayward, and maybe even Alec Burks and Trey Burke are legit guys who the Jazz can use as trade chips to move up to grab Jabari Parker. I am confident that the Utah Jazz front office is scheming a way to make these trade chips work so as to get what they want.
---Ben Parker: follow me on twitter @nba_lord