NBA Offseason Buzz: All Eyes on Utah Jazz Stars + Rumors of Knicks, Clippers, Pelicans | Bleacher report

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The offseason began for all but eight teams in the NBA League, and the future of no franchise has been a bigger subject of debate in league circles than that of the Utah Jazz. But despite all the talk of potential change in Salt Lake City after another premature exit from the playoffs, there’s reason to believe the main game in Utah isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Much of the talk across the league about the potential separation of triple defensive player of the year Rudy Gobert and triple All-Star Donovan Mitchell seems to have been generated by NBA actors outside the jazz franchise.

The 2023 NBA All-Star Game will be held in Salt Lake City, a detail that Jazz-related multiple league sources have identified as a key element of future franchise plans. It is of great importance to jazz governor Ryan Smith that Utah has more players in that classic in the half-season, sources say, much like the Cavaliers were represented by Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen during the Cleveland affair in 2022. It is also clear that Smith is willing to financially support the candidate, and the Utah leadership has no intention of entering into any renewal.

Jazz staff and various people in the league are referring most directly to the CAA over whispers that appear to be designed to encourage Mitchell to seek a replacement from Utah, particularly to New York. Jazz staff were very angry at Knicks directors William Wesley and Allan Houston and All-Star striker Julius Randle sitting by the court during Utah’s first game away against the Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the playoffs, sources said.

Randle is originally from Dallas, but Wesley and Knicks President Leon Rose has been hired from the CAA, the agency representing Mitchell, to pilot the franchise. And the New York representative office has so far been unable to deliver the All-Star blows of talent that organizations expect from former agents who have become CEOs such as Bob Myers and Rob Pelinka. The Miami Heat is mentioned as another franchise that closely follows Mitchell’s status in Utah.

However, Mitchell have three more years until the end of his lucrative contract before he could turn down the $ 37.1 million player option in the 2025-26 season. And Jazz did countless efforts to meet Mitchell’s happiness in Salt Lake City, from an exchange for Mitchell’s childhood friend Eric Paschall, to the dismissal of Health Vice President Mike Elliott after Mitchell was frustrated when Utah medical staff called to keep him aside for the first game of Jazz’s 2021 match. the first round against the Grizzlies, which resulted in defeat.

Utah’s unwavering commitment to Mitchell naturally led rival executives to name Gobert as a more likely candidate for the trade if Jazz investigated the duo’s breakup. Dallas, Atlanta and Toronto are potential Gobert destinations most discussed among league staff. But while jazz figures have clearly recognized the need for their list for defensive improvements, switching from Gobert would have seemed directly counterintuitive to fix those shortcomings.

The league staff speaks much more confidently about Jazz who wants to explore moving complementary pieces such as wings Bojan Bogdanović and Royce O’Neale. That could introduce Mike Conley’s All-Star spike to an interesting spike market that seems to be evolving this summer.

The future of Utah governance

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During his media availability at the end of the season on Monday, Jazz head coach Quin Snyder declined to talk about the status of his contract with the organization. Snyder often talked about his plans to further think about the jazz list with CEO Danny Ainge and general manager Justin Zanick, which made him sound pretty invested in returning to the Utah side.

“I’m going to meet Danny and Justin. I’ve already done some of that with our staff, kind of improvised,” Snyder told reporters. “But this whole process of thinking is something that has yet to happen at the level at which it will happen. You’re not happy, you have aspirations to be better and win more, and we’re going to try to do that.”

The noise around Snyder’s future in Utah seems to have come from a time when he turned down Jazz’s efforts to extend his contract. From there, the story of the league began to swirl. The NBA is as much a game of thrones as a business rooted in basketball, and the potential opening to the pilot of a perennial playoff contestant certainly elicits stray glances from coaches eager for the first or next chance to lead the team.

Although it is unclear what exactly motivated this pattern of detention by Snyder, several sources familiar with the situation told B / Ru that there was some form of disagreement between Snyder and Utah headquarters during the off-season 2021, before Ainge’s arrival. Snyder has one more year left on his contract, along with a 2023-24 option he could choose to pick up or turn down before that season. He has plenty of time to assess his own jazz position, especially as speculation continues about Mitchell-Gobert’s longevity pairing.

The end of his only remaining guaranteed year, or perhaps even his 2023-24 option, could be perfectly aligned with the timing of Gregg Popovich’s final withdrawal from San Antonio Spurs coach. Snyder managed Austin Toros, then a subsidiary of the San Antonio G League, from 2007 to 2010 and was one of many names connected as Popovich’s potential successor to the Spurs.

It’s a role seemingly coveted by every coach with the Spurs, from former head coaches like Brett Brown, Jacque Vaughn and James Borreg to longtime assistants like Will Hardy. Any figure who overlaps with Popovich claims that no one knows the legend’s plans for next season, not even Popovich. Although he seems motivated to return to the San Antonio side for at least another season, it is known that Popovich is currently traveling and thinking about his coaching future. One source told B / R that Popovich plans to visit Belgrade for the Final Four of the Euroleague later in May.

In addition, there is little expectation among figures close to the situation that Snyder will leave Utah before his contract expires. And despite all the speculation about potential changes in the Ainge undertakings, several sources from the league have indicated that the Jazz CEO has no immediate plans to shake Utah’s basketball business.

Ainge worked alongside a small cohort while leading the Boston Celtics, but expressed no desire to lead day-to-day activities in Utah, sources said. Prior to the 2021-22 campaign, Jazz hired several new front-office staff for three-year contracts with team options in 2023-24.

The only persistent talk of potential changes in management in Utah goes back to the idea that former Jazz CEO Dennis Lindsey, who resigned last June, is still mentioned as a strong candidate to lead rival franchise basketball operations if the opportunity arises in the near future. In that scenario, league figures expect Lindsey to try to bring famous jazz faces with her.

Knicks’ PG options come into focus?

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The controversial performance of the Knicks leader in Dallas has also raised eyebrows over the expectation that New York will aggressively pursue Mavericks Jalen Brunson as an unrestricted free agent. One source familiar with the Knicks front office even suggested to B / Ru that New York’s pre-trade efforts in February were primarily focused on freeing up enough space to offer Brunson a competitive contract this July.

But word of the Detroit Pistons ’interest in pairing Brunson with Rookie of the Year finalist Cade Cunningham, much like Brunson advanced alongside Dallas super-striker Luke Doncic, was as persistent as the Knicks’ desire for Brunson.

The Indiana Pacers, who hired former Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle last off-season, are another team known to have an interest in Brunson’s services. However, Dallas staff have also repeatedly reassured themselves that they will be able to keep Brunson after this strong postseason in North Texas.

The Pacers ’expected research into Malcolm Brogdon’s player trading market is another wonderful map to be glimpsed this summer. The Minnesota Timberwolves are believed to be similarly willing to assess D’Angelo Russell’s commercial value.

If the Knicks attack on Brunson’s landing, would Conley, another CAA client, function as a viable Plan B? Some New York City employees would rather look inside and give second-year quarterback Immanuel Quickley a serious chance to appear as the team’s starting quarterback after this year’s failed Kemb Walker experiment. But the Knicks could send Evan Fournier to Utah directly in exchange for Conley, boosting Jazz’s impoverished perimeter rotation as Mitchell is switched to rush hour.

Throughout Mitchell’s career, Jazz staff have pondered which position would best optimize their All-Star playmaker, just as Houston once considered shifting James Harden to the full-fledged lead role.

Other player destinations

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He is expected to be the leading candidate for the 2022-23 Championship, the filled list of Los Angeles Clippers seems to have a noticeable lack of talent in the rush hour, except for Reggie Jackson. Conley will turn 35 in October. A competition team like the Clippers would look like a natural landing site for someone like Conley.

A clean deal for Conley might be hard to find without taking into account Ivica Zubac’s starting center salary. The Clippers have been quietly researching the value of Luke Kennard before the exchange deadline, but with all his improvements, the Duke product wouldn’t quite fulfill Jazz’s obvious desire to upgrade on the wing in a defensive position.

A much simpler solution for the Clippers could wait on the other side of a potential buyout for John Wall in Houston. While one source familiar with the situation insisted B / Ru that speculation from Wall-to-Miami had become obsolete after Heat bought Kyle Lowry, the Clippers could welcome Wall on a discounted contract in a packed payroll. to soar far above the luxury tax threshold next season.

Outside of New York and Los Angeles, the Pelicans and Wizards are the only two teams the league staff have pointed out have clear needs to upgrade in their hinterlands. After a short run by the Wizards with Spencer Dinwiddie, they have a clean hole next to Bradley Beal if they manage to keep the All-Star Guard this summer.

New Orleans are not short of a ball capable of launching an attack between CJ McCollum and Brandon Ingram, plus the expected return of sensational striker Zion Williamson. However, as Devonte ‘Graham slipped out of the Pelicans’ post-season rotation, league data mentioned the 27-year-old as a potential trading candidate this off-season.

New Orleans is not motivated to part with Graham as was the case with Eric Bledsoe last summer, sources said. Graham’s drop in playing time during the playoffs may have been more the result of an injury accident than head coaching decision of head coach Willie Green.

But Pelicans ’representative office has changed significant trade in most recent major transactions, from trade deadlines to drafting and free intermediation. They will be focused on finding an upgrade in their rotation, sources said, with the clear goal of upgrading this season’s surprising post-season performance.

Jake Fischer has been covering the NBA for the Bleacher Report since 2019 and is the author Built to lose: How the NBA’s era of tanks changed the league forever.

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