This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
By Thursday night, the Utah Jazz will have started the second half of their season with a matchup against the Washington Wizards at the Verizon Center, and the NBA's trade deadline will have passed.
Safe to say, Thursday's a big day for the Jazz.
Utah is 26-26 heading in a game against Washington that serves as a makeup for last month's postponement due to a massive snowstorm. The Jazz are clinging to the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, ahead of the Houston Rockets. Already, as of Wednesday morning, teams have engaged in key trades. Tobias Harris went from the Orlando Magic to the Detroit Pistons. Courtney Lee went from the Memphis Grizzlies to the Charlotte Hornets.
So the Jazz have to decide whether or not they want to join in on the fun, or sit the deadline out.
As was reported by The Tribune, Utah has had multiple discussions centered around point guard Trey Burke. Other than Burke, however, the Jazz don't appear to have many trade chips in the form of players.
Rodney Hood, Gordon Hayward, Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors are all but untouchable. Alec Burks is injured, but the Jazz see the shooting guard as part of the future. Trey Lyles has had a good rookie season, and Raul Neto has outplayed expectations set by the front office.
What the Jazz do have are other assets. They have multiple future first round picks. They have their own, along with a first rounder from the Golden State Warriors, which will be conveyed in 2017, and a pick from the Oklahoma City Thunder, acquired in the deal for Enes Kanter last season at the deadline.
Either one of those picks perhaps packaged with Burke could perhaps net a decent return. The Jazz have two roster spots open and a little over $7 million to play with, which means they can potentially absorb a contract as well.
So here's the question: What do the Jazz need in order to improve their roster?
The popular narrative lies at the point guard spot, but that's not as big a need as it appeared at the beginning of the season. Reports had the Jazz pursuing Atlanta Hawks point guard Jeff Teague. But league sources inform the Tribune the Jazz are no longer looking in that direction. Neto has been a rock in Dante Exum's stead. His minutes have steadily increased, as has his production as the season has progressed.
More importantly, Hood has emerged as such an offensive weapon in the past month one capable of handling the ball and creating with the ball in his hands there isn't as much need for a perimeter playmaker as there once was. The Jazz are forging an offensive identity with Hood, Hayward and Favors as the guys most possessions go through. They don't want to crowd the room.
That means if the Jazz bring in a point guard to hold the fort until Exum returns, that player will be one who can defend, shoot in spot-up situations and play off the main three offensive weapons.
Utah does appear to have a need for another wing player. Part of the depth issue there could be solved by a return to health from Burks, who broke his fibula in December and has been out since. He's doing rehabilitation, and although when he first suffered the injury the other side of the all-star break was the target, there is still no timetable for his return.
Even with Burks, there still could be room for another small forward, or another shooter from the perimeter. And if the Jazz do end up trading Burke, they would need another point guard, although the front office likes Erick Green, who has completed a second 10-day contract.
The possibility that the Jazz do nothing is real. General manager Dennis Lindsey has rebuilt his roster piece by piece in the past two years and he's meticulous about making additions, and values chemistry as much as he does on-court talent.
He knows the team has been treading water in the face of massive injuries to his core so far this season. But while the Jazz are listening and active, they won't make a deal just to make a deal.
So Utah's roster could look different by the time it takes the court in Washington on Thursday night. There's a chance it could be the same. Either way, Lindsey and the Jazz brass will explore all options up until the deadline.
Then they will choose the path they feel is best for the franchise.
• The Jazz are 26-26 heading into the second half of the season. They are in the eighth and final spot of the Western Conference and they have won seven of their past eight games.
• The Jazz are waiting for Alec Burks to return to the lineup. He's been out since late December due to injury. Without Burks, the Jazz lack scoring punch off the bench.
• Utah's had known discussions centered around point guard Trey Burke. The Jazz have until 1 p.m. MST Thursday.
Jazz at Wizards
P At Verizon Center, Washington, D.C.
5 p.m. MST
TV • ROOT