Back by the popular demand of pretty much only myself, it’s the second annual edition of Around the NBA in 15 Trades. We’re taking all 30 teams in the lead up to the Feb. 7 trade deadline and finding a happy middle ground for prosperous barterdom.
Portland and Utah have become two staples of the Western Conference playoff scene. Neither team is totally conventional, their beauty each lying within bucking the league’s increasingly homogenous ubiquity.
The Trail Blazers try to outgun you with a top-10 scoring offense, led by the best bucket-getting backcourt this side of Oakland. As currently constructed, they may never have enough to take home a title, but their continuity propels their success.
The Jazz meanwhile, want to grind opposing teams into dust with their combination of top-5 defensive rating and bottom-10 ranking in points per game. If you like old-school ball with a coach who looks like he replaces sleep with A Clockwork Orange-style film sessions, Salt Lake City is the spot for you.
Here, in the trade utopia of my creation, these division rivals come together to exchange their not-so-great contracts to attain better roster balance.
G/F, Evan Turner; F/C, Meyers Leonard; 2019 1st Round pick
F/C, Derrick Favors; F, Jae Crowder
Why the Jazz do it:
Evan Turner and Evan Turner’s Twitter account end up in Utah where his inability to hit 3’s would fit in with most of the roster. He would, however, grant Quin Snyder another facilitator who could run the second unit.
On the other hand, Meyers Leonard and his stretchability should fit better next to Rudy Gobert than Derrick Favors ever did. He can form a power troika of white shooters along with Joe Ingles and Kyle Korver.
Utah also receives a 1st-rounder for taking on the worst contracts of the deal.
Why the Trail Blazers do it:
Portland could use more help on the wing in general but also as a precautionary measure in case Al-Farouq Aminu or Moe Harkless go down. Jae Crowder would give them a great support piece as a tertiary option with plenty of experience.
Favors re-signed with the Jazz on a short-term deal over the summer but his minutes have faded since last season and his contract isn’t guaranteed for next year. He probably was never quite right for Utah. With Portland, he can team up with fellow bruiser, Jusuf Nurkic and have his lack of shooting range overshadowed by sharing a court with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum.