The Utah Jazz and Washington Wizards are both off to poor starts in the 2018-2019 season. For the Jazz, they are coming off an incredible playoff push and first round series victory. They brought everyone back hoping some continuity and organic growth would foster even greater success. For the Wizards, they put a lot of faith in the trio of John Wall, Bradley Beal, and Otto Porter. These three were playing great basketball at a young age, and the hope was they’d continue to grow into a big 3.
Unfortunately, neither team has met their expectations and both should be considering what to change or improve. Utah clearly needs some offensive help to take the load off of Donovan Mitchell’s shoulders. Washington, on the other hand, is looking to unload some of their financial obligations and clean up their putrid cap situation. Adrian Wojnarowski recently reported that anyone on Washington’s roster could be fair game.
That leads to the question, could the Jazz and Wizards find themselves to be good trading partners? Should the Utah Jazz pursue a trade for John Wall, Bradley Beal, or Otto Porter? Which of the three would best fit in Utah?
Contract: 4 years, $170 million after this season
John Wall is coming off his 5th consecutive all star appearance. He’s been one of the best point guards since entering the league. Even in a down year like this season, he would be a considerable upgrade at point guard for the Jazz. He would give them another elite playmaker and open up more space for Donovan Mitchell to go to work. That backcourt would be a difficult matchup for almost any team in the league.
But that contract! 42 million a year for John Wall is not looking like a wise investment by Washington. Few players in the league justify taking up that much of the cap, and John Wall is not one of them. Rumored to have come into camp out of shape, that doesn’t sound like the type of personality Quin Snyder wants in his locker room. Unless John Wall shows significant defensive improvements in the next few weeks, I highly doubt Utah makes a move for the Kentucky guard. Add in that his contract is one of the worst in the NBA, and I’d put the odds on him in a Jazz uniform at <1%.
Contract: 2 years, $55.8 million after this season
Bradley Beal is arguably the best player of the three, and would therefore demand the highest value in the market. His fit in Utah would be incredible in my opinion. He would push Donovan Mitchell to the point guard position, and those two could be a fearsome duo for years to come. I see them being similar to Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum in Portland. Now imagine if those two had Rudy Gobert at center and Joe Ingles on the wing. Beal’s ability to get his own shot and finish at the rim would be a welcoming sight in Utah. While he isn’t shooting as well this year, his track record shows he’s an elite outside shooter and solid wing defender. He’d fit like a glove in Quin Snyder’s system. Beal’s age also lines up with Utah’s core.
I don’t anticipate Beal truly being available. If he is, the Jazz are unlikely to have the assets required to get the Wizards to pull the trigger. The best the Jazz could do is offer some cap relief by taking on the contract of Ian Mahinmi and give them expiring contracts in return. Utah could sweeten the pot with some young players like Grayson Allen or future draft picks, but would that be enough? He would be the best fit of the three Wizards, but I don’t think Dennis Lindsey is a big enough wizard to get a deal done.
Contract: 2 years, $55.8 million after this season with 20-21 as a player option
Otto Porter is an interesting case. On one hand, he looks like the perfect player for the modern NBA. He’s a 6’8 wing that can defend multiple positions and shoots over 40% from 3 for his career. He’s taken a Gordon Hayward-esque progression throughout his career, consistently adding to his game and getting better every year in the league.
On the other hand, you have to ask yourself if he can truly be your 3rd best player. While he’s a jack-of-all trades type player, he doesn’t necessarily have an elite go-to skill set like your typical stars. He’s also off to a poor start in 2018-2019. How much of that is Otto Porter, and how much of that is the coaching and team situation? Can you really afford to pay that type of player 28 million dollars a year?
I think Otto Porter would be a fantastic fit in Utah. He’s getting plenty of minutes at PF this year, and Utah needs a long term solution in the front court next to Rudy Gobert. They need someone that can space the floor so everyone can be more effective. 28 million dollars sounds like a lot, but it lines up really well with Donovan Mitchell’s contract. With Mitchell still on his rookie deal, now is the ideal time to overspend on a player or two. Porter’s contract would likely expire in the same summer Donovan is due a contract extension. Therefore, if it doesn’t work out you just shift that money from Porter to Donovan and look to your next move on building around Donovan and Rudy.
In summary, I think Otto Porter is the only player of the three that Utah could realistically target. John Wall’s contract is too big and Bradley Beal would fetch too big a bounty. Plus, Utah and Porter have shown mutual interest in the past. They were set to meet in free agency prior to Hayward dragging his feet and keeping Utah’s hands (and wallets) tied. If the Jazz can get last year’s Porter, he could be an ideal fit at power forward and solve a lot of Utah’s issues right now.
Unless GM Dennis Lindsey really likes his chances of landing a Kemba Walker, Khris Middleton, or Tobias Harris next summer then I would strongly encourage looking into bringing Otto Porter to the Utah Jazz once and for all.