The Utah Jazz crashed out of the 2020 NBA playoffs in the worst possible manner. They let go of a seemingly unassailable 3-1 lead against the Denver Nuggets in the first round to eventually lose 3-4. The playoffs were an agonizing period for the Utah Jazz fans and players alike, who realized all over again that they simply did not have enough to realistically fight for an NBA championship.
The Utah Jazz could be in for a busy off-season if NBA trade rumors are to be believed, and the front-office is determined to make the most of Donovan Mitchell's stay with the franchise.
The Jazz have a very decent roster already, featuring the likes of Rudy Gobert, Joe Ingles, and Bojan Bogdanovic among others. However, the inclusion of Mike Conley at the beginning of the 2019-20 NBA season didn't quite work out. General manager Dennis Lindsey wouldn't be wrong in looking for replacements already.
NBA Trade Rumors: Utah Jazz can replace Mike Conley with another veteran
Mike Conley has consistently been one of the best point guards in the NBA for multiple seasons now. While his production has never really warranted the massive paycheck he collects every year, the 32-year-old is still one of the better guards in the league.
The former Memphis Grizzlies icon endured one of the worst seasons of his 12-year-long NBA career last time out where he averaged a mere 14.4 points on a career-low 40% shooting from the field.
One of the main reasons behind Conley's lackluster performances was the fact that he was no longer the primary scoring option. In fact, he attempted fewer shots per game than he has in the past 7 seasons. His assist rates also dropped significantly, as did his presence on the defensive end of the floor. Frequent injuries did not help either.
Mike Conley's humongous contract, that'll see him bag over $34 million next season, makes him a difficult player to trade, but Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love could be someone the Utah Jazz could realistically land.
Kevin Love career statistics
Career points per game - 18.2
Career assists per game - 2.4
Career rebounds per game - 11.1
Career field goal % - 44.2%
Career 3-pt % - 37.0%
Kevin Love will himself earn north of $31 million next season and is one of the most common names on the NBA trade rumor mill. Love is a big fish in a small pond as his supreme abilities are clearly surplus to requirements in a Cleveland Cavaliers team who are currently rebuilding.
Kevin Love is one of the best rebounders and 3-point shooters in the NBA among players in his position. A 2016 NBA champion, Love has a plethora of post-season experience which is exactly what the Utah Jazz need.
He is also a safe player to target if the Jazz truly believe in him as he still has 3 years left on his contract. Love averaged nearly an 18 point double-double last season on good efficiency, and clearly remains an All-Star caliber player.
NBA Trade Rumors: How do the Utah Jazz finance a deal to bring Kevin Love?
Financially speaking, a simple player swap would work perfectly fine on paper. Both salaries almost balance each other out. However, the Cleveland Cavaliers will be parting with the better and younger player. It wouldn't come as a surprise to see them demand for a sweetener or two.
Having said that, the Cleveland Cavaliers probably know that they won't be able to snag a highly valuable asset in exchange for Kevin Love. Mike Conley's expiring contract would mean that they would be able to free up a ton of cap space going into the 2021 free agency. A draft pick could be all it takes for the Utah Jazz to convince the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Published 09 Oct 2020, 05:00 IST