Spurs Frontrunners To Acquire Al Jefferson?

February 6 2013 at 1:35pm CDT By Luke Adams

As ESPN.com's Chad Ford noted in his chat this afternoon, the Jazz are one of the league's most close-to-the-vest teams, which may explain why we haven't heard a ton of rumors about trade candidates and soon-to-be free agents Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap. However, according to Chris Sheridan of Sheridan Hoops, one team has emerged as a frontrunner to acquire Jefferson: the Spurs.

Sheridan points out that various members of San Antonio's and Utah's front offices used to work for the other club, strengthening the relationship between the two teams. As one source tells Sheridan: "Those teams are practically incestuous, they are on such good terms internally."

The Spurs don't have a ton of obvious trade assets, but Stephen Jackson's $10MM+ expiring contract could be used in an offer for Jefferson, who makes $15MM. From there, Sheridan suggests that a package including Tiago Splitter, Patrick Mills, and the rights to European prospects Erazem Lorbek could make some sense for both sides, though he cautions that he's not sure whether that specific deal has been discussed. Like Jefferson and Jackson, Splitter will be a free agent after this season, while Mills has a 2013/14 player option for a modest $1.13MM, so the Jazz wouldn't be giving up much future flexibility in that hypothetical trade.

Some reports have suggested the Jazz would prefer to move Millsap rather than Jefferson, while others have indicated the team would be fine with simply standing pat and keeping both big men. Given the club's secrecy when it comes to trade talks, we likely won't know for sure what Utah's intentions are until a move is made or the deadline passes.

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