The Jazz were fairly quiet in free agency over the summer, reaching new deals with their own free agents like Derrick Favors, Dante Exum, and Raul Neto, but not bringing in any outside targets. However, according to Blake Murphy of The Athletic, Utah was in the mix for at least one noteworthy free agent: Fred VanVleet.
In a story on VanVleet’s restricted free agency, Murphy – citing a league source – reports that the Jazz “somewhat unexpectedly tried to get into the mix” for the Raptors’ point guard. Utah didn’t have cap room this offseason, but could have used the mid-level exception to give VanVleet a similar deal to the one he received from Toronto (two years, $18MM). It’s not clear how seriously the Jazz considered VanVleet, but if they had landed him, it’s unlikely that the club would have invested so heavily in Exum ($28.8MM over three years).
Here’s more from around the Northwest:
- The Trail Blazers have become the latest NBA team to secure a jersey patch sponsorship deal, announcing today that they’ve partnered with Performance Health. As a result, a Biofreeze logo will be featured on Portland’s uniform starting in the 2018/19 season. The Blazers are the 24th NBA club to add an advertisement patch to their jerseys since the start of last season.
- Pat Zipfel, who had been the head coach at Division II school Mansfield, has accepted a role with the Timberwolves, per Andy Malnoske of NBC Elmira (Twitter link). Previously an assistant coach for the Rockets and Timberwolves, Zipfel also has served as an advance scout for multiple NBA teams. It’s unclear what his new title in Minnesota will be.
- Eric Woodyard of The Deseret News takes an in-depth look at Jairus Lyles‘ quest to earn a roster spot with the Jazz for the 2018/19 season. The former UMBC standout will face an uphill battle — Utah has 14 players on guaranteed contracts, with Royce O’Neale expected to fill the 15th and final roster spot.
- In case you missed the biggest news out of the Northwest today, Jimmy Butler has requested a trade from the Timberwolves. Here are the latest rumors on Butler.