The Jazz made the first trade of the NBA season, sending Dante Exum and a pair of second-rounders to the Cavs for Jordan Clarkson. VP of basketball operations Dennis Lindsey said the Jazz needed to make the move to add depth to the team, as Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune relays.
“We could feel that the starters were being stretched. … As the team started to form, we started to see some of the challenges that we had scoring with the second unit,” Lindsey said. “It certainly became a priority.”
The executive added that he thought depth may be an issue when the team lost several veterans, including Derrick Favors and Jae Crowder, this offseason. Utah’s bench was a major strength last season, but the franchise went into this year with an improved starting unit at the expense of depth.
Exum’s injury history and Mike Conley’s current hamstring woes also played a role in the deal.
“That timing dictated where we’re at. The one piece of the evaluation that we feel like is incomplete is, obviously, getting Mike integrated in, with now two hamstring injuries,” Lindsey said. “You know, we feel like there was a little bit of a gap in knowing who we really are and our arc for improvement. But we still felt like the bench scoring was so challenged that we needed to address it. … When Mike got hurt, we had to kind of speed up the evaluation and become a little bit urgent.”
While Conley’s injuries created a short-term need for an additional playmaker, GM Justin Zanik emphasized that the team was going to need to be deeper regardless.
“It still doesn’t change the fact that the bench needed to up the production, and we needed to see if there were other avenues to address that,” Zanik said.