Jazz Rumors

And-Ones: Offseason, Tampering Rules, FA Signings

In a roundtable discussion, Howard Beck, Chris Mannix, Robin Lundberg, and Rohan Nadkarni discussed the best, worst, most surprising, and most intriguing moves of the 2022 NBA offseason, agreeing on some issues and sharing opposing views on others.

For instance, while Beck and Mannix both view the Rudy Gobert blockbuster as the best roster move of the summer, Beck makes the case that the Jazz‘s side of the deal was the offseason’s top move, while Mannix argues for the Timberwolves‘ side.

Beck, Lundberg, and Nadkarni, meanwhile, all named the Hawks‘ acquisition of Dejounte Murray as the summer’s most intriguing roster move, while Beck and Lundberg agree that Kevin Durant‘s trade request with four years left on his contract was the offseason’s worst move. From a basketball perspective, Durant would be best off staying in Brooklyn and playing for a Nets team that looks capable of contending for a title, Beck writes.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • The NBA’s tampering rules aren’t exactly working as intended, but it’s unclear if there’s any obvious way to fix them, writes Sarah Todd of The Deseret News. “The threat of harsher penalties and random audits doesn’t even make teams flinch,” one source told Todd. “And at this point, if we investigated every possible instance of tampering, the whole league would come to a screeching halt and nothing would ever get done.” According to Todd, multiple front office executives that she spoke to expressed support for moving free agency ahead of the draft, among other changes to the current system.
  • David Aldridge of The Athletic wrapped up his series on which teams improved the most and least this offseason by listing his picks from 20 to 11 and from 10 to one. The Sixers were Aldridge’s choice for the team that made the best roster upgrades, followed by the Hawks, Nuggets, Celtics, and Timberwolves.
  • Dan Devine of The Ringer shines a light on seven under-the-radar free agent agreements that he’s intrigued by, including the Heat‘s three-year deal with Caleb Martin, the Timberwolves‘ acquisition of Kyle Anderson, and the Pistons‘ investment in Marvin Bagley III.

Northwest Notes: Green, Jazz, Wallace

Nuggets forward Jeff Green put together a voluntary minicamp for himself and some of his Denver teammates this week in Miami, per Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports (Twitter link). Davon Reed, Zeke Nnaji, Christian Braun, Peyton Watson and Jack White joined Green for the workouts. Wind adds that additional players hoped to join them but were unable to carve out the time in their schedules.

The Nuggets are preparing for an exciting 2022/23 NBA season, with reigning two-time MVP Nikola Jokic set to be rejoined by point guard Jamal Murray, who missed all of 2021/22 due to a left ACL tear, and small forward Michael Porter Jr., who appeared in just nine games before back surgery waylaid him for the rest of the year. The team’s starting lineup will be rounded out by power forward Aaron Gordon and newly-acquired 3-and-D specialist Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

Nuggets role players like Green, Reed, and Nanji, plus the three rookies joining them in Miami this week, could prove to be important contributors during what Denver hopes will be an extended postseason run.

There’s more out of the Northwest Division:

  • After the Jazz appeared to signal the beginning of a rebuild with their trade of All-Star center Rudy Gobert for a package comprising young players, movable veterans and draft compensation, they seem set for a lackluster 2022/23 season. Brandon Judd of the Deseret News notes that Kendra Andrews, Andrew Lopez and Kevin Pelton of ESPN (Insider link) projects the club to finish with a 26-56 record next season.
  • Former Nuggets scouting coordinator Jon Wallace is departing his post in Denver to join the Timberwolves as both Minnesota’s director of player personnel and the general manager of the club’s NBAGL affiliate, the Iowa Wolves, reports Mike Singer of the Denver Post (Twitter link). Wallace tweets that Wallace was especially valued with the Nuggets for his impact on their guards. Wallace is joining a revamped Minnesota front office led by Tim Connelly, himself the former Denver team president.
  • In case you missed it, Timberwolves majority owner Glen Taylor recently sat for a long-ranging discussion about the new-look team’s personnel and expectations.

Wolves’ Glen Taylor Talks Gobert, McDaniels, Russell, Towns

Appearing on The Scoop podcast with Darren Wolfson of SKOR North and 5 Eyewitness News, Timberwolves majority owner Glen Taylor admitted he was somewhat surprised by the team’s acquisition of star center Rudy Gobert, since it “happened fairly fast.”

According to Taylor, new Wolves president of basketball operations Tim Connelly had his eye on multiple impact trade targets, but Gobert was his “number one option.” The input of head coach Chris Finch, who expressed confidence in his ability to use Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns, was also a key factor in Minnesota’s decision to pull the trigger on the blockbuster deal.

“What I did when Tim and Chris talked to me about this trade is to ask (Finch) is there a system that he knows how to utilize these players,” Taylor said. “And he was very confident that he did understand how to utilize their skill sets, being two big guys. We talked about a lot, so he convinced me that this is something that is going to take us to a winning situation, and gave us the go-ahead to make the trade.”

Taylor confirmed that the Jazz pushed for Jaden McDaniels to be part of the trade package for Gobert, which “prolonged the trade talks for a while,” but the Wolves were eventually able to meet Utah’s asking price without including the young forward.

Here’s more from Taylor on the Wolves:

  • Asked if he’d like to see D’Angelo Russell sign an extension before the season begins, Taylor said it might benefit both sides to hold off and see how the 2022/23 season goes. “(Finch) believes that with the new lineup, and with Russell in that lineup, that he’ll have a much better year just because of the way we’re going to play,” Taylor said. “He says he thinks there’s a big upside for Russell with this group of (players). That’s to his advantage and to our advantage if it works out.”
  • The decision to give Towns a super-max extension this offseason was an easy one, Taylor said: “It was a non-issue. That’s what we set it up for, the elite players, and Karl has proved he’s one of those players.”
  • Taylor said that he doesn’t expect the Timberwolves to make any more significant roster moves this offseason, though he didn’t rule out the possibility that Connelly could surprise him. “I just know Tim keeps his ears and eyes open all the time, looking (to see) if there’s something else that might happen,” Taylor said. “He’s very proactive if he sees an opportunity that could enhance our team. I think we’re set, but always knowing that he’ll be looking for an opportunity.”
  • The plan remains for Taylor to hand over control of the franchise to incoming owners Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez in a little over a year. The Wolves’ longtime owner said he’s not having any regrets about giving up control of the team as it becomes a more legitimate contender. “No, I don’t have any second thoughts. I think it’s the right thing to do,” Taylor said. “We’ve left some options open that I’ll continue to be involved if I want to be involved, and that suits me just fine.”

And-Ones: Wood, O’Quinn, Extensions, Offseason Rankings

Christian Wood should thrive with Luka Doncic and the Mavericks, Stephen Noh of the Sporting News writes. Noh, who examines how Wood will blend his talents with the Dallas superstar, also takes a closer look at how Donte DiVincenzo (Warriors), Bruce Brown (Nuggets) and De’Anthony Melton (Sixers) could benefit after a change of scenery.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • Former NBA big man Kyle O’Quinn has signed with the Japanese team, SeaHorses Mikawa, according to a team press release. O’Quinn played in France and Turkey after his last NBA appearance, a 29-game stint with Philadelphia during the 2019/20 season.
  • LeBron James, CJ McCollum, Jaylen Brown, Jerami Grant and Nikola Vucevic are among numerous notable players who are eligible to sign veteran extensions and are legitimate candidates to get them done. Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report examines what those extensions, among others, might look like.
  • Which 10 teams have improved the least this offseason? The Athletic’s David Aldridge takes his annual look at whether teams have gotten better or worse since the end of last season. The Spurs sit at the lowest end of the spectrum, with the Pacers, Hornets, Jazz and Lakers also in the bottom five.

Jordan Clarkson To Play For Philippines In WC Qualifiers

Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson will join the Philippines national team for the next two qualifying games for the 2023 FIBA World Cup, according to an announcement from the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas. The Philippines will be matched up against Lebanon on August 25 and will face Saudi Arabia on August 29.

Western Notes: Clarkson, Huerter, Bertans, Brooks

With the future of the Jazz uncertain following the trade of Rudy Gobert and news that the team is open to moving its other 2022 All-Star (Donovan Mitchell), 2021 Sixth Man of the Year Jordan Clarkson is keeping an even keel, writes Sarah Todd of the Deseret News.

 “My vibe is always good,” Clarkson said of his attitude while dealing with the Jazz’s tenuous outlook. “This is my ninth year going into the league. I know how the business of basketball works… This is all part of what it is. But my preparation never changes and I’m going to wake up every morning and be me and do what I do. Everything is good.”

There’s more out of the West:

  • New Kings shooting guard Kevin Huerter is bringing his playoff pedigree to Sacramento and hopes to help Sacramento reach the postseason, writes Jarrod Castillo of NBC Sports Bay Area. “I feel like I’ve been through a lot there, having that playoff experience,” Huerter said. The 6’5″ wing added that he’s “hungry to win” with his new club.
  • In his first full season for the Mavericks, power forward Davis Bertans needs to return to the level of long-range shooting that earned him his current $80MM contract, writes Eddie Sefko of Mavs.com. During the 2019/20 season, Bertans connected on 42.4% of his 8.7 three-pointers a night. Last season, in 22 games for Dallas, he connected on 36% of his 3.9 looks a game, a solid but not elite percentage.
  • Veteran swingman Dillon Brooks appears likely to earn a contract extension offer from the Grizzlies, writes Chris Herring of the Daily Memphian in a subscriber-exclusive story. However, Herring expects Brooks to reject such an offer. During the 2021/22 season, Brooks was limited to just 32 games. When he could suit up, he averaged 18.4 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 2.8 APG and 1.1 SPG.

Atlantic Notes: Knicks, Mitchell, Tatum, Embiid, Reed

The Knicks can deal up to eight first-rounders, including up to four unprotected picks, in a potential trade with the Jazz for Donovan Mitchell. They could add at least three first-round swaps, as well as young talents such as RJ Barrett, Quentin Grimes, Immanuel Quickley and Obi Toppin.

Those factors give New York an edge over other potential suitors for Mitchell, Fred Katz of The Athletic writes. Katz breaks down possible offers from the Wizards, Heat, Raptors, Hornets, Kings and Hawks — the other teams reportedly interested in a Mitchell deal — and how the Knicks might top them.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Jayson Tatum is brimming with confidence the Celtics will win the title next season, fortified by the additions of Malcolm Brogdon and Danilo Gallinari, he told The Athletic’s Jared Weiss“I mean, what kind of teammate would I be if I said no?” he said. “We got this close, and we added two really good players. I think it makes us better.” Tatum is staying out of the way of other potential moves, including chatter regarding a Kevin Durant blockbuster. “(President of basketball operations Brad Stevens) lets me do my thing. I let him do his thing,” he said. “In all honesty, that’s his decision and that’s his job.”
  • Winning the Most Valuable Player award would be a best-case scenario for the Sixers’ Joel Embiid next season, Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice.com writes. The worst case scenario, beyond a significant injury, would be the superstar center growing disenchanted with the franchise’s inability to get over the hump in the postseason.
  • A best-case scenario for Sixers reserve Paul Reed, according to Neubeck, would be a more modest goal — getting more minutes and bringing youthful energy and production. A worse-case scenario would be for the Sixers to lose trust in Reed and wind up overusing  P.J. Tucker at the ‘five’ spot before the postseason.

Jazz Signing Paris Bass To Exhibit 10 Deal

10:02pm: Utah’s agreement with Bass is an Exhibit 10 deal, Tony Jones of The Athletic reports (via Twitter). Bass will compete for a roster spot in training camp.


6:51pm: The Jazz have agreed to a one-year deal with free agent forward Paris Bass, his agent Daniel Hazan tells Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link).

Bass most recently played for the Lakers during the Las Vegas and California Classic summer leagues, averaging 8.1 points and 3.1 rebounds in 16.2 minutes per game.

Bass, a 6’8″ forward, went undrafted in 2017 and has spent most of his career playing internationally. He signed two 10-day hardship contracts with the Suns this past season, and averaged 17.3 points and 7.0 rebounds with the Lakers’ G League affiliate on the campaign.

Utah has 14 players on guaranteed contracts, two players on two-way deals, and three Exhibit 10 agreements in place prior to officially signing Bass. The Jazz appear to be entering a rebuilding phase after trading away Rudy Gobert and are continuing to discuss the possibility of a Donovan Mitchell trade with rival teams.

Jazz, Knicks Still Far Apart On Donovan Mitchell Trade

Rumors continue to emerge regarding Donovan Mitchell trade talks involving the Jazz and Knicks, but little progress has been made, according to Tony Jones of the Athletic. Appearing Friday on the HoopsHype podcast with Michael Scotto, Jones was pessimistic that a deal will get done soon.

“I don’t think the two sides are close. I don’t think they have been close,” Jones said. “We’ll see what happens as the urgency of training camp looms. The Jazz want what they want, which is picks out of this deal, and they want young guys on short or rookie contracts.”

Knicks players who fit that definition include Obi Toppin, Quentin Grimes and Immanuel Quickley, but New York has been unwilling to part with significant young talent in addition to substantial draft assets. Jones said keeping Grimes is a priority for the Knicks, along with veteran guard Derrick Rose, who is a longtime favorite of coach Tom Thibodeau.

“The sense I get right now is it’s probably not going to happen on an imminent level,” Jones added. “The two sides aren’t close. To me, I think if it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen closer to training camp or the start of the season. If it doesn’t happen then, we’ll see what happens closer to the February trade deadline.”

There are more Jazz-related notes from the podcast:

  • Matching Mitchell’s salary of $30.35MM for next season becomes trickier if Rose’s $14.52MM contract isn’t involved. Scotto notes that Utah doesn’t want to take on long-term money, which eliminates Julius Randle ($23.76MM) and Evan Fournier ($18MM). Jones said the Jazz don’t have any interest in adding Randle and “I’m not sure there’s much of an appetite for (Cam) Reddish ($5.95MM).” He adds that the Jazz would rather keep Mitchell and hold onto a possible $36-$40MM in cap room for next summer than accept unwanted salary.
  • Looking at the rest of the roster, Jones believes Utah can easily find deals for Bojan Bogdanovic, Jarred Vanderbilt and Patrick Beverley if the team decides to move them before the start of the season. He thinks there’s less of a market for Mike Conley, Jordan Clarkson and Malik Beasley.
  • Udoka Azubuike may have the inside track to be the starting center if Utah trades Mitchell and commits to a youth movement, Jones adds. Sources tell Jones that Azubuike has been working with coaches in Salt Lake City all summer and has been showing improvement. First-round pick Walker Kessler would also be in the mix for the starting job. If the Jazz keep Mitchell and try to make the playoffs, Jones expects them to find a more experienced center in free agency.

NBA Schedule Not Expected For At Least Another Week

Everyone eagerly anticipating the release of the schedule for the 2022/23 season will have to wait a little longer, according to NBA insider Marc Stein (Twitter link). Sources tell Stein that the schedule isn’t expected to be revealed until after next week, which puts the date sometime in mid-August.

The league typically releases its schedule during the second week of August, although that has been affected over the past two years by shortened offseasons caused by the pandemic. Last year’s schedule was announced on August 20.

Possible trades involving Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Donovan Mitchell may be slowing the process this summer as the schedule makers wait to see if any of those situations get resolved before locking in prime TV dates.

A few things are known about the upcoming season, including league-wide media days on September 26, followed by the start of training camps a day later. The Pistons and Bulls will travel to France for the January 19 NBA Paris Game, according to the league’s website, and All-Star Weekend is set for February 17-19 in Salt Lake City.

The preseason schedule is virtually set and will begin with the defending champion Warriors facing the Wizards in Tokyo for a pair of games September 30 and October 2. The Raptors and Jazz will meet October 2 in Edmonton, the Bucks and Hawks will square off October 6 and 8 in Abu Dhabi, and the Raptors and Celtics will play Oct. 15 in Montreal.

Based on past schedules, the 2022/23 regular season will likely tip off on October 18.