The Utah Jazz are 24-25 and sit ninth in the Western Conference.
When they traded away Rudy Gay and Donovan Mitchell this past summer everyone thought they would be dead in the water.
Instead, somehow, the Jazz have quietly become one of the scrappiest teams in the league.
That said, the lack of talent on the roster means that this particular squad has a fairly low ceiling in the grand scheme of things.
According to NBA insider Marc Stein, the Jazz slowly seem to be accepting their rightful position as sellers at the NBA Trade Deadline. That said, two guys appear to be off-limits.
As Stein hears it based on a “rising belief leaguewide,” Utah is “open to listening to trade pitches to anyone on the roster” with the exceptions of Lauri Markkanen or Walker Kessler.
The Jazz’s position on those two guys is an interesting one.
Kessler is arguably the best defensive player among this year’s rookie class. While nobody would make the case that they would take him over Paolo Banchero of the Orlando Magic or Bennedict Mathurin of the Indiana Pacers, his skill also can’t be denied.
In fact, Kessler’s recent 20-point and 21-rebound effort against the Minnesota Timberwolves provided a fascinating window into his potential.
Markkanen has also been playing out of his mind this season. His 24.8 points per game on 52 percent shooting from the field and 42.7 percent shooting from beyond the arc this season is a career-high by a pretty significant margin.
Obviously Markkanen showed off a lot of his potential with the Cleveland Cavaliers last year, but it really seems like he has taken his production to a whole new level in Utah.
Plus, he is only 25 years old. It’s easy to forget how much time he still has in the league. If Markkanen can continue to play like this consistently, he could become one of the league’s top-tier talents.
Two moves feel inevitable for the Jazz right now.
First and foremost, there are two teams very interested in Jordan Clarkson. He has quietly expressed a desire to go elsewhere. It is hard to see him remaining on the roster past the NBA Trade Deadline.
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Secondly, Utah is being mentioned in a fairly substantial prospective three-team trade.
Time will tell if either move ends up materializing for them, though.
The Jazz will almost certainly do something ahead of Feb. 9’s deadline. What trade or trades will they ultimately commit to? Time will tell.
A longtime sports reporter, Carlos Garcia has written about some of the biggest and most notable athletic events of the last 5 years. He has been credentialed to cover MLS, NBA and MLB games all over the United States. His work has been published on Fox Sports, Bleacher Report, AOL and the Washington Post.