The Utah Jazz are 18-5 and currently boast the best record in the Western Conference. On the other side of the playoff picture, the San Antonio Spurs are 12-10 and tied for seventh place.
Although both teams could obviously sit still, ride it out with their current rosters, and see where it gets them – that probably isn’t the best move in this situation.
DeMar DeRozan is in the final year of his deal. He becomes a free agent after this season and the Spurs will likely lose him for nothing if they don’t trade him this year.
Utah, meanwhile, while arguably the best team in the NBA right now, possesses a very glaring weakness: it sits dead last in isolation scoring. The Jazz clearly need someone who can get the ball, go one-on-one, and score in a variety of ways.
This week, Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report proposed a deal that could make both the Spurs and Jazz noticeably better long-term.
The trade in question would involve DeRozan being shipped off to Utah in return for some combination of sharpshooter Bojan Bogdanovic and spare parts.
Bogdanovic has been on a very nice run over the past five games, posting scoring outputs of 32, 29, 18, 21 and 31 points. His value has never been higher, so this potential deal has clear upside for both parties involved.
“DeRozan has long been one of the game’s best one-on-one players and is tied for eighth this season with Luka Doncic at 3.6 isolation points per game,” Swartz wrote.
Karl-Anthony Towns’ reaction to Jordyn Woods’ Buss It video speaks for itself.
— Game 7 (@game7__) January 26, 2021
“Not only does that dwarf the entire Jazz team, but DeRozan is also doing it on strong efficiency (1.21 points per possession). The 31-year-old is averaging 20.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, 6.8 assists and 1.0 steals while shooting a career-high 35.5 percent from three.
“If Utah can move Bojan Bogdanovic, salary filler and picks to the San Antonio Spurs, a starting lineup of Mike Conley Jr., Mitchell, DeRozan, Royce O’Neale and Rudy Gobert would be one of the NBA’s best.”
As things currently stand, the Jazz and Spurs are both having fairly nice campaigns. That said, neither team can contend for a title as presently constructed. In order to fix that, big moves need to be made – and a trade centering around DeRozan would be an excellent start.
DeRozan has made headlines over the past year for scaring away Kylie Jenner’s stalker and getting brutally honest about Kawhi Leonard — it’d be nice if he finally earned a bit of acclaim for something like winning that elusive championship that he’s been on the verge of getting since his days with the Toronto Raptors.