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Trade Deadline Needs: Utah Jazz

Jerry Sloan and Phil Johnson have been Utah's version of 'death and taxes' for over twenty years, but they are now gone and this is fully Deron Williams' team for at least the next season and a half until he becomes a free agent. The Jazz have been stuck in the 'good but not great' strata throughout Williams' entire tenure and with this deadline and the upcoming offseason ahead of Kevin O'Connor, he will need to make several bold maneuvers to improve his chances of retaining his best player.

Utah did very well in acquiring Al Jefferson (for nothing) following the departure of Carlos Boozer. He isn't the perfect solution, particularly because they already had Paul Millsap, but as far as maintaining a baseline level of talent, it was a good move.

The Jazz are excellent offensively in transition and also in the post, helping the team have the 10th best offense in the NBA. If they had better scorers on the wings, they would be able to spread the floor more effectively for Williams' dribble penetration and the low post players. Utah has played better with C.J. Miles than with Raja Bell, but Miles has struggled badly on defense.

If the Jazz were able to acquire a better scorer on the perimeter to supplement everything Williams does, their offense would jump up to the elite level.

But defense and rebounding is a more pressing issue for the Jazz. Mehmet Okur has only played in 13 games, which has forced the Jazz to go smaller and that is a large reason why they are ranked 18th in points allowed per 100 possessions. The Jazz were ranked 10th in this category last season.

Desperation Meter: In spite of everything that has happened, missing the playoffs would be a disaster for the Jazz. The onus is on the players following Sloan's resignation and it will be fascinating to see how Ty Corbin manages the response.

After countless seasons of being on a burdensome contract, Andrei Kirilenko's $17.8M finally comes off the books, but that unfortunately won't produce cap space this summer.

In order for the Jazz to do something significant, they would have to break up Jefferson and Millsap, probably for an overpriced wing.

True centers are always more difficult to come by, but one that primarily serves as a shotblocker and rebounder could be attainable even though the hope would be his addition makes the Jazz greater than the sum of their parts.

Click here for the latest trade deadline rumors.

 

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