The Utah Jazz had the NBA’s best record in 2020-21, earning the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. After going from up 2-0 to a 4-2 series loss to the Los Angeles Clippers in the conference semifinals, the team has some serious questions to answer.
The Jazz traded for veteran point guard Mike Conley in July 2019, pairing him with Donovan Mitchell to create one of the NBA’s better backcourts. Conley is an unrestricted free agent this offseason, and the Jazz would like to keep him this offseason, but could find themselves up against the luxury tax.
That may make for some hard decisions for Utah. The 33-year old Conley is still very productive, and should field some pretty serious offers. In order to reduce their tax concerns a bit, the Jazz may look to move a veteran like the popular Joe Ingles ahead of Thursday’s NBA Draft, ESPN‘s Jonathan Givony reports.
Ingles is on a one-year deal worth just over $12 million. That makes him pretty affordable, and would give any team acquiring him some nice flexibility. Of course, giving up a player like Ingles is also a tough pill to swallow for a contender like Utah.
NBA executives say they suspect the Utah Jazz will have some future luxury tax concerns they may look to address on draft night, in order to resign Mike Conley, potentially by dangling one of their veterans, such as Joe Ingles, for a draft pick. ESPN mock: https://t.co/VEdy8p5uV6
— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) July 25, 2021
Joe Ingles, who entered the league with the Jazz in 2014-15, tied his career high with 12.1 points per game this season. His shooting numbers—48.9/45.1/84.4 in 2020-21—were all career highs as well. He’s a very valuable sharpshooter.
Givony projects the Jazz, who have the final pick of the first round, taking young combo guard Jaden Springer out of Tennessee. He isn’t yet 19, making him one of the youngest and highest-upside players in the draft.
Many believe the Utah Jazz need to make significant changes this offseason, after falling flat as the Western Conference 1-seed. Losing Ingles may not be what they had in mind, but it would also be very difficult to let an All-Star point guard like Mike Conley land elsewhere.