NBA Offseason 2022 Guide – How the Utah Jazz Should Handle the Offseason

The Utah Jazz team has confirmed that the continuity of the list has an expiration date.

Utah brought back the same roster without wholesale changes, believing the mistakes from last year’s L.A. Clippers series would not be repeated.

But the back-to-back loss to the understaffed Dallas Mavericks without Luka Doncic in their first three games (two lost) proved she was wrong.

Offseason now presents one of the most important questions in franchise history. Is Utah looking to explore moving either Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, or going with a full rebuild and trading both All-Stars?

What about the future of coach Quinn Snyder?


Team Status

List Status: in constant flux

In March 2021, jazz was heading in the right direction. Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert and Mike Conley, Jr. were named to the All-Star Game, and Utah was headed toward the best NBA record.

This distinction earned them a place at number eight in ESPN’s annual Future Power rankings because the organization’s health was safe for the foreseeable future. Joubert and Mitchell had just signed a five-year maximum extension (Conley would eventually follow a three-year deal), and now it’s up to the Jazz front office to continue adding the right players around them.

What happened was the fateful loss to the Clippers without Kawhi Leonard, and the 52-game winning slate on the defensive end was revealed.

“It was a tough night in many respects on the defensive side, but I certainly wouldn’t jump to any kind of conclusion,” Snyder said after losing Game Six to Los Angeles last year.

Rather than break up the roster, Utah decided to bring it back, and veterans Rudy Gay and Hassan Whiteside added and believed losing the match would be a learning and motivating experience.

The Jazz finished the season with a respectable 49 victories, but failed again in the playoffs. Team continuity eventually turned out to be a failure but with many warning signs along the way.

Utah finished 23rd in net clutch time efficiency during the season. They lost six games when they advanced by more than 10 points in the fourth quarter (they tied with the Knicks most of the time).

The root of their problems was the weak perimeter defense, which was created by constantly overcoming dribbling. Donovan Mitchell’s struggles at the end of the games didn’t help.

The Jazz competed for 83.5% of 3-pointers, the third lowest in the league this season, in tracking the second spectrum. Last year, they ranked 29th in that category.

Mitchell shot 33% in clutch time, the third-worst field goal percentage among 37 players who attempted 50 shots in the final five minutes of the fourth quarter or overtime with the score within five points, according to ESPN Statistics and Information research. He made only 6 of 32 out of 3 attempts and only fired 25% on field shots from at least 10 feet.

Defensive deficiencies and Mitchell’s late-game struggles came to life again in the first round.

The Mavericks attempted the most three-pointers (41.6) and came in second on 3 throws (15.2). In the second and third losses, Mitchell fired 25% from the field in the last five minutes of the game.

To make matters worse, the Jazz offense that relied too heavily on three-pointers (it ranked second in making and attempts during the regular season) stopped in the playoffs. In the loss to Dallas, they attempted the 3rd lowest 3 throws per game among the playoff teams (28.8) and ranked last in 3 throws per game (8.0).

This Offseason now offers more questions than last year.

There is a two-year post-season working group that signals the need for change. But where does jazz begin? And is the property willing to spend it on a list that lost in the first round?

Jazz is back in eleven and is once again planning for one of the best payrolls in the NBA.

Their 2022 first-round pick is owned by the Memphis Grizzlies as part of the Conley trade, and the first protected 2024 edition was sent to Oklahoma City to forfeit the $20 million owed to Derek Vevers. The earliest they can be sent in a deal is 2026, but that’s only if the top ten rolls into Thunder in 2024. In the second round, they only have three picks (2025, 2026 and 2029).

Outside of Mitchell and Goubert, their tradable contracts consist of Conley, Jordan Clarkson, Royce O’Neill, Rudy Jay and Bojan Bogdanovich. The rest of the roster is made up of Juancho Hernangomez, Jared Butler, Nickel Alexander Walker and Odoka Azubuike. The five players weren’t part of the playoff, with Hernangomez only seeing the meaningful minutes.

Jazz has an average tax level of $6.3 million and a $9.8 million commercial exception for its use, but that will come with a fine. Remember, Jay signed the same mid-level exception last season and didn’t appear in the playoffs.

If Utah wants to change the roster, it can start with a decision about the future of all its stars.


Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert

Breaking up the pairing between Mitchell and Goubert shouldn’t be a conversation starter considering the extensions have just been signed for a maximum of five years and aren’t set to become free agents until the 2025 season (they both have a player option for 2025-26).

The contract status of both players and their influence on both sides of the ball should make Utah want to build around them, not cancel their partnership.

Mitchell is coming off a regular season averaging 25.9 points, the second time in his career that he has averaged at least 25 points – the only other Jazz players to do so are Karl Mallon, Adrian Dantley and Pete Maravich. However, on the defensive end, it ranked 256, according to FiveFiveThirtyEight’s RAPTOR meter, which uses play-by-play data and player tracking to gauge a player’s impact.

While Mitchell struggles defensively, Joubert is a jazz anchor.

When Joubert is on the field, Utah ranks first in defensive proficiency. When he was off the field, they were tied for 21st place with the Los Angeles Lakers. Joubert also ranked third in field goal percentage allowed at the edge and had the lowest efficiency in points allowed per drive (0.84) when he was an assisted defender, according to ESPN Statistics and Information.

It’s a fair point to say that Joubert has been exposed to small ball tactics by the Clippers and Mavericks in their series, but this has to do with Utah’s poor peripheral defense and requires a 7-foot-1 center to provide an assisting defense.

Joubert’s strength in defense is matched by offensive flaws.

Gobert is not a peripheral threat and relies heavily on second chance chances (28.7% of his attack and the most among all players) and lobs (third place).

His game power – screen passes and pick-and-roll shots – was sidelined in the Dallas streak. Utah averaged 1.04 points per live pick when Joubert was the spectator in the regular season, according to Second Spectrum. This number dropped to 0.85 points in the first round. Joubert also ranked in the top 10 in pick-and-roll shots this season, but has only made five in the Dallas Series.

Can Mitchell and Goubert coexist? If yes, how does this list improve? And if not, which of the two could a Utah motion explorer?

This question will determine the Jazz offseason.


Depth chart and breakdown of the off-season cover

Utah Jazz 2022-23 Salary Distribution

Excluding the unsecured $7.4 million from Juancho Hernangomez’s contract, jazz is entitled to a $149 million luxury tax with ten players under contract.

If Hernangomez is waived, Utah will exceed the tax limit once their list is filled out.

They will have a $6.4 million average tax level exception.

Team needs

Menu building resources

  • Exceptions: $6.4 million (middle level) and $9.8 million (trade)

  • Expired Contracts: Over $30 Million

  • Cash: $6.3 million to send or receive by trade

Dates to watch

  • June 29: Eric Paschall ($2.1 million), Trent Forrest ($1.8 million) and Xavier Sneed ($50K) are eligible for a qualifying bid. Paschall averaged 12.7 minutes in career level in the regular season.

  • June 30: Jazz can get some tax breaks in the $7.3 million unsecured contract with Juancho Hernangomes. The move will save Utah more than $10 million in tax penalties. Hernangomez got on the trading deadline, averaging 17.5 minutes and 6.2 points and shooting 43.8% of 3. Jazz has a veteran’s minimum exception to replace if waived.

restrictions

  • The Jazz first sent Memphis in 2022 and they owe Oklahoma City first protections in 2024, 2025 and 2026. The earliest they can send in the future is two years after the Thunder’s relocation.

  • Donovan Mitchell earned a 15% trading bonus in his contract. Since the bonus will exceed the maximum salary stipulated in his contract, the bonus is voided in the trade.

Qualified extension

  • Bojan Bogdanovic is set to enter the final year of his contract and is eligible for an extension. This season the striker has shot 39% on 3-pointers, ranking him 15th among all players. If the Jazz extends it for more than two seasons or a salary increase exceeds 5%, it will be ineligible to trade for up to six months. Utah has been 45-24 this season in games played.

  • Last year’s Sixth Man of the Year Jordan Clarkson entered the third year of a four-year contract he signed in 2020 that is also eligible for an extension. With Clarkson having a $14.3 million player option in 2023-24, the Jazz have the option to extend that number for an additional three seasons or remove the option and extend for four years starting in 2022-23. Clarkson has averaged 16 points this season and fired 38.9% from three points in the playoffs.

  • Juancho Hernangomez (if his contract is guaranteed) and Nickel Alexander Walker are also eligible for an extension. Jazz didn’t have a first or second pick in this year’s draft. Their first king was sent to Memphis as part of Mike Conley’s trade. From the Derrick Favorites trade offseason, Utah will send to Oklahoma City 2024 Top 10, 2025 Top 10, or 2026 Top 8 protected first. Jazz is also restricted to sending a future second in commerce. Their only picks are again in 2025, 2026 and 2029.


Jazz didn’t have first or second place in this year’s draft.

Their first king was sent to Memphis as part of Mike Conley’s trade.

From the Derrick Favorites trade offseason, Utah will send to Oklahoma City 2024 Top 10, 2025 Top 10, or 2026 Top 8 protected first. Jazz is also restricted to sending a future second in commerce.

Their only picks are again in 2025, 2026 and 2029.

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