Every time the Utah Jazz have made a move this off-season, the reaction has been: “That’s a smart play. This is going to be a good team.”
This latest news fits right in line with that: The San Antonio Spurs have agreed to trade French forward Boris Diaw to Utah, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.
As noted by Woj, the Spurs are doing this for one reason only — to clear out the cap space needed to sign Pau Gasol, and this does that. With Tim Duncan leaning toward retirement, Gasol can step into that role (with more offense but less defense) and keep them as an elite team. The Spurs are doing what they need to do in a West were it feels like Golden State won the arms race.
Utah is building a deep, versatile roster that is certainly going to be a playoff team, and wouldn’t shock me if they are a fourth or fifth seed. That started with trading for George Hill to play the point (along with Dante Exum, who should be back from injury) and runs right through this move.
Diaw is kind of a point forward — he can’t truly run the point but he has a point guard skill set in some ways, shot 36 percent from three last season, and is one of the best passing bigs in the league (remember how key he was as a facilitator on the 2014 Spurs). While conditioning can be an issue, he’s more nimble than he gets credit for and plays solid defense because of it. Plus, Diaw is slated to make a very reasonable $7 million this season, with a team option for $7.5 million next season.
This is a win-win for both teams. But mostly, it’s just another sign of where the Jazz are headed.