Utah’s top offseason priority is to re-sign free agent point guard Mike Conley. In the second half of this past season, before a hamstring injury sidelined him for the playoffs, Conley was exactly what the Jazz needed next to Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert. The Jazz were contenders.
However, re-signing Conley is going to be expensive (he made $34.5 million last season, and while maybe that price comes down some, it won’t be much — and the Jazz have to pay it, they can only replace him with the mid-level exception, which will not get them a player nearly as good). Without Conley, the Jazz already have $129 million guaranteed on the books next season, which pushes up against the $137 million luxury tax.
All that leads to rumors the Jazz are willing to give up some depth to lower their tax bill. From Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report comes a report — which should be taken with some salt — that Joe Ingles, Bojan Bogdanovic, and more could be available.
The Utah Jazz are known to be one of the few teams actually searching to move playoff-tested talent. Retaining Mike Conley is an offseason priority, sources said, and the Jazz have held numerous discussions with teams around the league about offloading salary to create room for Conley in free agency.
League personnel most often mention Joe Ingles as the Jazz wing to watch, and Bojan Bogdanovic and Royce O'Neale are also considered available for trade as Utah narrows its focus towards building a contender around Donovan Mitchell. The Jazz are also open to discuss trading their No. 30 pick, sources said.
Ingles is a valuable contributor — 12.1 points a game, shot a ridiculous 45.1% from 3 last season — and is on a $13 million expiring contract. Bogdanovic makes $18.7 million this season and $19.6 million next season; that’s a lot more cash for a team to take on, even for a guy who averaged 17 points a game and hot 39% from 3 last season.
A trade like that will hurt the Jazz on the court, however. Utah may see Conley as its Jrue Holiday, but Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert have not played at an Antetokounmpo/Middleton level in the playoffs to make all that work. Coach Quin Snyder has built the Jazz to be more of a system team, a true ensemble, and taking away a key piece or two of that ensemble changes the balance.
New Jazz owner Ryan Smith may be willing to pay some tax for a contender next season, but he’ll want to keep that bill under control. Look for the Jazz to find a way to trim that payroll some, but still push to be contenders in a deep Western Conference next season.