The sale continues: the Utah Jazz will exchange striker Bojan Bogdanovic with the Detroit Pistons for big man Kelly Olynyk and guard Saben Lee, according to Atletico. There are no draft picks changing hands in the deal.
If this is the Pistons’ last big move of the off-season, then they’ve reshaped the rotation significantly. It is first and foremost a talent catch, but it also balances the roster. (Detroit, however, still needs to make a couple of cuts before the season starts; in related news, Kemba Walker is still technically on the team.)
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For Jazz, this is much less exciting. Bogdanovic is the kind of player a contender might see as a missing piece. His $ 19.3 million salary was likely a hindrance in the trade talks, but it is surprising that they accepted an exchange that did not include any leverage compensation. (On the other hand, Utah isn’t short on draft picks, having swapped Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell, and Royce O’Neale earlier this off-season.)
We classify the trade.
Commercial Piston Grade: A +
33-year-old Bogdanovic consolidates the starting lineup for a rebuilding team that is trying to take a step forward. If I were Cade Cunningham, I would be elated. Bogdanovic doesn’t need the ball to be effective, but he gives the Pistons another source of attack when they need it. He will give Cunningham more room to operate when they are on the pitch together and will help the team remain functional when Cunningham is on the bench.
The veteran could serve as something of a role model for Saddiq Bey, and the two forwards will complement each other. It is unclear if Jaden Ivey will start right away, but a Cunningham-Ivey-Bey-Bogdanovic quartet would give Dwane Casey’s coaching staff an interesting aspect: dynamic in attack, switchable in defense.
Bogdanovic averaged 18.1 points in 30.1 minutes with 59.9% real shots last season. He was efficient from anywhere on the pitch and made 40.7 percent of his 3 wide open, according to NBA.com. He’s not a lockdown defender, especially against the fastest perimeter players, but he’s strong, smart and, in Utah, he’s often found himself defending the stars.
Losing Olynyk means there is no longer a 5 trait in the roster, but it alleviates the logjam in the frontcourt. If Detroit stops moving, Jalen Duren, Nerlens Noel, Isaiah Stewart and Marvin Bagley III will fight for minutes. Even the mere fact of having swapped two players for one counts as a win, given the roster crisis.
If the Pistons aren’t interested in another high lottery pick, this is a bargain. All the actors involved are contractually expiring; if Detroit starts badly and decides to hit rock bottom, it can trade Bogdanovic before the trade expires.
Commercial jazz grade: D +
In Utah, 31-year-old Olynyk will reunite with former Celtics president Danny Ainge. He will also provide a structure for a team that, as it is currently built, has a slew of scorers and a shortage of distributors. Olynyk is not the same type of threat as Bogdanovic, but he can pass off the high post and take the big opponents out on the perimeter. If he stays healthy and productive this season, the front office might be able to turn him into a contender.
It is unclear whether Lee, 23, is in the Utah plans or was included in the trade as a salary filler. In his two seasons, he showed the ability to get into the paint, but only made 26.5% of his low-volume 3-point attempts. The Jazz are overloaded with guards, but that could change in the coming weeks.
So why on earth would Utah do it? Ash HoopsHype’s Yossi Gozlan noted, commerce cuts $ 5 million from its luxury tax, giving the front office more flexibility as it considers its next move and creates a $ 6.75 million trade exception. Also, like the Grandstand of the Salt Lakeis Andry Larsen noticed, the Jazz had a completely different roster problem from that of Detroit: almost no big players, numerous players who can play the 3 and 4 places. If Olynyk wasn’t the opening night starter, I’d be surprised.
Utah could have gotten a late first in a Bogdanovic deal, though the Grandstand of the Salt Lake, but doing so would require the team to take on the salary. Jazz has chosen a little more flexibility than being able to get something better by the deadline. It’s not a harmful move, but it’s the first they’ve made this off-season that doesn’t seem to have good value for money.