A few thoughts on the recent Utah Jazz trades where they acquired Mo Williams in a four-team deal landing Lamar Odom with the Los Angeles Clippers and sending Devin Harris to the Atlanta Hawks for Marvin Williams.
1. At first you had to wonder why the Jazz wanted Mo Williams considering they had three point guards under contract already. Of course we saw why when they shipped out Harris. The upside is Williams provides some shooting and mental toughness to the lineup along with better defense. The downside is he still isn’t your prototypical point guard or long term solution to the position.
2. Harris was up and down last season so you could say getting Mo Williams was an upgrade. Also credit Jazz General Manager Kevin O’Connor for getting some value for Harris in Marvin Williams. While he never has lived up to the expectations of being the No. 2 overall pick of the 2005 draft he has turned into a decent role player and can possibly allow Gordon Hayward more floor time at the two. The downside of Marvin Williams is he has plateaued the last three seasons averaging around 10 points and five rebounds per game. And where Harris’ contract expired after this season Williams has a players option which means the Jazz could end up having to lay out $7.5 million for him next year.
3. The good and bad of expiring contracts. Besides the Marvin Williams player option and the “Core Four” (if no one has come up with that yet I’m trademarking it!) of Derrick Favors, Hayward, Alec Burks and Enes Kanter every Jazz player’s contract will be up after next season. Now obviously the upside is this gives O’Connor plenty of options to wheel and deal before this season’s trade deadline. And after this year he’ll have plenty of cash to throw at free agents. On the court itself it could be a double-edged sword. Players will be giving their all since it’s a contract year. At the same time players could be become selfish in an effort to bolster their stats and impress other teams which could become a detriment on the floor in addition to the development to the “Core Four.” You could particularly see this in times when the team struggles during those tough stretches during the season.
In the end did the Jazz get better? Sure. Are they anywhere close to competing for a championship? Nope. One thing is for certain though, with the expiring contracts and future cash available the chances of the Jazz of some day winning a title falls squarely on the shoulders of O’Connor.