Forget Trading Al Jefferson Or Paul Millsap, The Utah Jazz Should Deal Marvin Williams

By Ben Anderson

It’s no secret, the Utah Jazz need to trade one of their big guys. There is a logjam in the Jazz rotation, too many cooks in the kitchen, too many mouths to feed, too many horses in the stable. Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson are the Jazz two highest scorers–Jefferson leads the Jazz in rebounding, and Millsap leads the Jazz in steals. It isn’t hard to argue that Millsap and Jefferson are the Jazz two most important players, right now. And yet, with the NBA’s February 21st trade deadline looming, it is both Millsap and Jefferson whose names are floated most often in trade rumors.

There is good reason for this, both players are free agents at the end of the year, and a small market team like the Jazz can’t afford to lose valuable players in free agency if a deal could have been made to bring back upper tier value. In addition, Millsap and Jefferson are the two Jazz players who could fetch the most on the trade market– potentially propelling the Jazz into the ring of contenders for a deep playoff run. For Jazz fans, Al Jefferson’s lack of defensive prowess, or effort, is often maddening. Millsap’s inconsistent performance, and atypical stature often leave Jazz fans wishing for more.

So in the flurry of trade rumors we are sure to hear in Salt Lake City in the next month, which big man should the Jazz fans most hope to be traded? Marvin Williams of course. No, Marvin Williams isn’t going to bring back an All-Star on the trade market, no, Marvin Williams probably won’t bring in a point guard capable of filling the void left in Mo Williams absence, and no, Marvin Williams won’t bring you a slew of future draft picks for Jazz fans to hang their hopes on for the next several years–all he’ll bring is cap relief. Currently, Marvin Williams is the Jazz 4th highest paid player, bringing in just over $8.2 million this season. However, if Marvin Williams decides to activate his player option of $7.5 million over the summer, he’ll be the Jazz highest paid player currently under contract going into the 2013-14 NBA season.

Along with Millsap and Jefferson, the Jazz are set to see Mo Williams, Randy Foye, Earl Watson, Jamaal Tinsley, DeMarre Carroll, and Raja Bell enter the summer with no contractual obligation to the Jazz. Regardless of which of those players the Jazz choose to pursue, the Jazz are set to see their entire point guard rotation enter free agency, two shooting guards, a small forward, and their starting power forward and center. That is four starters, and three rotational players if you’re counting.

In 25 minutes per game this year, Marvin Williams is supplying the Jazz with a paltry nine points, three rebounds, and less than one assist in 25 minutes a night. He’s belongs on an NBA roster, and he’s a better than advertised defender. But for a team with the financial limitations the Jazz are held too, and with career lows in rebounding, shooting percentage, and steals, and his worst numbers since his rookie season in points per game and assists, Marvin Williams production isn’t worth the money he is due to make. So while Jazz fans seem intent on chasing Paul Millsap or Al Jefferson out of town, they may want to save the bus ticket for Marvin Williams, before he, and his $7.5 million dollar contract overstay their welcome.

Tags: Basketball NBA Utah Jazz

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