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Atlanta Hawks Receive: Dante Exum, Solomon Hill, Wesley Johnson, Ian Clark, 2019 first-round pick (lottery-protected, via New Orleans), 2020 first-round pick (lottery-protected, via Utah)
New Orleans Pelicans Receive: Justin Anderson, Ricky Rubio, Thabo Sefolosha
Utah Jazz Receive: Kent Bazemore, Jeremy Lin
Kent Bazemore and Jeremy Lin continue to garner interest around the league, according to the New York Times‘ Marc Stein. Utah needs both of them.
The Jazz are fourth in drives per game but shooting an unimpressive 47.3 percent on those attacks—barely a top-15 mark. Their guards are getting to the line but rank 19th in efficiency within five feet of the basket. And while they don’t rely too heavily on square-one shot creation, the offense needs another viable and consistent pull-up threat beyond Donovan Mitchell.
Lin addresses that on his own. He’s shooting 53.7 percent on drives without committing too many turnovers, and his 54.6 effective field-goal percentage on pull-ups would be the second-highest among Utah’s rotation fixtures, trailing only Kyle Korver’s lucrative, low-volume efficiency. He also keeps in theme with the Jazz’s free-throw parade and is a more natural off-ball weapon beside Mitchell than either Dante Exum or Ricky Rubio.
Bazemore is not excess in this scenario. His shooting splits are wonky, but he’s one of the league’s more underrated offensive weapons. He’s comfortable staying off the rock, and his secondary ball-handling diversifies Utah’s stagnant half-court machine.
Coughing up a first-rounder will feel awkward while bringing back Bazemore’s salary. He’s far from a bargain at $19.3 million in 2018-19 (player option). But Exum is owed about the same over the next two years ($19.2 million), and his pay grade tilts closer to bad money after spending the season waffling in and out of head coach Quin Snyder’s “You’re Not Really Going to Play Much” house.
Utah can look at this deal as salary-cap consolidation. Paying Bazemore cleans up the 2020 books, and the Jazz could still get to almost $25 million in cap space this summer if they waive Derrick Favors. They’ll dredge up even more than that should they waive Kyle Korver or reroute the salaries of Tony Bradley or Grayson Allen.
New Orleans, meanwhile, needs defenders who can match up with the league’s bigger wings. Both Justin Anderson and Thabo Sefolosha qualify, and Rubio is extra stopping power himself. And none of them add money to next season’s bottom line. This package doesn’t include a premier shooter, but the Pelicans offense can make do. Plus, Sefolosha is quietly shooting 41.7 percent from beyond the arc, albeit on negligible volume, over his past 12 appearances.
Two protected first-rounders should be enough for the Hawks to absorb Hill and Exum. The latter doesn’t turn 24 until July, is a defensive whiz and could end up being a good backup—or backcourt partner—for Trae Young.
That the Hawks wouldn’t be (scheduled) to get both picks at once also helps. They’re slated to have four total selections in this year’s draft. Nabbing a 2020 choice allows them to spread out their talent acquisition and evaluation.