Commercial qualities: Pistons steal Bojan Bogdanovic, hit home with chord; disappointing move for jazz

The fire sale continues: Utah Jazz will trade forward Bojan Bogdanovic to the Detroit Pistons for big man Kelly Olynyk and guard Saben Lee, according to The Athletic. There are no draft picks that change hands in the deal.

While this is the Pistons’ last major move of the offseason, they’ve reshaped the rotation significantly. It’s primarily a talent grab, but it also balances the roster. (Detroit, however, still needs to make a few cuts before the season begins; in related news, Kemba Walker is technically still on the team.)

For Jazz, it’s much less exciting. Bogdanovic is the type of player a competitor might consider a missing piece. His $19.3 million salary was likely a stumbling block in trade talks, but it’s surprising that they agreed to a trade that didn’t include any tentative compensation. (Utah, on the other hand, is hardly short of draft picks, having traded Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell and Royce O’Neale earlier this offseason.)

Let’s evaluate the trade.

Commercial quality of the pistons: A+

Detroit receives:

Bogdanovic, 33, strengthens the starting line-up of a rebuilding team trying to take a step forward. If I was Cade Cunningham, I’d be thrilled. Bogdanovic doesn’t need the ball to be effective, but he gives the Pistons another source of offense when they need it. It will give Cunningham more room to function when they are on the pitch together and help the team stay functional when Cunningham is on the bench.

The veteran could serve as a role model for Saddiq Bey, and the two strikers will complement each other. It’s unclear if Jaden Ivey will start right away, but a Cunningham-Ivey-Bey-Bogdanovic foursome would give Dwane Casey’s coaching staff an interesting look: dynamic on offense, switchable on defense.

Bogdanovic averaged 18.1 points in 30.1 minutes on 59.9% true shooting last season. He was effective from all over the court and made 40.7% of his 3 wide open, according to NBA.com. He’s not a lock-in defender, especially against faster perimeter players, but he’s strong, smart and, in Utah, he’s often found himself defending stars.

Losing Olynyk means there’s no more stretch 5 on the roster, but it eases the frontcourt stalemate. If Detroit doesn’t move, then Jalen Duren, Nerlens Noel, Isaiah Stewart and Marvin Bagley III will fight for a few minutes. Just swapping two players for one also counts as a win, given the roster crisis.

If the Pistons aren’t interested in another high lottery pick, it’s a clear steal. All players involved have expiring contracts; if Detroit gets off to a bad start and decides to hit rock bottom, it can trade Bogdanovic before the trade deadline.

Jazz Commercial Rating: D+

Utah receives:

headshot-image

headshot-image

In Utah, Olynyk, 31, will reunite with former Celtics president Danny Ainge. He will also provide some structure to a team which, as currently constructed, has a multitude of goalscorers and a shortage of distributors. Olynyk isn’t the same kind of threat as Bogdanovic, but he can get out of the high post and take out big opponents on the perimeter. If he stays healthy and productive this season, maybe the front office could turn him into a contender.

It’s unclear if Lee, 23, is part of Utah’s plans or was included in the trade as a salary filler. In his two seasons, he showed an 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 this? As HoopsHype’s Yossi Gozlan rated, the trade cuts $5 million from its luxury tax bill, giving the front office more flexibility as it considers its next move, and it creates a trade exception of $6.75 million. Also, like the Salt Lake Grandstandby Andry Larsen noted, the Jazz had a totally different roster problem than Detroit: almost no big players, lots of players who can play 3rd and 4th place. If Olynyk isn’t the starter on opening night, I’d be surprised.

Utah could have gotten a late first in a deal with Bogdanovic, per the Salt Lake Grandstand, but that would have required the team to take a salary. The Jazz chose a little extra flexibility over the ability to get something better on schedule. That’s not a damaging move, but it’s the first they’ve made this offseason that doesn’t seem like good value.

Add Comment