It isn’t exactly a revelation that the Utah Jazz are looking to trade one of their two starting big men – either Al Jefferson, or Paul Millsap, who both become free agents at the end of the season. Millsap, the cheaper option of the two, might get traded to the Los Angeles Clippers for Eric Bledsoe.
There are conflicting reports regarding the matter, with some suggesting that there are no talks, but the popular opinion seems to be that Utah, looking for a point guard and a way to get out something of expiring contracts before both players leave through free agency. Bledose is owed only $1.7 million for this season and $2.6 million for the next, which means the Clippers will have to throw in a another player into the trade to make it work (Millsap makes $8.6 million per season). The problem is, that having a bench that works so well, the Clippers are afraid or not too willing to part with any of their current group of subs.
Millsap, a five year veteran who is averaging 15.1 points and 7.4 rebounds this season, along with Jefferson, are too expensive for the future of the Jazz, who believe that the rise of Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors is justification enough to push Jefferson and Millsap away from the team, especially with the two of them probably becoming very expensive this summer. Jefferson is likely to look for a maximum money-deal from whoever tries to sign him, and Millsap, 28, will also be looking for a contract that brings him around $10-12 million a season.
There’s also the need for balance in a team that has been extremely lacking in the backcourt since the departure of Deron Williams. Gordon Hayward, in his third year in the NBA, is developing very nicely, averaging 18.3 points per 36 minutes on the floor, and the Jazz believe he’s going to be a big part of their future in the coming years. Adding the improving Bledsoe and creating a very talented, young backcourt is the way to go, both professionally and financially.
The Clippers are simply looking for a way to improve their team and add a bit of depth, hoping that Millsap might stick around for more than just a few months, possibly being the added piece that could carry the Clippers further than they’ve ever been before in the postseason.