NBA Trade Rumors: The Utah Jazz Are a Sneaky Landing Spot for Jerami Grant

At 30-18, it’s safe the say the Utah Jazz are headed toward the Western Conference playoffs. But a playoff spot isn’t the hurdle Utah should be aiming to clear. Instead, the Jazz are chasing the Golden State Warriors and Phoenix Suns and crafting a plan for how they can surpass the top two teams in the conference.

Utah will explore a variety of options between now and the NBA trade deadline. One option is Detroit Pistons forward Jerami Grant, a player the Jazz and many other teams will look to acquire.

Jerami Grant is the Utah Jazz’s number one trade target

Between now and next month’s deadline, there will be a lot of names thrown out in various rumors. Grant will undoubtedly be one of the more popular names so long as he still remains in Motown.

Grant, 27, is in the second year of a three-year contract worth $60 million. Last season, the 6-foot-8 forward set a career-high with 22.3 points on 42.9% shooting. This year, Grant averaged another 20.1 points before undergoing surgery to repair a torn ligament in his thumb. While he’s on the verge of returning to action, the eighth-year vet hasn’t played since Dec. 10.

The versatile Grant would be a major addition to the Jazz, and they agree. According to Marc Stein on Substack, Grant is Utah’s “preferred target” at the deadline. However, Detroit isn’t likely to part with Grant for Utah’s rumored offer — the expiring contract of Joe Ingles and a future first-round pick.

Further complicating matters, the Jazz have major competition for Grant. As Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report wrote this week, the Atlanta Hawks and Sacramento Kings have emerged as strong suitors for the 27-year-old forward. In addition, the Los Angeles Lakers, Portland Trail Blazers, and New York Knicks are three additional teams checking in on Grant, who sources told Fischer is “the grand prize of the deadline.”

The Utah Jazz need to make a move at the deadline, Grant or otherwise

After going 28-10, the Jazz were in the mix to win the West. But an ugly 2-8 stretch over the last 10 games has pushed Utah into the four-seed.

Injuries can be blamed for part of that. Donovan Mitchell has been out since Jan. 17 as he works his way out of concussion protocol. Rudy Gobert strained his calf against the Warriors last weekend and will miss his second straight game against the Suns on Wednesday. And in its last outing, Utah went up against Phoenix without Mike Conley, Bojan Bogdanovic, Joe Ingles, and Royce O’Neale.

But injuries are affecting every team to a degree, including the Suns and Warriors. The West’s top two clubs have been playing without Deandre Ayton and Draymond Green respectively while also facing various ailments with other players.

Mitchell and Gobert are Utah’s two best players, that much is certain. But an additional player like Grant can help shoulder the load if one (or both) are off the court.

The obstacle facing the Jazz is how much they part with to land someone like Grant. Part of what makes them a legitimate title contender is their quality of depth. Through 48 games, five players are averaging double-figures. But that depth could be put to use for packaging players together and making a move for Grant or another game-changing player.

Even if Utah is outbid for Grant, that shouldn’t end its search for additional help.

Another veteran is rumored to be an option for the Jazz

With just a few more days to make a trade, the Jazz are exploring all types of possibilities. One player to watch is Robert Covington, the dependable veteran forward from the Trail Blazers. According to Stein, Covington is drawing trade interest from Utah, among other teams.

The 31-year-old Covington is the prototypical 3-and-D veteran contending teams covet. Through nine years, the 6-foot-7 forward has averaged 11.7 points with 2.2 made 3-pointers as well as 1.6 steals and 1.0 blocks. This season, Covington is only scoring 7.7 points per game but still registering over a steal and block in 29.3 minutes a night.

At this stage in his career, Covington won’t be a huge addition to the league’s top-scoring offense. However, his size and versatility can add to Utah’s 11th-ranked defensive rating. Not to mention, his expiring contract would make him an affordable option to acquire via trade.

Grant is the number one choice and a player who could really turn Utah into a bonafide title contender. But Covington’s reputation as a versatile defender can boost the Jazz’s overall outlook at a fraction of the cost.

All statistics courtesy of Basketball Reference and contract figures courtesy of Spotrac.

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