The Utah Jazz had started the regular season being, on paper, one of the worst NBA teams. Instead, thanks to an unexpectedly good start and a subsequent float, they are ninth with a 24-25 record, with a chance to make the Playoffs. In the summer the Jazz racked up draft picks thanks to trades that led to the disposals of Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, but unexpectedly the very pick they already had originally may be less attractive than expected.
The Jazz may therefore consciously weaken at the trade deadline, partly to avoid remaining in the “limbo” of being a team neither strong enough to win nor poor enough to get high picks at the Draft, and partly to collect more picks. According to Marc Stein, Utah would be willing to give up anyone right now, with the exception of Lauri Markkanen and Walker Kessler. The Finn is one of the biggest surprises of the NBA season, finally blossoming and authoring so far of 24.8 points average, while rookie Kessler, who arrived just in the trade for Gobert from Minnesota, became the starting center and a shot blocker among the best around (2.0 stoppages average playing only 20′).
Among the transferables then would be “our” Simone Fontecchio, who arrived in the summer from Baskonia. The Italian has found very little space in recent weeks, after a few good performances in November including the game-winner on a dunk against Golden State. Fontecchio has averaged 3.6 points so far but has not gone into double figures of minutes since Dec. 20, appearing in only 3 of the Utah Jazz’s last 13 games.