by Daniel Olsen | While nothing is confirmed, it’s fun to speculate how the Jazz could land James Harden with several teams vying for his services. He hasn’t listed the Jazz in his top trade destinations despite multiple “sources” making these claims. However, it’s fun to embrace the rumors. He hasn’t reported for training camp and the Rockets are looking to trade him for someone who wants to be there. We will explore three trade options and determine which one is the best trade option. This is a hard conversation because we love our guys. However, if the Raptors could take a gamble and get Kawhi for a year, why not us? If fans want to win a title, maybe they should be willing to sacrifice something in return, even if it’s a player they love. The Raptors had to get rid of Demar DeRozan. Who is the DeRozan for the Jazz?
Option 1: Harden for Mitchell
This would be tough because Mitchell is very likable in Utah. I could only see this happening if Donovan decided he didn’t really want to be in Utah anymore. He has stated many times that he wants to win a championship with the Jazz so as long as he feels that is attainable, I think he stays. Harden is a former MVP so if the Rockets call, the Jazz should at least take a look at this. Mitchell is a young rising star and has a chance to truly hit his peak in a couple years. If Harden doesn’t want to share the backcourt with Westbrook, why would he share the backcourt with Mitchell? This wouldn’t win the Jazz a title but it would keep them in the mix just like they already are now with Mitchell. This isn’t my favorite scenario but it is something the Rockets might offer. If they do, I think the Jazz should hold firm and say no.
Option 2: Harden for Gobert
This would be crazy but if the Jazz decide to change their DNA and go all out for offense, this is the trade to make. There is only one basketball to share between the two scorers but Harden could be a great All-Star point guard. He has a smooth outside shot and crafty moves. He can pass the ball well and would be able to give Mitchell plenty of open looks. It would be tough to have two alphas on the same team who are used to being the number one option. If anyone can make it work though, it’s Mitchell. He had some rough times with Gobert but worked them out. If he and Harden could learn to play together, the Jazz could have the scariest backcourt in the NBA.
Option 3: Harden for Conley, Bojan and an unprotected first round pick
This may sound like a heavy haul but if the Rockets aren’t getting one of the two All-Stars, they have to demand quite a bit in return to be interested in a trade with the Jazz. Harden already takes Conley’s spot as the point guard. It would hurt to lose Bojan but Harden has a sweet shot of his own and brings other valuable pieces to the table. A big three of Mitchell, Harden and Gobert would be one of the best in the West. That’s a team that could seriously compete with LA. They would have an elite backcourt on offense and keep the two-time defensive player of the year on defense.
The Rockets would get a clutch shooter, proven leader at the point and possibly a future piece in an unprotected first round pick. This would clear plenty off the books for the Jazz to work out a deal with Harden. It does depend though on whether Rudy takes the super max. It might be tough to afford all three with a small market team but if anyone could make it work, it’s Ryan Smith. The new owner of the Jazz has money to spend and should be willing to go into the luxury tax if he wants to build a championship team right away.
These are just scenarios so it’s important to not take this too seriously. As fans, it’s fun to tinker with the NBA trade machine and see what it would take for the Jazz to capture that elusive talent. With the star power of the LA teams, a talented small-market franchise like the Jazz needs to do everything they can to keep up.
Featured Image courtesy Ravell Call | Deseret News