SALT LAKE CITY – The latest rumors surrounding the Utah Jazz indicate that the organization wants to move up in Thursday’s NBA Draft.
Both ESPN and Yahoo Sports have reported that the Jazz have had discussions about moving up in the draft, though each report has the team targeting different players.
Additionally, rumors have surfaced that another highly touted draft prospect could slide down the draft and into the Jazz lineup if they stay with the ninth pick.
ESPN, Yahoo: Jazz looking to trade in lottery
Both ESPN and Yahoo Sports have reported that the Jazz have explored the possibility of moving up in the Thursday night draft.
In his latest mock draft published Tuesday on ESPNJonathan Givony reported that the Jazz could be targeting the Detroit Pistons’ number five pick as a possibility to move up.
“Pistons general manager Troy Weaver showed deft ability to maneuver around the lottery last year to position himself to land two elite prospects in Jaden Ivey and Jalen Duren, and it’s possible he looks to do the same again , possibly with a team like Utah (which has picks No. 9 and 16), Givony wrote.
That matches Givony’s appearance on SportsCenter Monday when he reported the Jazz could target Houston Cougars forward Jarace Walker if they were to move up in the draft, citing the Pistons as a potential partner.
Jonathan Givony with some mentions of @utahjazz potential trade for Jarace Walker, or watch Cam Whitmore drop to 9 on Thursday.
Both would be a significant development! https://t.co/4Gwnv7Zokw
— Ben Anderson (@BensHoops) 20 June 2023
“Utah has been linked to Walker for much of the pre-draft process, potentially giving them a defensively versatile forward to pair with Lauri Markkanen, but they would likely have to move up past Indiana to get him,” Givony wrote.
On Tuesday, Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fisher also reported that the Jazz and Pistons had discussed a potential draft night swap.
“Utah has been in contact with the Pistons about trading up from Nos. 9 and 16, according to league sources, with rival teams believing the Jazz are looking to move up Washington’s eighth pick to select Arkansas guard Anthony Black.” Fisher reported.
“Utah has also reached out to Indiana about trading the seventh pick, sources said. But the Jazz may have to trade over Orlando — or find a trade with the Magic at No. 6 — to secure a shot at Black.”
— Ben Anderson (@BensHoops) 20 June 2023
Fisher also added that the Jazz could explore trades involving guard Collin Sexton, who the team acquired last season in the Donovan Mitchell blockbuster.
Jazz Want to add another lottery pick?
Givony also hinted that the Jazz could be looking to add another lottery pick, using their 16th and 28th picks.
“Sources told ESPN that the Jazz are exploring many different options on draft night, including packaging their first two picks to move up in the lottery (possibly to Nos. 5, 6 or 7), or using their last two first-rounders and taking on a contract from a team like Dallas for, say, Davis Bertans, a move that could not be completed until July 1,” Givony wrote.
Depending on the contract decisions of Jordan Clarkson and Talen Horton-Tucker regarding their player options in the coming days, the Jazz could clear enough cap space to absorb Bertan’s contract in a trade with Dallas while adding the 10th pick in the draft.
By trading Bertans, Dallas could clear up much-needed cap space to improve their roster around Luka Doncic while still landing a first-round pick just outside the lottery.
The Jazz, meanwhile, would have the opportunity to add two top-ten picks to their rebuilding roster without sacrificing long-term flexibility in the process.
Cam Whitmore sliding down draft boards?
While the Jazz may be looking to move up in the draft, multiple outlets have reported that wing Cam Whitmore could slide down the draft ahead of Thursday night.
Givony dropped Whitmore from the fifth pick in last week’s mock draft to ninth in his latest projections released Tuesday.
Whitmore turned some heads after choosing to coach in Utah in early June despite the belief that he was unlikely to still be on the board when the Jazz were on the clock with the ninth pick.
— KSL Sports (@kslsports) 31 May 2023
“[Whitmore] completed his final practice with the Rockets (No. 4) on Saturday and has also completed individual workouts with the likes of Portland, Detroit, Orlando, Indiana and Utah, receiving positive feedback in some places and struggling at times with his shooting and intensity in others,” Givony reported.
The Caller’s Kevin O’Connor had too Whitmore drops to nine in his latest draft.
“In recent days, sources have begun to discuss a potential drop for Whitmore, in part due to poor training,” O’Connor reported. “Or maybe it’s all a smokescreen?”
Whitmore averaged 12.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 0.7 assists per game at Villanova while shooting 47 percent from the floor, 34 percent from three and 70 from the free throw line in 26 games.
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