Utah Jazz pursued massive trade in attempt to attract Paul George

Utah Jazz
Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

With NBA free agency right around the corner, most of the focus is on Paul George‘s future, or what the Los Angeles Lakers are planning to do. But what about the Utah Jazz?

Previous reports suggested the Jazz were willing to listen to trade offers on Lauri Markkanen just to see what type of packages they’d be presented with. Yet, now we’ve learned that the Jazz recently attempted to swing another blockbuster trade, though this time, the idea was to add a star talent.

According to Yahoo Sports’ NBA insider Jake Fischer, the Jazz presented a trade offer to the Brooklyn Nets for Mikal Bridges, prior to him being sent to the New York Knicks for a package that included five first-round picks and a pick swap.

The idea was to bring in Bridges, in hopes of showing Paul George that the Jazz were ready to be a threat in the Western Conference. Yet, once Utah learned of the exorbitant cost of trading for the now-Knicks swingman, the Jazz backed out of negotiations.

“There’s another team lingering on the periphery of this situation as well. The Utah Jazz have all the cap space, veteran salaries and exorbitant draft capital to add the type of co-stars — such as Mikal Bridges, once upon a time, whom the team attempted to land this week, sources said, before New York splurged six years of first-round draft assets for the Villanova product — to round out a roster that already features All-Star forward Lauri Markkanen. That appears to have been Utah’s dreamiest plot this summer, according to league figures with knowledge of the situation, trading for one or even two more bonafide pieces to then entice George to flee Los Angeles for Salt Lake City.”

Jake Fischer on Utah Jazz’ failed trade attempt for Mikal Bridges

We can see why the Jazz weren’t willing to part with their treasure trove of draft picks, just to land Bridges. Chances are, they’ll be able to use those selections to land a bigger, better target if they bide their time. Yet, by failing to improve the roster with a win-now player today, the Jazz may have significantly hurt their chances of luring a star talent, such as Paul George in free agency.

Perhaps that’s why the Jazz are now rumored to be listening to trade offers for Markkanen, as mentioned earlier. With Danny Ainge pulling strings, you can bet the Jazz are discussing a lot of different avenues to improving the roster this summer, but it doesn’t seem like they’ll emerge as serious contenders to sign George.

Related: 10 NBA free agency predictions for 2024 offseason

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