Trade figures: Pistons steal Bojan Bogdanovic, hit homerun with deal; disappointing move for Jazz


The fire sale continues: The Utah Jazz will trade Bojan Bogdanovic for the Detroit Pistons for big man Kelly Olynyk and security guard Saben Lee, according to The Athletic. There are no concept picks that change hands in the deal.

If this is the Pistons’ last big move of the season, they’ve significantly reshaped the rotation. It is primarily a talent show, but it also balances the roster. (Detroit has yet to make a few more cuts before the start of the season, however; in related news, Kemba Walker is still technically on the team.)

For the Jazz this is much less exciting. Bogdanovic is the type of player that a contender might see as a missing piece. His $19.3 million salary was likely an obstacle in trade talks, but surprisingly they accepted a transaction that didn’t include any draft compensation. (On the other hand, Utah is barely short of draft picks, having traded Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell and Royce O’Neale earlier this off-season.)

Let’s review the trade.

Commercial grade pistons: A+

Detroit receives:

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Bogdanovic, 33, solidifies the starting line-up for a rebuilding team trying to take a step forward. If I were Cade Cunningham, I’d be delighted. Bogdanovic doesn’t need the ball to be effective, but he gives the Pistons a new source of attack when they need it. He will give Cunningham more room to operate when they are on the pitch together and help the team stay functional when Cunningham is on the bench.

The veteran could serve as a model of sorts for Saddiq Bey, and the two attackers will complement each other. It’s unclear if Jaden Ivey will start straight away, but a Cunningham-Ivey-Bey-Bogdanovic foursome would give Dwane Casey’s coaching staff an interesting look: dynamic on offense, switchable on defense.

Bogdanovic scored an average of 18.1 points in 30.1 minutes last season on 59.9 percent where shooting. He was efficient all over the field, earning 40.7 percent of his wide open 3s, according to He is not a closed defender, especially against players with a faster perimeter, but he is strong, smart and in Utah he found himself defending stars often.

Losing Olynyk means there is no stretch 5 left on the roster, but it softens the blockage in the frontcourt. If Detroit stops acting, Jalen Duren, Nerlens Noel, Isaiah Stewart and Marvin Bagley III will battle for minutes. Simply trading two players for one also counts as a win, given the tightness of the roster.

If the Pistons aren’t interested in another high lottery pick, this is an obvious bargain. All players involved have expiring contracts; should Detroit get off to a bad start and decide to bottom out, it could trade Bogdanovic before the trade deadline.

Jazz Trading Class: D+

Utah receives:

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In Utah, 31-year-old Olynyk will reunite with former Celtics president Danny Ainge. He will also provide some structure to a team that, as it is currently put together, has a slew of scorers and a lack of distributors. Olynyk isn’t the same kind of threat as Bogdanovic, but he can pass from the high post and send opponents out onto the perimeter. If he stays healthy and productive this season, the front office may be able to turn him into a contender.

It’s unclear whether Lee, 23, is in Utah’s plans or was traded as a salary filler. In his two seasons, he has shown that he can get into the paint, but only made 26.5 percent of his low volume 3-point attempts. The Jazz are overloaded with guards, but that could change in the coming weeks.

So why on earth would Utah do this? As Yossi Gozlan from HoopsHype noticed, cuts the trade $5 million in its luxury tax bill, giving the front office more flexibility in considering its next move, and it creates a $6.75 million trade exception. Also if the Salt Lake Tribune‘s Andry Larsen noted, the Jazz had a very different roster problem than Detroit: hardly any big players, lots of players who can play the 3 and 4 places. If Olynyk isn’t the opening night starter, I’d be surprised.

Utah could have gotten a late scoop in a Bogdanovic deal, per the Salt Lake Tribune, but for that the team would have had to take salary. The Jazz chose a little extra flexibility over the chance to get something better around the deadline. It’s not a damaging are moving, but it’s the first they’ve made out of season that doesn’t seem like a good value.

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