The report on the status of the Utah Jazz rebuilding

This offseason marks the two-year anniversary of the trades of Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, which sent the Utah Jazz into a rebuild. While it's difficult to fully assess the value of these trades until all draft picks are selected and developed, it is possible to assess the moves the Jazz have made and what future moves might look like.

The Jazz's four highest-paid players make up their current core. John Collins, Jordan Clarkson, Collin Sexton and Lauri Markkanen form a solid core of players that the Jazz can build around if they decide to keep them all. All are under contract through the end of next season, although Lauri Markkanen's contract expires at the end of the season.

While the depth behind this core isn't great, if surrounded by the right players, this core led by Markkanen could make the Jazz a playoff contender. Markkanen is the Jazz's best player right now, so expanding and building around him could be the best way forward if both parties are on the same page. He averaged 23.2 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2 assists, while also picking up nearly 1 steal per game.

Sexton, Clarkson, and Collins are all more interesting situations, as they are scheduled to make $18.1 million, $14 million, and $26.5 million, respectively, next year. While the Jazz are expected to have more than $35 million in salary cap space when they enter free agency, those salaries may be too high for what Danny Ainge wants to build.

This core could very easily be available again next season to build on last year, but on the other hand, one or more of them could be used in a trade to upgrade a position where there is a need as the Jazz have some money to spend in the offseason.

Although the Jazz used a pick from the Gobert trade to select Taylor Hendricks from UCF last draft, most of the picks they acquired will only pay dividends in the next few years. This year, the Jazz own the rights to the No. 10 and No. 29 overall picks and also have plenty of future first-round picks. If the Jazz find their guy in the draft, they have the means to get him. They also have several options to choose from.

The Jazz also have the option to trade away their lottery pick if they don't like the player available. They haven't opened a championship window yet, so they can afford to wait another year or two for a better prospect or class if they want. That might not be what fans want, but it could increase their chances of success in five years.

Danny Ainge's rebuild of the Utah Jazz roster is difficult to assess at this point, but he has given the Jazz the opportunity to go in many directions with their draft picks, contract situations, and current players, which is almost the perfect starting point for a rebuild. The fruits will likely not be seen for several years, but the Jazz are on the right track and have a bright future.

Anna Harden

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