Mar 12, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Sacramento Kings forward Rudy Gay (8) during the second quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center. The Kings defeated the Sixers 115-98. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Utah Jazz: 3 Ideal NBA Free Agents To Target In 2014


Despite finishing 25-57 this past season, the Utah Jazz have a solid foundation of young talent to grow their franchise around.

With players like Derrick Favors, Trey Burke and Gordon Hayward, Utah can sell free agents this summer on playing with one of the best young rosters in the NBA.

With a young roster, however, comes some struggle. The Jazz finished 29th in the NBA in scoring this season with just 95 points a contest. Hayward led the team with 16.2 points, but will be a restricted free agent himself this summer.

Utah doesn’t need to hit a LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony-type home run in free agency, but adding an offensive threat on the wing will be crucial to their improvement next season.

Here are three reasonable free agents that the Jazz could pursue.

 

Trevor Ariza, SF, Washington Wizards

While not a star, Ariza is a nice offensive talent who has proven he can complement a young backcourt.

This season with the Wizards, Ariza averaged 14.4 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.6 steals while starting all 77 games he played in. Washington made the jump from lottery dweller to playoff surprise, knocking off their first-round opponent Chicago Bulls in just five games.

A solid 3-point shooter, Ariza knocked down 2.3 treys per game while converting at a career-best 40.7 percent clip. He could help space the floor for Utah and would provide a nice kick-out option for players like Favors and Enes Kanter.

Evan Turner, SG/SF, Indiana Pacers

In the rare chance Utah lets Hayward walk in free agency, they could sign a very similar player to replace him in Turner.

Like Hayward, Turner can play both shooting guard and small forward. Both can handle the ball and create scoring opportunities for themselves and others.

Before being traded to the Indiana Pacers and finding himself in a reserve role, Turner was putting up 17.4 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.7 assists for the Philadelphia 76ers.

Having another player capable of handling the ball would ease the pressure on Burke, who will be entering just his second pro season. Turner is technically a restricted free agent, but odds are the Pacers won’t be in any hurry to hand him a big pay day. If Utah wants to save money but get someone of Hayward’s ability, targeting Turner would be wise.

 

Rudy Gay, SF, Sacramento Kings

He may be overrated and currently overpaid, but Gay is an athletic scoring forward that the Jazz could definitely use.

Gay holds a player option for next season worth $19.3 million. While there’s no way he’ll earn that much annually on his next deal, the security a new long-term contract would bring may be too enticing to pass up.

As previously mentioned, Utah struggled mightily to score the ball this season. Gay averaged 20 points per game between the Toronto Raptors and Sacramento Kings and owns a lifetime scoring average of 18.2.

At age 27, Gay is the perfect mix of veteran and developing talent. His game still has room to grow, but his eight years of league experience would be a great influence on a young Jazz team.

Tags: 2014 NBA Free Agency Evan Turner Rudy Gay Trevor Ariza Utah Jazz

  • jazzfan47

    Nah, I’d pass on all three — Gay’s overrated; Turner can’t even get into the Pacers rotation; and Ariza, he’s not someone you build your team with.

  • kason

    Based on scoring and adding a ball handler, how about Avery Bradley. He adds a defensive element to our backcourt that we don’t have. If you want “veteran influence” I would much rather we chase Luol Deng than Rudy Gay. I hope we bring back Marvin, probably a top ten underappreciated player in the league.

  • dingismaximus

    I didn’t know Gay, who was shooting pretty much 50% from the field after the Raptors trade equates to overrated status