Trade Deadline Marathon: Day 19.2
UTA Receives: PG Mike Conley, PF Ivan Rabb, SG Yuta Watanabe
MEM Receives: PG Dante Exum, PF Derrick Favors, SG Grayson Allen
Though Mike Conley will look strange in a non-Memphis uniform, this deal to the Jazz is a good one on all fronts. For the Jazz, Conley is a natural fit. He's a hardworking, team-first player, who's a significant upgrade over Ricky Rubio, and fine complement to Donovan Mitchell in the backcourt. Since he he's a more advanced scorer and a better three-point shooter, Conley will help Mitchell shoulder the offensive load, and make sure the offense doesn't grind to a halt in his absence, while creating more space when the two play together.
Rabb and Watanabe are more monetary and roster fillers, but Rabb isn't without some promise: he's a former high-second-round pick who acquitted himself well his rookie year, but then found himself squarely behind high-lottery pick Jaren Jackson Jr. in his second year, and has struggled to get back on the court. With Favors headed to Memphis, there would definitely be minutes available for Rabb in Salt Lake City.
When the Jazz brought Favors and Exum back this past summer, it felt more like they had to than they really wanted to; they weren't going to get better players on the free agent market, and they had improved as the season went on and peaked going into the playoffs and 'upset' the Thunder in the first round -- the status quo was a good thing. But Favors has never really proven himself to be compatible with Rudy Gobert, and Exum hasn't come close to justifying his 5th-overall selection in the 2014 draft -- his three year, $33 million contract extension was one of the true eyebrow-raisers of the offseason.
That all said, for Memphis, it's about as good a haul as they could hope for. Favors, though a bad fit for Gobert, would go tremendously well with Jaren Jackson Jr. Favors is a bad fit in Utah because both he and Gobert are effectively centers in the modern NBA, but Jackson Jr. is the modern stretch-four with range out to the three point line. In the event that Favors didn't mesh, the team could just decline next year's option and open up $17 million in cap space.
Exum, a disappointment thus far, is still a young player with upside. Part of his struggles stem from the fact that he lost a whole season to a torn ACL, and a good portion of another to a shoulder injury that required surgery. He wouldn't be the first player to have his development stunted by early career injuries, though, and if he can shrug off the 'injury-prone' label and seize command of the Memphis offense, Exum may just find a bright future in the association; he's still a mere 23, after all.
Allen was likely the 'best player available' when Utah's pick came up this year -- why else would a team whose best player was a rookie shooting guard take another shooting guard in the draft the very next year? While Donovan Mitchell is plying his trade in the Rockies, Allen has no future there. With Memphis trotting Garrett Temple out to start in the backcourt, far better to see if Allen can be a real player in the league.
Starting over is hard to do, but with these pieces coming back - and more in an anticipated Gasol trade - Memphis may turn out alright.