Ahead of the 2024 NBA Trade Deadline, the Utah Jazz have traded big man Kelly Olynyk and Ochai Agbaji to the Toronto Raptors, per the latest NBA news. In return, the Jazz will receive Kira Lewis, Otto Porter, and a 2024 first-round draft pick.
2024 first-round pick pic.twitter.com/VnMByVrGg5
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) February 8, 2024
Utah acquired Olynyk in September 2022 from the Detroit Pistons for Saben Lee.
The Canadian-born big man was a popular trade candidate throughout the season, having been linked to “various teams across the league,” per Michael Scotto:
Olynyk has drawn interest from various teams across the league, sources say, and is considered Utah’s top trade candidate ahead of the deadline by rival executives as he prepares to enter unrestricted free agency in the summer.
Even so, Olynyk acknowledged these reports and spoke on how he feels playing for the Jazz:
Kelly Olynyk on if he’s talked to the Jazz front office about the deadline: “No one’s really said anything but it is what it is. … I love Utah, I love the Jazz, the organization has been unbelievable. The city, the fans are great. I’d love to be here, but it’s a business.”
In his second season with the Jazz, Olynyk is averaging 8.1 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game. Furthermore, Olynyk is shooting 56.2% from the field and 42.9% from the three-point line. These are both career bests for the 32-year-old.
NBA News: Utah Jazz Trade Kelly Olynyk
Why Did the Jazz Trade Kelly Olynyk?
For most of the season, Olynyk has come off the bench, starting just eight games out of 50 played. Additionally, this is the final year of Olynyk’s three-year contract. Trading a sought-after big man is much better for the Jazz than just letting him walk in free agency.
Furthermore, Olynyk will turn 33 years old in April. The Jazz are a young team, and Olynyk does not fit their timeline. This is especially true considering that Utah, who currently has a 26-26 record, owns the No. 10 seed in the Western Conference. Despite being in line for a play-in spot, it is safe to assume the Jazz are not immediate title contenders in a competitive Western Conference.
Lastly, the Jazz already have a solid frontcourt of Lauri Markkanen, John Collins, and Walker Kessler. With Olynyk, this was on the verge of becoming a logjam. With the other three all being under 30, it was clear Olynyk was the odd man out.
What Does Kelly Olynyk Bring?
Olynyk is an efficient scorer, especially from the perimeter. Plus, for a near seven-footer, Olynyk is an underrated playmaker and passer. Olynyk’s versatility on offense makes him useful for essentially any NBA team. On the flip side, however, Olynyk’s defense is nothing special. In fact, despite being a big man, his defense is better on the perimeter than it is in the paint. Additionally, Olynyk is not a tenacious rebounder, and his playstyle is a better fit on the outside. Still, Olynyk is very talented and has had a solid NBA career since joining the league in 2013.