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SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Jazz have traded away center Tibor Pleiss and two second round picks to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for point guard Kendall Marshall. The deal is now official, and was first reported by Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski.
Marshall will be waived by the Jazz before his deal becomes guaranteed Saturday, according to Wojnarowski. In other words, the Jazz are doing this deal to dump Pleiss' contract, in which he is guaranteed $3 million in 2016-17 and $500k in 2017-18.
The Jazz received the rights to Pleiss as part of the trade with Oklahoma City for Enes Kanter, and signed him to a deal that offseason. Since then, though, Pleiss has disappointed the Jazz a little bit with his level of play.
The Jazz had plenty of picks to spend. The Jazz had four second round picks in the 2017 NBA draft, including their own, Detroit's, Golden State's, and Toronto's. They've received two additional ones in trades in 2021 and 2022, and haven't traded any of their own away before Friday. Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders reports that the Jazz will trade the best and worst of their four 2017 picks.
The Jazz have four 2nds in 2017 (own, DET, GST, NYK) - they sent two to Philly, who will get the best and the worst of four @BBallInsiders — Eric Pincus (@EricPincus) August 26, 2016
The big question: why are the Jazz making moves to open up cap space for this season? The writing was on the wall for Pleiss as soon as Joel Bolomboy signed a contract, but the Jazz could have simply waived him and ate the $3 million cap hit. Now, though, it seems they have something up their sleeve, with about $13 million in cap space left.
The most likely possibility is that they'll use that money to give Derrick Favors a big money extension. Favors has two years left on his deal, but the Jazz can give him more money this season and next in exchange for lengthening it for two additional years, saving them money in 2018-19 and beyond. That's key, because Rudy Gobert, Dante Exum, and Rodney Hood will all be off of their rookie contracts at that point.
George Hill is also eligible for an extension, but it seems he and his representation prefer for Hill to become a free agent in the summer of 2017.
There's also a chance that the Jazz use this additional space to take on another quality player in a trade, but I can't imagine who that player would be. At this point, the Jazz are already pretty happy with their rotation, and it would have to be a big money player that made over $10 million a year.