Why Danny Ainge was smart to trade Bogdanovic to the Pistons

Utah Jazz forward Bojan Bogdanovic (44) knocks the ball away from Detroit Pistons center Isaiah Stewart Credit: Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports
Utah Jazz forward Bojan Bogdanovic (44) knocks the ball away from Detroit Pistons center Isaiah Stewart Credit: Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports /

Bojan Bogdanovic trade rumors had been floating around for a few weeks, but the Detroit Pistons were never mentioned.

This trade flew under the radar and I think it’s safe to say that fans of both teams were somewhat surprised when it happened.

I think it’s a slam dunk for Detroit, who got the best player, a guy who is a better fit, and who may be more valuable as a trade asset down the line.

But what about Utah? On the surface this doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for them, as surely they could have gotten more for an 18-point per game scorer who would make any contender better. But when you dig a little deeper, this was actually a good trade for Utah too.

Related Story. Why the Bogdanovic trade is a huge win for the Detroit Pistons. light

Detroit Pistons: Could Utah have gotten more for Bojan Bogdanovic?

I initially thought that the Jazz would be able to squeeze a first-round pick out of someone for Bojan Bogdanovic, but that either wasn’t on the table or would have forced Utah to take back contracts that they didn’t want.

Instead, the Jazz take back two players that almost guarantee them to be the frontrunner in the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes next season. Olynyk is a quality player and good teammate who is smart and will be a good mentor to their young guys, but he’s not as good as Bogdanovic.

Olynyk will also be a decent trade chip at the deadline, as centers who can shoot are coveted in the NBA. It’s pretty clear now that Danny Ainge wasn’t going to get a first-round pick for Bogdanovic without taking on some money that extended past next season, but he did grab Saben Lee, who is basically like getting a high second-round pick.

If Ainge is able to flip Olynyk for another high second rounder or two, he’ll have gotten a couple of developmental players in exchange for a 33-year-old on an expiring deal, which isn’t a bad return.

There’s also the matter of money, as this trade allowed Utah to save $5 million right now and pick up a $6.75 million trade exception:

Utah already has a ton of picks from the Mitchell and Gobert trades, so this one was more about clearing money and ensuring the team bottoms out for a top pick.

Trading Bogdanovic to Detroit also keeps him out of the Western Conference and off one of the Jazz’s primary competitors. Why hand him over to a team like New Orleans, Phoenix or the Lakers? Sending him to the Pistons all but grantees they are not going to be affected by it now, though Detroit could certainly flip Bojan to a team in the West later in the season.

I do think the trade was a clear win for Detroit, but it makes sense for Utah too, as it clears some money, gives them back some assets and keeps a good player off one of their rivals. Jazz fans probably aren’t thrilled about it now, but this could end up being a smart trade for Utah too, especially after we see how it all shakes out at the trade deadline.

Next. Possible starters and depth chart after the Bogdanovic trade. dark