Can't Get Enough of that Sweet Jazz
Cleveland and Utah are no strangers to working on trades with each other, and a potential deal that moves John Collins to the Cavs might be a win-win for both sides. Reports came out in early December of 2023 that the Utah Jazz would be looking to move on from John Collins after acquiring him from the Atlanta Hawks.
Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune noted a team source close to the Jazz said they had grown frustrated with Collins "slow uptake on learning the Jazz's system on both ends of the floor." Before the trade to Utah, Collins signed a five-year, 125-million-dollar contract with Atlanta. With three seasons left on his contract, Collins will be due for a little over 77 million dollars. A potential John Collins trade might be a little tricky to pull off, but let's see what it might look like for both teams.
This potential trade would have John Collins and a 2026 first-round pick going to the Cavs, and the Jazz getting Caris LeVert, Dean Wade, and a 2025 and 2026 second-round pick. Initially, it might seem like a lopsided trade; however, considering the Jazz have publicly spoken on their interest in moving on from Collins, this might be an opportune time for the Cavs to strike on the trade market.
According to Andy Larsen, Utah wants to add guards who are natural playmakers or have more upside defensively. LeVert is averaging 3.9 assists so far this season, in addition to 3.5 rebounds, and 16.2 points a game. Whether it be a sixth-man role or as a starter, Caris LeVert has been a key rotational guy for the Cavs the last few seasons. Utah could look to use him off the bench as well or slide him into the starting lineup alongside former Cavalier Collin Sexton. At 12th place in the Western Conference with a record of 16-19, the Jazz could be looking at a slight retooling in the near future.
Cleveland would miss LeVert's ability to score and facilitate the ball; however, with the addition of Max Strus to the team, as well as the recent emergence of Sam Merrill and rookie Craig Porter Jr, the Cavs would not be at too much of a loss with their depth. Although LeVert is one of the best players off of the bench in Cleveland, the team would not be doing their due diligence if they did not explore some potential trades. Especially considering his $15 million contract, he would be an enticing role player for a team to add.
Utah would also acquire Dean Wade in this trade. This season Wade has averaged 5.3 points and 4.7 rebounds a game. His versatility and ability to adapt on assignment would make him a valuable addition to the Jazz as they look ahead and retool their roster. With his ability to play at the three, four, and in some cases even the five position, Dean Wade's presence on the Jazz would give the team a lot of creativity when it comes to their lineups.
For Cleveland's side of this trade, John Collins would make his way to Cleveland and don the wine and gold. Bringing in Collins to the team would give the Cavs a little homework as far as roster construction goes. Do they use Collins as a role player off the bench and play him alongside guys like Georges Niang and Sam Merrill? Or does Cleveland put him at the starting power forward or center position and look to move on from one of their big men?
Another option would be sliding Collins in at the three position and running a big-man dominant starting squad similar to when Lauri Markkanen was on the team. John Collins has put up an average of 13.7 points a game along with 7.8 rebounds as well this season. His persistence on the court is a huge draw. Collins' ability to crash boards and finish on fast breaks would be a welcomed sight in Cleveland. For the final trade scenario, let's look at a potential three-team transaction with former Finals and playoff rivals.