As soon as reports on Friday, July 4 circulated that the Utah Jazz were in the process of acquiring forward Steve Novak in a trade, so too were rumors that Jazz forward Marvin Williams was on his way out of Utah.
That the Jazz reportedly got better by adding Novak, a 43 percent three point shooter to its arsenal on Friday was one thing--but Williams was not only a solid player for Utah, he was also a big presence in the locker room.
Williams downfall with the new leadership group led by head coach Quin Snyder, however, is twofold. He isn’t a great three-point shooter like Novak and, most important, he‘s a stretch-4--the same position that Novak will likely play with the Jazz.
On the flip side, Williams brought a defensive presence on the floor--something which Novak has never excelled at during his topsy-turvy eight year NBA career. In fact, about the only thing that Novak has thrived on in the pros is shooting treys.
How do the Jazz go on without Williams? According to TNT NBA analyst David Aldridge, it was only a matter of time before teams came calling for a player like Williams--a player who still averages about 10 points per game in his ninth season as a pro.
Aldridge puts Williams in that second tier of free agents to which Jazz forward Gordon Hayward belongs, and Williams--as well as Hayward--are likely to receive offers as soon as the big group of LeBron, Melo and other one-name wonders have decided where they’ll play.
The teams reportedly interested in Williams--who has been in Utah since the beginning of the 2012-13 NBA season--is interesting and frankly, awfully threatening to a Jazz team if it intends on keeping Williams.
The World Champion San Antonio Spurs top the list, and according to a Spurs fan blog Williams is a top target because he can play either the three or stretch-four spots. (The blog also has an analytical breakdown outlining what Williams can bring to San Antonio.)
Other teams showing interest in Williams include several teams that made and went deep into the playoffs. The Miami Heat, NBA Finals runners-up are one such team, one that LeBron himself has said repeatedly that needs to improve--or he may not come back.
Keep an eye on the Washington Wizards, however, because the Wizards have one player in which the Jazz have actually shown interest, forward Trevor Ariza--which could also precipitate a sign-and-trade. The other reason Williams is a good fit in Washington is that the Wizards desperately need a stretch-four who can shoot if Ariza leaves as rumored, and Williams shot 36 percent from behind the arc last season.
So you can certainly sense that something interesting is about to happen for the Utah’s top free agents in the next week or so. And since the Jazz got Steve Novak for the next two years for half of what Williams made last season, the swingman from North Carolina probably has one foot out the door.