It looks like Philadelphia finally has some hope based on their new hire’s initial major move.
Ed Stefanski, the newly-named General Manager of the Philadelphia 76ers, made his first substantial move today, trading Kyle Korver to the Utah Jazz for Gordan Giricek and a future first round pick.
Neither player in the deal is much more than a decent option off the bench who can occasionally step in and start for a few games at a time on a good team. Korver is an exceptionally limited player, his lone skill being the long-range shot off a catch, while Giricek can score enough to be of some service at the off-guard position when he’s motivated to play his best defense–which, even then, is far from great. Both play the wing position, but Giricek is slightly more versatile, as he can more easily step in at both the 2 and the 3, whereas Korver is a bit slow to play at the 2 with any sort of regularity.
So far this season both have struggled. Korver is currently posting his worst season since his rookie year, with an extremely low 10.88 PER. In Utah Giricek has been even worse, managing only a 7.40 PER and carrying quite a bit of excess baggage. Just a short time ago the former Yugoslavian star was kicked off the Utah bench and suspended from the team for arguing with Hall-of-Fame head coach Jerry Sloan. Needless to say, this sticky situation made moving Giricek a prerogative for Jazz GM Kevin O’Connor.
Given the obvious need for a deal, the Jazz did OK for themselves. Giricek has little value as a player, so a team like the 76ers, which should be fully immersed in rebuilding, was the perfect dance partner. Korver fills Utah’s need for a perimeter shooter and should help strengthen the Jazz rotation, which had lost some of the depth previously boasted in past seasons. The Jazz can now feature Korver, Matt Harpring, and Paul Millsap off the bench, with less intriguing options at the back-up point and center positions.
Essentially, Utah has decided to roll the dice with Korver in order to attempt to save their foundering season, having lost 10 of 13 and fallen to 9th overall in the West despite an impressive +4.4 point differential on the season. The problem with this trade is it makes any further moves not involving core members of the team increasingly difficult. Giricek’s contract was the lone expiring deal of any significant value on the Utah roster, which makes acquiring a back-up point guard or another big man nearly impossible as complementary pieces instead of replacements for current key contributors.
For Philly, this deal could prove to be a steal. Giricek will make no difference for the Sixers in terms of wins and losses, and his contract can either be traded again before the deadline or simply allowed to expire this off-season, giving Philadelphia even more cap space with which to pursue an Elton Brand or Gilbert Arenas type. Due to Korver’s limited abilities and the three seasons left on his contract at $4.5 million per year, this deal would have been addition by subtraction alone; however, the Sixers also netted themselves a future first round pick, further swaying the trade in their favor.
Overall this is a short-sighted, partially panic-stricken decision for the Jazz, who are in desperate need of a spark, and a fantastic, building-approach trade for Philly GM Ed Stefanski. Based on his first major move, Stefanski appears to be the perfect man to fix the mess left behind by the recently fired Billy King.