The Minneapolis Star-Tribune and The Associated Press reported Tuesday that the Jazz have agreed to send two future first-round picks to the Wolves in exchange for Jefferson. The deal is expected to be announced later Tuesday.
Sources told ESPN.com on Monday night that the Jazz and Timberwolves were on the verge of completing a trade that would slot Jefferson's contract into the $14 million trade exception that Utah created earlier this week in its sign-and-trade deal sending Carlos Boozer to the Chicago Bulls.
Excellent news for Jazz fans everywhere. I admit I was worried that Kevin O'Connor and company would stand pat after losing Boozer and Korver, partly in order to save money and partly because there just weren't any great big men free agents available.
But just when I thought the Jazz management couldn't possibly be any dumber, they go do and do something like this and totally redeem themselves.
Jefferson is an excellent replacement for Boozer, and an upgrade in many ways. For starters, he averaged close to 20 and 10 in Minnesota, where he was expected to earn every one of those 20 points on his own in the low block. I expect his scoring to go up at least 6 or 8 points per game this year, just because now he'll have Deron Williams feeding him great passes for easy buckets a few times a game.
In addition, while Jefferson is not exactly a defensive specialist, he blocked 1.3 shot attempts per game last year, and is both taller(6" 10") and has a longer wingspan (7' 2") than Boozer. I am also willing to bet his vertical is higher than Boozer's, as well, which isn't really that difficult considering Carlos can jump about 2 inches off the floor.
He is only 25 (Boozer is 29) and his contract expires in 3 years.
Add in the fact that Jefferson is coming from a perennial loser in Minnesota to a playoff team in the Jazz, and he may find a bit more hop in his step come November.
I like this signing. It may be the biggest trade in the history of the franchise, when all is said and done.
And just like that, I'm excited for the 2010-2011 Jazz season.
Well done, Mr. O'Connor.