Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com reported earlier on Thursday that “Diaw is expected to be waived before the July 15 deadline for his $7.5 million salary to become guaranteed, though the Jazz could use his instantly expiring contract in a trade to help salaries match.”
Diaw, 35, averaged 4.6 points and 2.2 rebounds in 73 games with the Jazz last season.
While Diaw wasn’t terribly productive on the court, MacMahon noted he “provided valuable leadership and savvy” as the Jazz reached the postseason after a four-year playoff drought.
But given Utah’s deep roster, Diaw became expendable. Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors will be the team’s starting big men, while Jonas Jerebko, Tony Bradley and Joel Bolomboy will be available off the bench at the 4 and 5. The Jazz could also make another move in free agency.
Diaw’s likely departure is the latest in a transformational offseason for the Jazz. Gone are leading scorers Gordon Heyward and George Hill. In are point guard Ricky Rubio, promising rookies Donovan Mitchell and Tony Bradley and veterans Jerebko and Thabo Sefolosha.
While the Jazz will undoubtedly be one of the best defensive teams in the NBA, there will be questions about where the scoring will come from unless players like Dante Exum and Rodney Hood take major steps forward next season.
Given that Diaw wouldn’t have addressed those issues and would have taken up a decent sliver of the salary cap next season, it’s pretty clear that his future is elsewhere.
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