Larry Miller, the late owner of the Utah Jazz, said the following statement in August of 2008 prior to his death in February 2009:
“I do not intend us to be a luxury-taxpayer.”
So how can Larry’s son, Greg, explain the fact that the Utah Jazz are set to pay the luxury tax for a second consecutive season?
Well, according to Greg, his father told him if there’s a reasonable risk he could take it, if he so chose to. I guess Greg believes that Al Jefferson and Raja Bell are reasonable risks, as he was willing to take on their contracts and thus go into the luxury tax once again.
Now, I’m no NBA owner, but I have to say that Greg Miller’s decision was a very good one (unlike the “South Beach Sellout”). Just imagine what the outlook for the Utah Jazz would be headed into this upcoming season had they not gotten Jefferson and Bell on the squad. Heck, I remember the feeling I felt when Boozer and Korver had left the team prior to the signing of Jefferson. Believe me, it was not a very good feeling. The upcoming season looked like it was headed for the dumps, and it looked like it was going to be one of those extremely rare occasions where the Jazz would actually miss the playoffs.
Sure they still had the best point guard in the league (at least according to SportsNation), but if he had nobody else around him to dish it to, what good would he be? In order to achieve the 53 wins the Jazz had in ’09-10 they needed that combination of D-Will and Boozer to give opposing teams fits all night long. Without that, the Jazz would be an utter joke. Yes, Millsap would have done his best to fill in for Boozer, but the lack of depth at the position would have caught up to them. You know it, and I know it. Simply put, the Utah Jazz would not have been a good team this season. And, as everybody knows, if you can’t put a productive team on the court, your fans aren’t going to cheer as hard, people are going to buy less merchandise, and the domino effect would hurt the franchise as a whole from top to bottom in every area.
But, of course, that isn’t the case. Greg Miller pulled the trigger on Al Jefferson and Raja Bell, and he took that risk by going into the dreaded luxury tax. The best part of it all? He took his father’s advice, and he did everything he needed to do to make the Utah Jazz competitive in 2010-11. And at the end of the day, that is what it has always been about.