Hello Jazz fans! Let’s talk some off-season Jazz basketball to keep our minds off missing the playoffs. I don’t know about you but it makes me sick not seeing us playing this time of year. I’m going to play GM here and put in my 2 cents about what the Jazz should do moving forward.
To start the Jazz have 7 unrestricted free agents DeMarre Carroll, Randy Foye, Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Jamaal Tinsley and Earl Watson. Marvin Williams also has an early termination option to his contract but let’s be honest there’s no way he’s giving up that 7.5 mil because he won’t get that much money from any team on the free agent market. So who do the Jazz try to resign and who do the Jazz let walk?
Hit the Road
Everyone has different opinions on who should stay and go and what we should do with our big men. I’m in the group that says let both Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap walk. We paid 22.2 Million dollars to our starting big men last year and didn’t make the playoffs. I know at times we relied on Al to get us buckets down the stretch of games and that will be missed. The fact is that we have Favors and Kanter who are capable and have the potential to be better. That to me is worth moving that 22.2 million dollars to other positions on the Jazz roster. Think of the players we can bring in to this team at other positions for that kind of money.
I also say let Earl and Jamaal go. They have been great for the few years they have been here but I think they’ve served their purpose and it’s time to find a different back up at the point guard position. Bringing back one of them wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world as a 3rd option off the bench if someone gets hurt but the Jazz need to find a better back up to run the second unit.
Without a doubt we should resign Randy Foye long-term. The guy is dangerous at times and can completely change a game by the way he shoots the ball from deep. The performace he put on against the Nets hitting 8 3′s was the best shooting performance I’ve ever seen in person. He was shooting them from “Jimmer Range” as we call it in Utah. Here’s a video of that night below.
Insane right? We definitely need to bring this guy back. I say we use him differently though and bring him off the bench instead of starting him. Defensively he works hard but teams seemed to take advantage of him at times with bigger 2 guards.
We need to resign DeMarre Carroll as well. DeMarre never seems to complain about playing time or cause problems in the locker room no matter if he started or didn’t play at all. The guy came into every game and drove other teams crazy with his hustle and persistence chasing down the ball. That is a great guy to have in your back pocket coming off the bench if you’re Coach Corbin.
Last but not least we have Mo Williams. I’m a little bit on the fence about Mo because at times he seems great and other times it looks like he’s trying to do too much. If it was me I would make the decision on Mo based on what happens in the draft which I’m going to get to here in a second. If you get a franchise point guard then you may want to consider letting him walk. If you get a guy that could be a point guard of the future or you don’t get anyone at all then resign Mo. I think he wants to play here and he has intangibles that will help this team. His leadership and hard-nosed play are things that can really help this team with all the young talent we have.
It’s no secret that the Jazz need a point guard since currently we have zero point guards under contract for next season. This should be the Jazz main focus entering the 2013 draft. There is some talent in this draft at the point guard position. The real good point guards are probably going to be off the board at 14, which is where the Jazz most likely will pick pending some miracle in the lottery. I’m going to go over a few point guards in the draft that are high prospects.
This guy was insane in the NCAA tournament last March and rose his stock big time. He was projected somewhere around 16th before the tournament and has played himself into a top 5 pick in just a few games. He seems to have everything you would want in a point guard. He can score seemingly at will. He’s quick and can beat guys off the dribble as well as being able to shoot from deep range. From an outside perspective he seems to be the prize of the draft.
Point guard with some great size. He’s 6’6″ and is a great playmaker. His downside is that he isn’t a very good shooter and to me looks like there’s quite a bit he can improve on in his game. He’s going to be drafted fairly high because the potential to be a great point guard in the NBA is definitely there and so he will for sure go somewhere in the first round and it is possible that he could fall to 14th where the Jazz could snag him.
Played for a small unknown school, Lehigh, but can score at will and is the leader of his team. Sounds pretty familiar to a guy that played at Weber State not too long ago. C.J. could be the Damion Lillard of this draft but it’s hard to tell. His stock is definitely rising and now looks to be projected as a top 10 pick in the draft.
The Jazz have the 14th (pending the lottery) and the 21st pick in the draft this year. Having two picks in the first round definitely gives the Jazz some options on what they want to do. Knowing the Jazz needs and the potential with these guys then we should definitely make a trade to move up and grab one right?! Well I would absolutely love it if we did and it would definitely excite the fan base if somehow we managed to bring Trey Burke to Utah. The only thing I have to say about it is that you better be super positive that player is going to pan out. If the Jazz make a move it’s going to cost them and if that player ends up as a dud then it could set the Jazz back 5 years or so.
Let’s just pretend that the Jazz staff decide that Trey Burke is a star and they’re willing to make the move now to move up in the draft high enough to get him. Well right now Trey Burke is projected to go 5th in the draft so what would it take to get the 5th pick. Well if a team is interested in either Paul Millsap or Al Jefferson then we might be able to make a sign and trade happen.
I can see the Jazz signing and trading Al or Paul and sending that team the 14th and 21st pick to get the 5th pick in the draft. It’s plausible but you must have a team that has interest in one of those guys. Other deals that could get us there would probably cost us the 14th and 21st pick along with a player like Alec Burks or some young talent. As a organization you have to decide how sure you are that Trey Burke is that star and if he is then that deal might be worth it no matter how much we all love Alec.
It’s all about price. If the Jazz find a team in the top five willing to make an Al Jefferson/Paul Millsap plus our two first round picks then pull the trigger. Another problem is that I’m not sure how the rules would work with that since free agents aren’t able to speak with teams until July 1st. I believe Al and Paul are still members of the Jazz until July 1st and we could do that but I’m not 100% sure on that. If a sign and trade is not an option then my latter scenario would have to be the deal we made to move up.
To start this all off the Jazz have financial flexibility going into this season. Given what the Jazz have spent on our young guys and what the minimum salary cap the Jazz HAVE to spend required by the NBA the Jazz have roughly 25 some odd million dollars they HAVE to spend before the beginning of the season. With this in mind the Jazz are probably going to have to spend some money on free agents just to make up the difference.
The free agent market has some intriguing names that would be fun to see in a Jazz uniform. While we will in no way be able to sign Dwight Howard or Chris Paul, there are still a few players that could really help the Jazz next year and be valuable assets moving forward. Here are a few that I would sign without going deep into the contract negotiation part of it.
Jarrett has definitely shown his value this season playing back up for Stephen Curry with the Warriors. He’s also been playing great in the playoffs for them and we’ve been seeing him on the floor with Curry in late game situations. Think about having Jarrett Jack coming in the game off the bench running our second unit instead of Tinsley or Watson. All I can say is what a huge upgrade that would be for the Jazz and I think he would drastically improve our team. I think you might be able to get this guy for 3 year 18 mil contract pretty easily. It would be money well spent and we would have a solid back up point guard for years to come.
Why would we not be interested in bringing fan favorite Kyle Korver back. Even though the Jazz improved their 3 point shooting this past season we still only took 16.9 3′s a game. Only the Bulls and Grizzlies took less 3 pointers then we did. Having another 3 point threat on our bench would be good for this team. It’s also fun to think about having both Randy Foye and Kyle Korver come off the bench playing next to each other and how difficult it would be for defenses to have to pay a ton of attention to both of them on the wings as well as guarding our big men on the post. I think if we got Korver on a 2 year deal for 8-10 million dollars it would be worth it to the Jazz to bring him back.
Has anyone else been super impressed with Tony Allen this post season? The guy seems to be everywhere! This guy is a defensive specialist but is a capable offensive player. If we aren’t ready as a team to start Alec Burks then this should be our top target to fill the SG/SF position. Having Hayward, Allen, Favors and Kanter on the court playing defense together makes me feel really good about our chances to make this team one of the top 10 defensive teams in the NBA which is something the Jazz are going to have to do if they want to be a serious contender. This is a guy that, if you could convince to come to Utah, could be a piece for your future. Tony is only making 3.5 million dollars this year but I’ll bet he demands a little bit of a raise going into next season. We could probably get him for about 5 million a year and honestly you might want to consider giving this guy a 5 year deal. If so you might get him for a 20-25 million dollar range.
The fact is that the Jazz aren’t a top free agent destination is definitely true so it’s hard to get a big name to come to Utah. The Jazz are going to need to sign someone to back up Favors and Kanter so we will need to spend a few million on that. Also, there is the outside chance that Andre Iguodala, who has an early termination option on his contract, becomes a free agent. If so, even though it is unlikely he would want to come to Utah it is fun to think about him and Gordon Hayward playing next to each other and that would be a dangerous SG/SF combo as well. Andre would demand a lot of money though, he’s not quite a max player but he’s going to get money close to it.
Warm Weather Brings Change
There is one thing we can all count on now that the season is over and it’s the fact that there will be some major changes to the Utah Jazz before games begin again next season. The Jazz have too many options, flexibility and not enough players signed for there not to be some changes. The Jazz could hold off to make their “big move” after this season because if they do not commit to do something now they will be in an even better position next season with more flexibility and more options. The luxury tax will also catch up to a lot of teams next season and a team may be looking to dump a star because they need to get some salary off of their books.
I say go for it now.
Even though the idea of having a proven star that is in the NBA right now, I’m more into the idea of moving up in the draft, taking Trey Burke and putting him next to the rest of our young players and seeing what they can do together. I believe that if we added the right pieces around those guys that we would have a legitimate shot in the next 3 years to contend as one of the best teams in the Western Conference. I also believe that in those 5 guys I listed that there are 3, maybe 4 future all-stars. The next few years will be a fun ride for Jazz fans. We may have a down year as we make this transition but I think the turn around will be quick and these guys may be ready to carry this team right away.