Offseason suggestions- Free agent edition


Do you even know who this is?  I am hoping that the Jazz do.

Hello, and welcome to an all new episode of Offseason Moves.  In this episode we will be exploring every possible free agent available this offseason and decide if he could possibly factor into the Jazz's offseason plans moving forward. For today's purposes, we will work under the assumption that the Jazz can sign one (1) free agent to part or all of the mid-level exception (up to $5 million/year), and sign any other free agents to the minimum salary.  The team's economic circumstances will obviously limit the realistic possibilities of obtaining many free agents.  By my count there could be up to 100 unrestricted free agents, not including free agents of the Jazz, and a handful of restricted free agents that the Jazz could take a peek at.  So we have a lot of work ahead.

THE HOT CHICK IN HIGH SCHOOL- Players that will either not opt out of their bloated final year, or will be too expensive to sign in free agency (14)

Kwame Brown       Kobe Bryant          Jamal Crawford       Eddie Curry                 Marquis Daniels   Devean George     Eddie House           Zydrunas Ilgauskas    Jerome James      Lamar Odom        Jermaine O'neal   Quentin Richardson               Hedo Turkoglu    Anderson Varejao

THE PRIMA DONNAS- Players that either wouldn't play backup or stoop low enough to play for the Jazz or else the Jazz just don't want them (11)

Ron Artest           Matt Barnes            Mike Bibby         Drew Gooden                        Ricky Davis         Al Harrington          Allen Iverson     Jason Kidd                          Stephon Marbury     Andre Miller        Shawn Marion

PISTACHIO JELLO SALADS- It doesn't matter how many get togethers you take them to or teams you put them on...they just aren't ever good. (12)

Maceo Baston     Jason Collins     Stephen Graham     Gerald Green                 Jason Hart           Mike James         Raef Lafrentz            Shavlik Randolph       Kareem Rush     Robert Swift         Stromile Swift            Jake Voskuhl

THE FOGEYS AND THE JARRON COLLINSES-  Either good players who are just too old to contribute, or else players that just don't make the team better(44).

Malik Allen              Maurice Ager          Mark Blount           Keith Bogans               Calvin Booth          Ryan Bowen          Devin Brown          Rodney Carney              Anthony Carter       Brian Cook            Jarron Collins        Juan Dixon             Francisco Elson    Melvin Ely               Adonal Foyle         Trenton Hassell            Luther Head           Juwan Howard     Lindsey Hunter                                               Steven Hunter        Royal Ivey               Bobby Jackson     Anthony Johnson     Dahntay Jones      Damon Jones       Jamal Magloire     Sean Marks           Desmond Mason  Chris Mihm            Mikki Moore            Rasho Nesterovic         Kevin Ollie              Malik Rose             Michael Ruffin        Cedric Simmons        james Singleton   Brian Skinner         Etan Thomas         Ime Udoka                 Jacque Vaughn     Mike Wilks             Shelden WIlliams   Damien Wilkins    Lorenzen Wright    Jarvis Hayes         James Singleton    Joe Smith                       Fred Jones


Dikembe Mutombo


Now that we have limited our list of free agents to about 20 players or so, we need a way of deciding who is a better fit with Utah.  The way I see it, the Jazz have certain needs that can be addressed through free agency.  Besides fulfilling a minimum number of players on the roster, the Jazz need veteran presence on the team, a shot blocker or interior defender, a backup power forward, a player who can create his own shot or shoot the 3, and a backup point guard.  The Jazz can't or probably won't fill every need through free agency, but there are some players that would work.  I have developed a point system of 5 important categories ranked one to five for a total of up to 25 points.  The categories are:

 Veteran presence- players will get low marks for being young or having character issues, average for just playing about 6 years, and high marks for having a history of being a team leader. 

Team need- the agents will be judged on whether they fill one of the team's needs and how much they fill that need

Affordability- The Jazz can't afford anyone who will command more than $5 million/year in free agency.  Players that will play for a minimum salary will receive high marks.

Their attitude or how they would fit in with the Jazz system- This is pretty self explanatory.  Ballhogs and Kirk Snyder need not apply. 

Overall skill at their position- This has to be a category, because anyone can fill a need and be a good guy, but if they aren't good enough to get on the court, they might not be worth the trouble.

  The players will be ranked a 1-no thanks 2-poor 3-average 4-good or a 5-excellent.  If a player scores a one in any category, they are disqualified.  Those are big red flags.  So let's break each player down starting with the guards.

Travis Diener- Vet- 2 Need-4 Affordability- 5 Attitude-4 Skill-3   Total Score: 18

Diener is just an average backup pg, but he can shoot the ball (40% from threes last season) and knows how to run a team.  He has only been in the league 3 years, but he is worth a look this offseason.  His expiring contract is only $1.7 million, so he may be playing for the minimum if he makes a team next year.

Ronald "Flip" Murray- Vet-3 Need-4 Affordability- 3 Attitude-3 Skill-4  Total: 17

The Jazz could really use a fearless scorer off the bench like Murray.  He averaged 12 points a game this season in only 24 minutes a game.  But even if he was willing to play for cheap, it's hard to imagine that he wouldn't find other teams that would want him, that he would want more.

Ben Gordon- Vet- 3 Need-5  Affordability-1  Attitude- 3 Skill-5  Total: Disqualified

I hate to break it to you, but if the Jazz acquire Ben Gordon this offseason, it won't be through free agency.  His asking price will be too high.  Unless he has this deep, burning desire to play for the Jazz, he won't sign here.

Von Wafer- Vet-2  Need-4 Affordability- 3 Attitude-3  Skill-4  Total: 16

Von Wafer is athletic, can shoot the ball, and will probably be affordable.  But it will be hard ot pry him from Houston, and he is a bit of a chucker and maybe to streaky for the Jazz system.

Quentin Ross- Vet-2 Need-4 Affordability- 5 Attitude-4 Skill-4    Total:  19

I am a huge Quentin Ross fan.  He is a very underrated lock down defender, who has never caused any trouble playing for only dysfunctional teams his entire career.  He also shot 39% from the 3 last season.  He played for the minimum this year and would do it again.  And we could never have too many defenders in my opinion.

Anthony Parker- Vet-2.5 Need- 4  Affordability- 2 Attitude- 4 Skill-4  Total: 16.5

I like Parker.  We would only have a shot at him, if Toronto didn't really want him back, or else he really wanted out of Toronto.  He will probably have to play for about $2-3 million/ year, which is affordable since he averaged 11 points and 3.5 assists off 40% shooting from the 3.

Grant Hill- Vet- 5 Need-4 Affordability- 4.5  Attitude- 5  Skill-3  Total:  21.5

In some ways Grant Hill is the perfect fit for the Jazz.  He is the good character, veteran guy that they need, he could probably get some quality time at the wing positions for the Jazz, and he will want to play for a tilte contending or at least very competitive team.  He played for the veteran minimum last season and if he wants to play next season, he would probably do it again.  Put him on the list of people the Jazz should actively pursue.

Michael Finley- Vet-5 Need-4 Affordability-4 Attitude-4 Skill-3 Total: 20

I consider Finley to be just a step lower than Hill as a fit with the Jazz, but he would certainly be worth a look.  He isn't as good of an all-around player as Hill, even this late in their careers, but he shot over 40% from the 3 last season.  We could use some killer shooting.  But is it a foregone conclusion that SA wants him back?

Wally Szczerbiak- Vet-4 Need-4 Affordablilty- 2 Attitude-4 Skill-3.5   Total: 17.5

The determining factor here is how cheap a contract Wally would be willing to play for and if he would even be interested in the Jazz.  But he makes this list because he is a veteran, shot 41% from the 3 last season and 40% for his entire career.  That is good three point shooting.

Trevor Ariza- Vet- 2 Need-4.5 Affordability-1 Attitude-4 Skill-4.5 Total: DQ

While Ariza is an intriguing prospect, the Lakers are going to want to keep him and if they can't they are going to drive up his price tag from sort of affordable to "no way in H" zone.

Brandon Bass- Vet- 2 Need- 4 Affordability-5 Attitude-3 Skill-4  Total:  18

I really like Brandon Bass.  I think he could be a really fantastic backup power forward for us.  He is similar to Millsap in his size and effort, but he isn't getting the same hype as Millsap or David Lee.  It isn't inconceivable that he will play for less than $2 million this next season, but getting in a bidding war with Dallas might be like entering a land war in Asia.

Antonio McDyess- Vet-5 Need-4 Affordability-2 Attitude-4 Skill-4  Total: 19

Like so many free agents, it is hard to know if he has any interest in the Jazz or if he would be willing to play for part of the mid-level exception.  But he would be a great veteran and the guy can still play some ball, grabbing a high rate of rebounds last season at the 4 and 5 spot.

Rasheed Wallace- Vet- 4 Need-5 Affordability- 1 Attitude-3 Skill-4 Total: DQ

I put Sheed on the list as a long shot and fun possibility to consider, but word is that he will retire if he doesn't get an $8 million offer next season, so... yeah.

Zaza Pachulia- Vet-2.5 Need- 3.5 Affordability-2.5 Attitude-4 Skill-3.5  Total: 16

He would be a younger and more skilled version of Jarron Collins.  He is slighty more athletic, more energetic and a much better finisher at the rim than Collins.  But he may command closer to a full mid-level exception this offseason for a team needing bigs.

Chris Andersen- Vet-3 Need-5 Affordability-4.5 Attitude-4 Skill-5 Total: 21.5

I lobbied for the Jazz to sign Andersen last season, despite his off court issues and I hate to brag, but I was really right.  He is just the thing the Jazz need.  He rebounds, hustles and tries to block everything within a 15 foot radius. And it isn't only the shots he blocks, but teams just attack the basket less when he is in. And he doesn't demand the ball on offense.  And having drug issues and character issues are not the same thing.  He has been a saint this season and is a fan favorite.  I wouldn't hesitate in offering this guy up to 4 or 5 million dollars a year if we can afford him.  I think part of the mid-level exception might be enough to get him, because if Denver wants to avoid the tax, then they will have to decide between Andersen and JR Smith.  I can't tell you how much I believe this guy would change our team for the better.  Let me put it this way: if Andersen is playing for the Jazz and not the Nuggets this last season, the Jazz are hoisting the Division Banner, regardless of their injuries.

Theo Ratliff- Vet- 4 Need-4 Affordability-5 Attitude-3 Skill-2  Total: 18

I think Ratliff would have been a good idea about two seasons ago, but he is probably too old and isn't really contributing with a less talented 76er team.

Donyell Marshall- Vet-4 Need-3 Affordability-5 Attitude-4 Skill-3  Total: 19

Hey, don't laugh.  There would be a lot of worse options.  I don't think he is a difference maker, but I wouldn't mind him returning to Utah for the veteran minimum as a 12th or 13th man.  He could be our sleepy Sam Perkins.

Chris Wilcox- Vet- 3 Need-4 Affordability-5 Attitude-3 Skill-4 Total: 19

I really like the idea of Wilcox as a backup power forward.  He has a large skill set; talent has never been an issue.  If anyone could get anything out of him, it might be Sloan.  He played for $1.7 million this season, so there is a chance he would play for the minimum.  If that was the case, he would be a bargain to take a flyer on him.

So here are some of the top point getters

Chris Andersen- 21.5                                                                                                     

Grant Hill- 21.5                                                                                                                

Michael Finley-20                                                                                                               

Quentin Ross-19                                                                                                           

Antonio McDyess- 19                                                                                                     

Chris Wilcox-19                                                                                                                 

Donyell Marshall-19                                                                                                             

Travis Diener-18

Restricted Free Agents of Note:

Hakim Warrick                                                                                                                 

Steve Novak                                                                                                                       

Bobby Brown

Bottom Line:  I think that a back up point guard would be better supplied by the draft this year, but there are some players on this list that could really help the team.  My perfect offseason scenario would be this:

Jazz sign Chris Andersen for $3-5 million a year.

Jazz convince Grant Hill to sign for the veteran minimum.

Jazz sign Quentin Ross and Chris Wilcox to the league minimum.

The Jazz would be able to do this and stay under the tax if they let Boozer walk, sign Millsap to something under 8 million a year and cut salary by either trading Matt Harpring or Mehmet Okur in a salary dump, or by trading AK and Matt Harpring while bringing only $18 million in salaries back.

Then I would imagine our lineup looking like this:

Deron, Brewer, Grant Hill, Paul Millsap, and Okur/Koufos/Andersen

with Ross, Miles, WIlcox/AK, and Koufos/Andersen off the bench.







All comments are the opinion of the commenter and not necessarily that of SLC Dunk or SB Nation.

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