As promised we're heading into the offseason with the Downbeat still going on. There is still plenty to talk about. There might be days where the #DB has a few more frivolous offerings that might now be discussed during the regular season, but it will be here.
Since we're looking ahead, let' take a look at the major stories for the Jazz this off-season. We'll have plenty more on each of these subjects later, but we'll get things going.
Right off the bat we start with #5, a Mr. Carlos Boozer. After last night's loss, he was asked the inevitable, "What are your chances of being back in Utah next season?" To which he replied, "I hope it's good. Hopefully it's a good chance."
He then went on to say that he's not even thinking/talking about that right now. Even though it's Boozer, he's not going to say anything last night about his free agency.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on your point of view, Boozer has likely played his last game for the Jazz. The reasons are spelled out pretty clearly in clark's post yesterday. If the Jazz had more financial flexibility, I think they would end up re-signing him.
As it is, putting the team over the luxury tax, and well over the limit, doesn't seem likely. Last season we heard how they wanted to see how the team played when everyone was healthy and together. Well, they haven't had that luxury for the past couple of seasons and I don't think they can gamble on that again.
The Jazz like to make as few moves as possible, keeping the core guys together and tweaking around the edges. This may finally be the season where they're hand is forced and there will be significant changes. Most notable among those changes will be losing Boozer when they likely would have re-signed him in other years.
Next on the list is the NBA draft. The time for the Knicks pick has finally arrived after sitting on it for six years. You know, we call it the Knicks pick because it originated with them but the Suns should be in there somewhere as well for giving it up.
Neither the Knicks, the Suns, nor the Jazz could have known at the time that it would turn into a lottery pick but I think one or two seasons after that trade the Jazz FO could tell what was going to happen in NY.
The pick couldn't come at a more perfect time for the Jazz. They have a high payroll and are likely losing their starting PF. Now while we do have Millsap that will step in, it does make us a bit thin, and small up front.
We'll be breaking down the players that could be drafted later, but unless they win the lottery, the Jazz are going to draft a big man. Hopefully it's a long, athletic, shot-blocker that can compliment either Millsap or Memo. Whoever they draft should have more talent than Fesenko and Koufos and step in.
This has potential to be a franchise-changer fort the Jazz.
The Jazz also have free agents to worry about. The Jazz only have 7 players under contract next season. The league minimum to have signed is 13. They're going to bring back most of the the existing players but we're still going to have some new faces.
Korver is unrestricted but I could see him coming back. I would put his return at about 85%. The Jazz will do what it takes to bring back Wesley Matthews. That leaves Fesenko, Gaines, and Jeffers.
Fesenko is going to be a tough call for the Jazz. He's definitely made strides this season and I think he'll make a good backup. I think he'll be back. The Jazz could decide they want to go with a vet though. I'm not sure who's out there, but that's possible.
I see Gaines coming back as well. He's shown in the limited time that he has been given that not only he can run the offense, but that he can score and handle the team effectively. He would also be groomed to replace Ronnie Price the following season if the Jazz don't bring Ronnie P back.
That leaves Jeffers. He's been the last man on the bench but from what Sloan and the players have shared, he works hard in practice. We haven't seen too much of him on the court, but what we have seen, we know he hustles and plays some solid D. He also looks very explosive in the open court.
He's going to play in the summer league and could earn a spot back with the team.
I'll have a post on last night's game up tonight, but in the meantime, here's a good memory to leave the season on. And may we never hear Derek Fisher's name mentioned ever again after this,