The draft came and went, leaving many of us scratching our heads and wondering where the back up PF and big defensive man were in the game plan. We've seen the breakdowns of Gordon Hayward and Jeremy Evans. Both seem to be tweeners. Hayward bouncing between the three back court spots and Evans bouncing between PF and SF.
July first is now fast approaching and it seems our roster is far from shored up. Here is my priority list for July 1st:
1. Resign Matthews and Fesenko.
These two are a must and if we miss out on either of them we will be up a creek without a paddle. Matthews must be resigned because we have no SG depth that can be considered comfortable. CJ miles would probably have to fill in as starting SG or Hayward would be thrown into the fire from day one. Matthews is unable to be resigned for the Bird exemption which leaves us with the MLE. If the fecal matter hits the fan another team will offer Matthews a 6 million dollar contract. That would leave the Jazz to decide if they want to spend the whole MLE on him or shoot for free agency... Let's pray it doesn't come to that. The Jazz, if smart, should chase Matthews hard and quick before he can get other offers. I'm hoping it only comes down to a 2 year, 2-3 million dollar contract. That way in 2 years he can get starter money during a time when the Jazz HOPEFULLY have more cap space.
Fesenko must also be resigned. We need the height which wasn't addressed during the draft. He knows the system and stepped up during the Denver playoff series. He probably even comes in as the starting Center at the first of the season while Okur works his way back to 100%. That is barring a trade or a drastic Free Agent pick up. I could also see the Jazz resigning him to a 2 year 1-2 million dollar contract and then using him in a package for a trade. Fesenko and that 2011 Memphis first rounder + 6.5 million dollarHarpring's trade exemption could net us a decent though slightly overpaid player from someone looking to dump salary.
2. Let Boozer walk or get a Sign and Trade.
If Boozer felt any sense of loyalty to the Jazz and wanted to help them out of a pickle, he would work with teams under the cap for a Sign and Trade to help both himself and the Jazz out. There might be a team who misses out on Amare, Bosh, or Dirk and really wants Boozer's 20-10 self. If that's the case getting him for that extra 6th year which can only be done if he is signed through the Jazz could be a possibility. Boozer is also a mercenary and the longer and bigger the contract the happier he will be. Let's hope that Dirk stays in Dallas and that one of the other low cap teams needs/wants Boozer enough to do this. The Nets, Knicks, Heat, and Bulls could be players for him. The reason this helps is the Jazz don't have to take back a max or near max contract back for Boozer. As long as the other team is under the cap the contracts don't have to match. The Jazz could land a 6 million dollar player (hopefully a tall one) and some draft picks or something of the sort.
If that doesn't happen, the best thing the Jazz can do is let Boozer walk. Most of us are done with the Boozer era in Salt Lake. We've spent hours crafting posts pointing out how much better the Jazz are without his huge contract and having Millsap and AK playing the PF position. Pray to whatever diety you believe in that KOC isn't dumb enough to put the Jazz in a situation that leaves them strangled with another Boozer contract. It would probably mean Ak or Millsap gets traded as well.
3. What to do with Korver.
I fully expect the Jazz to throw a contract offer at Korver. It'll be decent but it's not going to blow everyone else out of the water. Korver will have to decide if he wants to stay or go. Really, I think the ball is in his court. I wish him the best wherever he goes and whatever he decides.
If he does resign, I don't think it creates a wing log jam like everyone assumes. We have Matthews, CJ, Hayward, and AK. If Korver resigns, we simply can move either Hayward or CJ to the back up SG position behind Matthews. Korver will then play either the starting SF ahead of Hayward or the Back up SF behind CJ, depending on who backs up Matthews. We can also safely assume that AK will probably back up Millsap at the PF position and could see some SF time for certain matchups.
If Boozer is resigned (GASP NOOOOOOOO), that probably means there is no money to keep Korver which fixes the "logjam" at the wing position as well. AK would just slide over to either starting SF or the back up. Problem adverted.
4. Free agency.
If Matthews only takes part of the MLE. That leaves us with a little play money in order to address either a defensive big man or a better back up SG, or whatever other position the Jazz feel they need depth at. There would be about 2-3 Million left to sign someone with the MLE. We also have a biannual exception which allows us to grab a free agent for a 2 year or less contract at 2.08 million a year. It gives us a little wiggle room but we definantly won't be in the market for any of the big names available.
Bigs I would look at:
Centers- Height and age
Kwame Brown- 6'11, 28
Brendan Haywood- 7', 30
Steven Hunter- 7', 28
Zydrunas Ilgauskas-7'3, 35
Ian Mahinmi- 6'11, 23
Darko Milicic- 7', 25 ( Don't shoot me, but yea....)
Jermaine O'neal- 6'11, 31
Shaq O'neal- 7'1, 38
Joe Pryzbilla-7'1, 30 (Not a Free agent but he can Opt out if he wants)
Theo Ratliff- 6'10, 37
Etan Thomas- 6'10, 32
Ben Wallace- 6'9, 35
Also the Collins brothers, Jason and Jarron..... but we've been down that road.
Matt Bonner- 6'10, 30
Drew Gooden- 6'10, 28
Brad Miller- 7', 34
Fabrico Oberto- 6'10, 35
Olekisiy Pecherov- 7', 24
Brian Skinner- 6'9, 34
I'm just going to stop with the bigs cause I see that as a bigger priority than singing another SG/SF though Matt Barnes, Michael Finley, Raja Bell, MIke Miller, Roger Mason, Ime Udoka, and others intrigue me.
This could be our greatest flexibility. We have opportunities to do sign and trades with both Boozer and Korver. We have a 6.5 million trade exemption. We have a great player with a 17 Million dollar expiring contract in AK. We have an underpaid very good PF in Millsap. We also have 2 first round draft picks to dangle as bait.
I wouldn't expect much though. Maybe a package of draft picks and a minor player to use that 6.5 million dollar trade exemption in a salary dump by another team. Who knows though. KOC seems to make moves when he wants to; I.E. Maynor, Brewer, Korver, Phoniex pick etc.
5a. DON'T Trade AK or Millsap
Don't trade AK or Millsap unless you get an amazing offer. I don't know what that amazing offer would be but we'd know it when we saw it. Out side of that don't do it. Especially if you're trying to do it to resign Boozer. It's not worth it.
As long as we can put together a winning team nothing else matters. D-will is more likely to stay. The fanbase is more excited and revenue is higher. I guess the result of not tanking means we could end up with another lottery pick. I'd hate to be miserable all season and then spend another few months drooling over possible lottery draft selections only to have the rug pulled out from under me like they did with Hayward this year. (Though I now like the pick)
Hopefully this was a coherent post. It's late and I have the TV goin. Thanks for reading. Comment if you have ideas about trade scenerios and other free agent pick ups. I'd really like to hear them!