FA Day 1: Impact On The Jazz

Joe Johnson. Rudy Gay. Drew Gooden. Darko Milicic. Amir Johnson. Channing Frye.

All of these guys have, at some point, been mentioned as potential targets for the Jazz this off-season. Some were realistic targets (so it seemed at the time), some were far-out dreams. All of these guys have now agreed to terms with other teams (except maybe Joe Johnson... I don't know if he's agreed or if he's still mulling it over). Joe Johnson got (has been offered) 6/119. Gay got 5/82.  Gooden got 5/32. Milicic somehow got 4/20 from the Timberwolves. Amir Johnson picked up 5/34, and Frye got himself 5/30

(I know what you guys are thinking... "this is a Jazz blog; none of these guys even met with the Jazz, let alone signed with them, so shut up!")

No worries. I'll be done soon enough.

Of interest though is what this means for the Jazz. The Jazz enter free agency with 2 unrestricted free agents (Boozer, Korver) and 2 restricted free agents (Matthews, Fesenko). There is interest in all 4 guys. Boozer is being chased by the biggies, the Blazers like Matthews for some odd reason, and Korver and Fesenko have received interest as well... at least I think Fesenko has. There are rumors of the Jazz talking to RFA Anthony Morrow (or at least having interest). There are rumors of a sign-and-trade with Orlando regarding Boozer that may or may not have legs to it*. The Jazz have expressed interest in David Lee should it come down to a sign-and-trade, and have kicked the tires on Louis Amundson, Kwame Brown** & Brad Miller.

("Great. Now you've just recapped the entire day worth of twitter and The Downbeat discussion for us. We've already read it!")

Back to the Jazz. First, Joe Johnson & Rudy Gay getting max contracts from their teams takes 2 "big" names off the market. Many would argue they were overpaid, but it might've been required to keep them around. Either way... they're both wings, so it doesn't directly impact the Jazz (we weren't going to get either of them anyways). That said, it does increase the likelihood a team will want/need Boozer (if they whiff on the other big names) and potentially overpay for him (depending, of course, on what you consider a good deal for him). Doesn't necessarily mean sign-and-trade, but the chance of him returning likely took a hit. (No celebrating, please... that'll just get you the "classless" label or something.) That leaves Wade, LBJ, Bosh, Amar'e & Boozer (maybe Lee fits in, and Dirk if he doesn't resign). If all the guys go to different teams, then it's risky for the anti-Boozer crowd. But if 2 (or more) of these guys end up in the same city, the market for Boozer will grow.

Drew Gooden and Darko Milicic probably got overpaid as well (not sure about Amir Johnson... I'd probably put him in the same group, largely because he hasn't done much in the league yet). Channing Frye... deserved or not (the Suns original offer was like $25 million or so... but after seeing Gooden's contract, no way he was settling for that)... was also big. It's set the going rate for bigs at a very high level. 3 of the guys were resignings; Gooden... I don't know who else was chasing him. But still, the going rate is high for bigs right now (at least until the teams run out of money). 

Bosh, Amar'e, Boozer & Lee are the class of the PFs this off-season (according to most). Dirk too if he doesn't resign. Houston is interested in a sign-and-trade for Bosh or Amar'e. Chicago. Miami. New York. New Jersey. Dallas? Phoenix? Orlando? There are teams out there looking for bigs... and there's a chance that one of the teams that misses out on Bosh & Amar'e will throw big money Boozer's way. And given the money the other guys have gotten, chances are good that it'll be more than the Jazz are willing to offer (or can offer, for that matter). That said, expect the Jazz to make some sort of offer... they've classified as their biggest priority this off-season.

The Rockets are interested in landing one of Amar'e/Bosh; they're offering Scola (sign-and-trade), Battier and Ariza in a sign-and-trade for either guy... Lee is still meeting with teams, including the Wolves. Who knows what they're thinking, but if he goes there, Al Jefferson becomes even more available (though he might've already reached that point with the resigning of Darko)... If the Nets have wowed LBJ enough (word is they have, as of now), they'll look to move Kris Humphries and make room for another max guy. Could Boozer be their guy?... Word on the street twitter (we know how reliable that is) is that Amar'e is close to an agreement with New York. We'll have to see... Bosh came away impressed with New Jersey, and is considered the top choice in Miami... Both Amar'e & Boozer have said they view themselves as the #2 option in Miami behind Bosh... In other words, many things still have to be sorted out.

Still. Minnesota & Milwaukee struck early... and might've indirectly priced Boozer out of Utah's range. Atlanta & Memphis were just trying to keep their own guys around... but they might've cost the Jazz Boozer as well. Whether you want to thank them or hate them is up to you. All I have to say is KAAAAAAAHN!!!!



Elsewhere, the Lakers have reportedly offered Mike Miller 5/30, and told him to take it or leave it by the end of the night (which... well, the night is over... at least in MST). If he declines (he's still hoping to end up with LBJ or something), then they'll probably move on... to Kyle Korver? Maybe not right away, but if it progresses on down, the Lakers could look to him. He doesn't seem to be atop the Jazz priority list now, and there is interest, so he could be gone soon. Lets hope Hayward (and whoever else the Jazz find) prove adequate as replacements.

Matthews... chances seem good the Jazz will match. But you never know... it'll depend on the contract offer he gets. The Blazers are interested, so you have to fear a Millsap type "poison-contract" offer. If that happens, the Jazz might have to let him go. In that case, their interest in Morrow makes sense... he's not as good a defender, but he's a better shooter, especially from downtown. He is a RFA, so there's no guarantees... the last time the Jazz went after RFAs, they saw their offers to both Jason Terry & Corey Maggette matched... but its interesting. And even if they bring Matthews back, Morrow would be an awesome addition to the wing rotation. The Jazz aren't the only team interested though, so it'll be hard.

The going rate on wings has yet to be set... Gay & Joe Johnson got the max deals that were expected for them (though, again... many would argue that neither was a smart decision by the team making the offer), and no other wings have signed yet. Mike Miller could be the first cog here. I don't expect either Korver or Matthews to get 5/30 (though, admittedly, you never know), but it gives you an idea as to what teams are willing to pay. They're going to get offers... and it could be enough to price them out of the Jazz range as well.


So while the Jazz didn't do much of anything here on day 1, stones were set by other teams that will impact what the Jazz do, both with their own free agents and with any other free agent they choose to chase. With prices high, you're probably going to have to overpay... and you risk having to pay way too much if you wait too long (or missing out on your targets). This could be very important for the Jazz. How much do they want to give Matthews? How about Fesenko? What is a fair offer (in their mind) for Boozer? If they chase Morrow, what can they offer and honestly feel that the Warriors might not match?

The Jazz seemed to take the "let the market set itself" approach to start free agency (again), and if they're honest about keeping their guys around, it could end up being the wrong decision as money continues to be tossed around. 



* = I was completely honest in the FA thread. If the Jazz pull off a S&T with the Magic that nets them Ryan Anderson, I will disappear from this blog & twitter for 3 days. And only then will I actually shut up. Sorry if you want it to happen before that.

**= Yes, the Jazz have actually kicked the tires on Kwame Brown. I'm sure that would work out brilliantly. Jerry Sloan would kill him before training camp.

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

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