For the second year in a row, trade rumors will be the focus of media day. Last season of course Carlos Boozer was the focus though with each passing day it looked more and more like he was going to stay with the team.
In 2008, the big story was the impending free agency of guys like Boozer, Memo, and Korver. They all ended up opting back in to their contracts after the free-agent market dried up quickly in '09.
This year all the questions will revolve around the non-trade of Andrei Kirilenko over the weekend. AK is no stranger to trade questions on media day. You might remember his trade demand over the summer of 2007.
The team and AK were able to work past that and I'm sure they'll get through this. AK, or at least his agent, has to know that he's potential trade bait with the luxury tax situation in Utah and his fat expiring contract. So while they may not be making the trade now, that certainly doesn't preclude them from doing so later.
Let's hope that knowing he could be traded any minute doesn't become a distraction for him or the team.
While it looks like Fesenko will be back, nothing has been announced officially yet. Fanhouse is reporting that he will sign the QO today in time for training camp tomorrow and hopefully for media day that starts at noon.
Of those 17, Jeremy Evans, Sundiata Gaines, Othyus Jeffers, Nichols and Ryan Thompson are all playing on non-guaranteed deals. That means that the Jazz would have 12 players under contract, one short of the league minimum. So they'll have to sign at least one of them to get to 13 but could bring on two. In years past, O'Connor has kept the roster at 14 to give the team some flexibility should they need to bring in another guy via trade.
However, this season, particularly this off-season, hasn't been anything like those in years past so who knows how many players they'll carry. With the luxury tax an issue once again, they could sit on 13 or go the Wesley Matthews route where someone gets a contract but it doesn't become guaranteed until January. That might make a bit of sense given that's when Memo is expected to return.
Gaines is likely the first one out with Jeffers probably close behind. I think Evans becomes the 13th man with Nichols and Thompson vying for that 14th spot.
moni said it best on this video of O'Connor on Sports Beat Sunday, "Talking without saying anything at all. Good or bad, nobody does it better than KOC."
One thing he did drop was this,
I mean we've been in discussions over the last 48 hours to 72 hours about some of our other players too. I mean, it just happens at this time of the year, it seems like everybody waits until the end and then gets in conversations. The Al Jefferson thing, the only difference between that, and maybe this was the fact that Minnesota and us kept ou[r] mouths shut about it, so nobody knew about it until it happened.
So Andrei's name isn't the only one whose name came up over the weekend, the only difference is that the other GMs/officials didn't leak word about the talks.
While the Jazz have yet to start training camp, the KOOF has impressed in Minnesota,
Koufos showed a nice outside jumper and looked lively.
"I feel like I'm a very good shooter, that I can play inside and out," he said. "Most importantly, you've got to play within the system."
It also wouldn't be a KOOF quote without talking about working hard. There was no "sir" mentioned at the end of the story, but I'm sure it was just left out.
Finally, as we get ready to kick off the season, a big thanks for all of your contributions over the summer and the last few days. I don't recall getting so many great comments and stories for a particular issue than for the potential trading of AK.
It's no secret that Andrei is loved here, I'm sure the percentages are about the same outside of SLC Dunk as well. There are those that have a different opinion of him but we've managed to have some civil discussions about the topic.
And that's what makes SLC Dunk great. Thanks again. I hope you're ready for the season.