Looking Like One Season, Howard U? - The Downbeat - #643

With the signing of Josh Howard, I really have to question what the goal of this team is for this season. If you listen to Kevin O'Connor, the team's goal is to compete and he will reiterate the desire of the Millers to spend in order to put a competitive team out on the floor. I don't doubt that that is the case.

But as of February of this past year, this team made a fundamental shift in its short and long-term plans. The team is no longer looking to contend in the immediate future. They can be competitive, but not contend. The question though is how will this reloading plan affect the future goals of this team? O'Connor has also stated that the younger players will have to earn playing time, often pointing out that even John Stockton didn't start until his third year in the league. On the flip side, one could counter that Karl Malone started 76 of 81 games his rookie season ahead of Thurl Bailey.

What appears to be the goal for the team going forward is a gradual takeover by the young players much like Stockton and Malone era came to be. Adrian Dantley was the star player for the Jazz until the team decided it was time to hand the reins to Malone and traded Dantley in 1986. Those first few seasons of Malone's career saw the Jazz getting either a 4th of 5th seed in the west until 1989 when they finished 1st in the Midwest Division and 2nd in the West.

It seems as if every moderately successful movie these days gets at least a sequel or more. For most trilogies, the first sequel is merely a vessel to get to the final movie. No plot points are resolved. New characters are introduced. And inevitably, there is a cliff hanger designed to make sure everyone comes back to see the third film. The Jazz this season are the first sequel. This is merely a prelude to the 2013 season and beyond. It will be solid enough, but what everyone is looking forward to is the end which is hopefully just the beginning.

So don't sweat the signings this season. These are characters that are brought in for filler. Sit back, throw back some popcorn, enjoy the ride, and look forward to the future installment.

With the Howard signing, the Jazz now have 13 players on guaranteed contracts and 18 total. The max the team can carry is 15 with 13 being the minimum.

The Jazz could add one more of the training camp invitees for the minimum salary. For the past couple of seasons, the Jazz have kept the roster low so as to not take a big hit paying the luxury tax. They have more freedom this year.

Of Paul Carter, Trey Gilder, Keith McLeod, Scottie Reynolds, and Jamaal Tinsley, who has the best shot at sticking? The last three are all point guards vying for a shot at the third-string job. The first two are wings who will be impacted by Howard's signing. In a season like last where the team was paying the luxury tax, I don't think any of them would would have made the cut.

In a shortened, compressed season, where depth will be a premium, I could see one or two of them making the team. Despite Alec Burks's PG capability, I think one of the PGs makes the team heading into the regular season. I don't see either Carter or Gilder getting a deal but could be brought back should the Jazz have a wing get injured.

I guess it's best that the NBA is run like a cold business because otherwise, how could you cut a guy like Gilder after this comment he made to Jody Genessy?

NBA hopeful Trey Gilder doesn't have a guaranteed contract, so his mind ran wild with hopeful dreams when he stepped onto Larry H. Miller Court.

"I was thinking I want to stay here," he said.

The ex-Northwestern State small forward, who played two games with the Memphis Grizzlies in 2009, was in awe of banners and retired jerseys high in the building.

"Looking up in the rafters, I was seeing a lot of greatness up there," said Gilder, who's played professionally in the D-League and Australia. "I want to be able to put on the jersey on opening night."

Basketball is a business, blah, blah, blah.

A reminder, as if you need it, tomorrow is the open scrimmage at the ESA. It starts at 7 with the doors opening at 6. And by the time you're off work next Monday, we'll have a real-life pre-season game and the first official game thread of the season.

Friday poll...

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