Professional athletes make crazy money. Some make more than others. Here's the Jazz yearly salary and contract information for the next few seasons (as it currently stands), provided by ShamSports.com . . . I did none of this work, so if it's incorrect I'm not the blame, I'm just a thief. (Wait... isn't that worse?)
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You know the drill, billions of words after the jump.
Last season (too soon?) the Jazz front office was on the books to pay the players over $75 million dollars. That's over the cap, and not so hot for a team with only 39 wins and no playoff bonus money to help defray the costs. I don't know what the cap situation is going to be like going forward, and I haven't bothered to look at the other 29 teams in the league -- but it does appear that we may have a few holes to plug in terms of talent on our team; and we may have enough money to do it.
Next season (if things go as planned -- the Jazz don't trade any draft picks), we'll have two new 1st round lotto picks sucking up millions of dollars. These contracts are only a steal if the player exceed their league mandated maximum contract value. Other times you're stuck paying (and not playing) Jordan Hill millions a year. Also Andrei's contract will be gone. What's better than trading an expiring contract? Having that contract expire naturally giving YOUR TEAM the cap space, that's what!
If you give C.J. Miles a raise and extension, and do the same with Earl Watson (who deserves one) the money quickly starts to go away. Looking inside a fore-some of Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Derrick Favors, and Mehmet Okur is truly fearsome when/if all are healthy at the same time. As Jazz fans we know better -- so we'd at least need another insurance backup. (Are the Jazz going to spend one of 2 lotto picks this year on another bigman project? Are we going to buy out Ante Tomic? Will we trade for one, or just sign a free agent?) From my calculations (which you'll read more of later on this week) the average going price for the 3rd string center in the NBA is $2 million a season. (Height is always appreciated, it seems)
That means (by my conservative estimation) that we're going to add $11 million in payroll in filling in the spots of: C.J.'s new contract (starting SG/SF); Earl's contract (back up SG); New Jersey Net's 1st Round Draft Pick; Utah Jazz' 1st Round Draft Pick; and 3rd string center / 5th big. Add that $11 million to the preexisting $57 million and we're now at $68 million with 12 guys on the books.
Point Guards: Devin Harris, Earl Watson*, _________ (Maybe filled by a DP)
Shooting Guards: C.J. Miles*, Raja Bell, _________ (Maybe filled by a DP)
Power Forwards: Paul Millsap, Derrick Favors
Centers: Al Jefferson, Mehmet Okur, 3rd String Center (maybe filled by a DP)
(Bold* = already on team, but raise; * = raise, but free agent signing; ________ = unknown player)
The Jazz always have three point guards on the team. They did this back in the 12 roster spot days, and will continue to do so going forward. It's one of the key doctrines of our franchise (and any good NBA teams). The candidates for this spot are free agent Ronnie Price, a draft pick, or any other free agent.
The wing spot is trickier, because while we claim that all of the spots are interchangeable, this is not entirely true. The Jazz require one wing player on the court all the time who can hit the three. Hayward has shown the world his range. Miles is streaky but can ignite. Raja used to be awesome from deep, and didn't suck (by percentage) this year. Evans will probably be moved more to SF this year. Paul Millsap may see more minutes here against certain teams as well. Filling a wing spot with a guard (as opposed to a forward) attempts to bring another three point shooter into the fold at the expense of size. Kyle Weaver could be an option here -- and he also has the ability to play point guard.
Of course, a big name not listed is Andrei Kirilenko. You may have missed his mention save for his expiring contract. He wants to return to the Jazz. I want him to return to the Jazz. A number of fans do as well. I think the days of All-Star Andrei are far behind, and now he has to work into 'mentor' mode. He's the last guy who played under Jerry Sloan, and with John Stockton and Karl Malone. He's the only on the court vestige of that golden age. Adding Kyle and Andrei wouldn't give us the best wings on the planet -- but they would make us pretty solid all around. Less reliance upon Andrei would also mean less wear and tear. Not paying him a lot of money may also mean not relying upon him as much, and not requiring as much from him as well. Paying Kyle and Andrei would (at the most) cost us an extra $6 million a year. That brings the grand total up to $75 million again.
We have all the power forwards we need in Sap and Favors. Memo, Andrei, and Jeremy can also play there. We've also seen Big Al shift down to power on occasion. Nothing else needs to be said for this spot. Center, failing breaking the bank for a legit defensive big, is going to be taken care of as well with (we presume) a healthy Al and healthy Memo. The 3rd string guy is there for insurance.
Of course, my numbers are way off so the final price tag of $75 million isn't going to be what we finish with. I think the key to building something is small tweaks, not changing the roster to add 6 new guys every off-season. Adding another pg, two wings, and an emergency center is what we need to do over the off-season. That will give the Jazz 14 players on the roster.
In order to snag these guys we have two draft picks, a number of free agents, and some money from expiring deals.
It sounds simple enough . . . what do you guys think?