Where Vision Meets Reality (What Can the Jazz Afford?)

I liked the previous Fanpost discussion about team vision so much that my post got a bit too long-winded for a reply.

I started tinkering with salary info to see exactly what the Jazz could afford and I'll include the link in case anyone else wants to play around with it. Basically there are 5 contracts at the bottom and you can change the year 1 salary and the yearly adjustment (from -7.5 to positive 7.5). Cap data is approximate (and will probably go slightly up) but im pretty sure that is close to the max contract for favors.

I put the core 4 down for 5 years, and the 5th contract for 4 (I have milsap but you can pretend its a free-agent PG)

Basically I think it is the GM's job to keep the franchise in legitimate contention for as many years (not necessarily consecutive) as possible. In more specific terms, I think you are trying to maximize the years you have home court advantage in the first round. In a given year not all 8 teams will be viewed as serious contenders (pundits say 3 this year), but if you are being honest you know a lot of winning a championship is luck/circumstance. You can't ask a GM to align the stars for you, but you need to be in a position to capitalize when it happens.

The second thing I want is good quality, entertaining basketball. For me this means a solid system with lots of screening, cutting, and passing that Jazz fans are accustomed to (and quick help defense we are less accustomed to). Utah is not likely to attract top tier free agents, so the sum needs to be greater than the total of its parts - we need to play team basketball. This is one of the reasons I am down on Al, even though he seems like a great guy. He really has little value as a basketball player unless the ball is in his hands on the low block, and he is not nearly good enough to carry a team to greatness. His game is just not diverse enough and it is also boring to watch.

Millsap is the kind of player the team should go after so if we can keep him for 42/4 years or less in a front loaded contract I would definitely do it. He works hard, and can do a little of everything. I really think we should utilize him more in the pick n' roll/pop cause he can shoot and finish. Also defends well for someone his size.

Right now neither Favors or Hayward are close to being max rookie contract extension players. However I think most of us would be dissapointed if Favors doesn't become one after getting more time this year (I included him as one in my spreadsheet). I doubt Hayward will become a max extension guy even with improvement. He may become a border line all star, but it would be as an all around team player. I don't think he can carry any team as a go-to guy and I would be shocked if any team offers him more than 60 million (maybe my 55 million is a bit low).

Burks is the extreme wildcard. I have no idea what he will turn into (I expect it will sig higher or lower than what I put but I could not decide which). So I threw some random numbers in and decided we can almost give favors a max deal with 4 others close to 8 figure deals. I do not expect the team to pay lux tax - and it shouldn't except for a 1 year emergency because the new CBA is just too punishing. With 5 players (I chose millsap but you could put pg x here) and 10 MINIMUM deals taht only left about 6-6.5 million for 2015-2017 which is probably only enough for evans and a couple rookie scale contracts... This means 7 legit minimum contracts (not really feasible). It is possible burks or kanter don't pan out and we can use their salary for a deeper roster, or we might have to avoid "paying" a fifth. Millsap also could be traded in his 4th year if we aren't serious contenders leaving just one Tax season.

I guess what I learned from playing around is the team can't afford any bad contracts, not one. No overpaying declining vets (let williams walk).

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

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