The Downbeat #1347: Help Wanted Edition

Almost time for excited Dennis Lindsey to reemerge for a busy summer of filling job vacancies

In which we evaluate Bob Hyde and discuss where Dennis Lindsey ranks among his peers

Bob Hyde Retirement. As reported by SLC Dunk first yesterday, Bob Hyde has decided to retire from the Utah Jazz, effective after the NBA Draft in late June.  I posted a link to a 2012 Salt Lake Tribune article yesterday, but here is a larger excerpt which better explains who Hyde is and what his job was:

The person who’s seen it all for 27 seasons and is the second-longest tenured employee inside the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies. The one who’s outlasted Dave Checketts, Karl Malone, John Stockton, Jerry Sloan and Deron Williams. The former Price Waterhouse accountant who was evaluating coal-mining properties in "middle of nowhere" Steamboat Springs, Colo., when a random 1985 phone interview suddenly turned into the job of a lifetime.

...

He doesn’t initiate the first move. He doesn’t call the final shot. He’s rarely ever seen and almost never quoted. But Hyde is O’Connor’s right-hand man. He’s the Jazz’s salary-cap guru, chief financial officer and Moneyball-believer rolled into one. And while Hyde swears his job and name don’t merit mention, he’s quietly become the most interesting — and at times the most important — person on the Millers’ payroll.

In essence, Bob Hyde has been tasked with knowing the NBA's Collective Bargaining Agreement, and understanding the Salary Cap rules that go into the talent acquisition process for the Jazz.  In that same SL Tribune article Dennis Lindsey had this to say about Bob Hyde:

"Bob was critical in my process to make my decision," said Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey, referring to an August move that saw him trade San Antonio for Salt Lake City. "He’s obviously held in very high regard by the Miller family and by Randy and Kevin, [who are] all unanimous in giving Bob a lot of credit on where the LHM corporation is and keying all the strong fundamentals behind the Jazz. He’s already been someone that I’ve leaned on as a resource and a mentor."

High praise from Lindsey, which will probably squash any rumors that Hyde is being phased out for performance reasons.

That said, Lindsey may have his hands full with filling vacancies in the Jazz organization this summer.  Already, the team is full of free agents and the coaching staff is mostly empty.  Now with Hyde stepping down the Jazz will need a new resident capologist. The SL Tribune article mentioned above suggested that Hyde was already grooming his successor back in 2012:

Hyde plans to instruct Jazz vice president of finance Nathan Kenyon, among others, on the inner workings of a collective bargaining agreement that only becomes more complex each time a new deal is signed.

Perhaps, Kenyon or others step up and take on these duties, but I am going to speculate that the Jazz's new capologist was actually hired last year when the Jazz hired Assistant GM Justin Zanik.  As noted by Lindsey in the Jazz's press release, Zanik:

...possesses an extensive amount of international experience, an intimate knowledge of the collective bargaining agreement and a noted ability to work with players, agents and NBA management.

Accordingly, it would appear that Zanik is ready to step in and take on Hyde's responsibilities, to the extent he hasn't already done so.

Bob Hyde's Performance. As Hyde phases out, it's probably a good time to reflect on his career performance with the Jazz organization.  However, doing so is near impossible since it is hard to determine exactly what decisions he was mostly behind.  Admittedly, the rest of this point is mostly speculation on my part.

One measure that the Miller family, will no doubt appreciate is the Jazz's history of avoiding the Luxury Tax.  In the 11 seasons that the Luxury Tax has been applicable, the Jazz have only had to pay it twice (see Shamsports).  In 2009-10 the Jazz had a Luxury Tax bill of $3,105,372 and in 2010-11 the Jazz had a bill of $4,998,247.

So what did the Luxury Tax buy those teams? The 2009-10 year got the Jazz western conference semifinals appearance and the 2010-11 year...got Deron Williams traded and Jerry Sloan resigning...so not as good.

It has been argued that the Matt Harpring salary dump in 2009 and the Ronnie Brewer salary dump in 2010, were big factors to Deron Williams' discontent with the Jazz organization, and since both of those moves were mostly financially motivated, it is likely that Hyde had a big say in orchestrating them.  Obviously, Kevin O'Connor will always get the real blame (or credit?), but Hyde no doubt was right there with him working out the details.

One of the big things the Jazz have credited Hyde for in the past few seasons was his foresight in preparing to take advantage of the Salary Cap ramifications as a result of the 2011 lockout.  For example, see this quote in the Deseret News from O'Connor on October 31, 2012:

Do you think the league will be active with trade-deadline options?

"I think it will be. And I think the reason it will be is because people will be concerned going into next year … with the extra luxury tax, the punitive tax, the repeaters luxury tax. I think some teams are going to be cognizant of that. Hopefully, we put ourselves in a pretty good position. We had planned on this from four years ago. Now I'm not smart enough to write all the numbers down, but (Jazz CFO) Bob Hyde did. He planned it and looked at it and said, 'Here's what we should look like.' We thought it'd be two years before the implementation before the tax would come in and we guessed right, and hopefully we can be the beneficiaries of making some moves."

As we all know by now, the fears presented in this O'Connor quote mostly fizzled out.  The 2012-13 trade deadline fizzled with little action.  NBA teams approaching the extra luxury tax, the punitive tax and the repeaters luxury tax are very few, even without many salary dump transactions.

Clark and I have both written a lot about this both at the time these types of quotes were being made and since then, but at this point I think it is fair to conclude the Jazz's fears were always overstated.  If Hyde did in fact perform the analysis that the Jazz replied upon to make these conclusions, then he projected wrong in this regard.  It does make me wonder if 2 hobbyists like Clark and myself could clearly see this, why did Hyde miss the mark so drastically?

Executive of the Year. The NBA announced yesterday that Lindsey's former boss, San Antonio Spurs General Manager R.C. Buford, has been named as the 2013-14 NBA Executive of the year:

San Antonio Spurs general manager RC Buford has been named the 2013-14 NBA Executive of the Year, the league announced today.

Buford assembled a roster this season that featured six players averaging double figures in scoring and eight players averaging 20-or-more minutes.

The Spurs clinched homecourt advantage for the 2014 postseason by virtue of having posted the league’s best record at 62-20 (.756).

Surprisingly, this is the first time in his 12 year stint as GM of the Spurs that Buford has been give this honor.

Ryan McDonough of the Phoenix Suns finished second and Neil Olshey of the Portland Trail Blazers finished 3rd.

Notably, of the 13 Executives to get votes, Dennis Lindsey's name was absent. Considering most fans appear to be happy with the difficult job Lindsey did this year, where does that leave him ranking among the other 30 teams decision making executives?

Jazz First Workout. The Jazz have officially kicked off their process for filling in player vacancies by holding their first pre-draft workout.  Amar has all the pertinent details here, but I wanted to take a chance to promote the work that Josh Furlong did at KSL.com in putting together a nice summary page which included interview video's from today's session, photographs, player highlight videos and player statistics.  This is a quick an easy way to get the low down on some of the lesser known prospects that make their way to Utah for a workout.

That said, I'm going to go out on a limb and predict none of today's workout invitees will ever wear a Jazz uniform.

Jazz Lotto Season Ticket Promo. The Jazz announced an interesting promo for season tickets next year:

According to the link, the promotion works as so:

Your season ticket price (per seat, per game) is determined by the draft pick the Jazz receive in the NBA Draft Lottery, which will be held on May 20. Under the "Pay the Pick" promotion, an upper-level season ticket could be priced as low as just $44, with the cost per game equaling the draft slot the Jazz receive during the Draft Lottery. For example, if the Jazz get the No. 1 pick, the price would be $1 per seat, per game—making it just $44 for the season (for 41 regular-season games and three preseason games).

So basically the most you'd end up paying for Jazz season tickets is $308 per year, while the most likely scenario is that they'd be $220.

Just another fine reason to hope the Jazz land the #1 pick in the draft during the lottery on May 20th.
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