Perpetual All-Star Game bridesmaid center Al Jefferson has agreed to terms with the Charlotte Bobcats for, according to conflicting sources, three year deal that will earn him between $40.5 million and $45 million in total. [Ed. Being reported that it is $41m] Big Al was a very okay first option with the Jazz who was not very good on defense. I do think that Al could have been used better in Utah; and as a result, he would have had better numbers here than he ended up with.
I think I speak on behalf of all of us here in that we wish Al Jefferson the best in his new chapter in his basketball life. He has played for three teams before, and played with each team for a maximum of three seasons each. He starts his 10th year in the league, and I hope he plays as well as he can over the next three seasons.
With the Utah Jazz he played in 221 games in the regular season, and started all of them. Over those three years he averaged 34.4 mpg, and finished with 18.5 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 2.0 apg, 1.6 bpg, and 0.8 spg, Those are pretty solid numbers that you would normally take any day. However, we were expecting a 20/10 Big Al who shot 50% or better. His sub .500 shooting and less than admirable ability to draw fouls made him a solid horse to hitch our wagon to; but he was never the dominating one man wrecking crew that other teams who go farther than we do have at their disposal. I think there could be some evidence to point to the fact that either a) he is better suited to a complimentary role, or b) he's can't be the #1 guy on a winning team. Verily, over his career Al is now 282-441 in his nine seasons (winning 39.0% of all the games he plays in). Outside of his first two seasons (45-37 and 33-49) he's pretty much been the best guy on all of the teams he has been on. And the results speak for themselves.
It's all very sad because as a tentative 20/10 bigman who blocks shots and tries to do the best with the teams he is on, he has this "lovable loser" vibe to him. Great guy in the locker room, all his team mates adore him. He has demonstrated great generosity over the years by giving back to his community. But for whatever reason he's never been able to win.
This does not look to change as he goes to Charlotte -- who only seem to be interesting to him because he will not really take a pay cut to play there. Al looks to continue making close to the $15 million he made last year.
Instead I think he should have looked to take less money to play for a contender, where his true talents would shine. But hey, that's me telling someone to make 1/3rd of their price on the open market. And I have no right to do that.
I think we all appreciate what Al has done here, and recognize both his talents and flaws. And while his was but a transition era footnote in the big Jazz history book -- we all look forward to a brighter future for both Big Al, and for us.