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Draft Down, Free Agency to Go



This man might be the answer to all of the Jazz's problems. Heaven help us.

We've had a whole weekend to digest the NBA draft and come to terms with the fact that we didn't draft Derrick Favors or Demarcus Cousins. All hope is not lost though Jazz fans, no matter what Salt Lake Tribune Headline writers say. If Gordon Hayward ends up being a contributor in this league, then it will have been a good pick. I feel much better about the pick now than I did four days ago. FortheLove wrote a nice summation about what he would like to see the Jazz do now. I agree with a lot of his points. Let me lay out my vision as well.

Move #1- Resign both Wesley Matthews and Kyrylo Fesenko-

I purposely copied FortheLove's first priority. I agree with him. I would pay Fesenko up to $2 million a year, just because you won't be able to find a player with his skill and size for any cheaper than that....ever. I also believe the Jazz should sign Wesley Matthews, even if he gets a nice offer from another team. I would pay Matthews up to about 4 or 5 million dollars a year, although that would eat up almost all of the Jazz's Mid-Level Exception, which will be important later in our chat.

Move #2- Pursue Sign and Trade options with Carlos Boozer-

I have to tell you, that a sign and trade with Carlos Boozer is very unlikely. Here is why: I have to imagine that the Jazz don't want to bring back a lot of money in a sign and trade with Boozer, unless they are certainly going to get better than they are now. Secondly, there aren't a lot of teams that would want to acquire Boozer through a sign and trade.

Take the six major teams that have cap space to sign Carlos Boozer: Miami, Chicago, New York, New Jersey, Minnesota, LA Clippers. The Clippers and the T-Wolves don't need to sign Boozer. If the Wolves wanted him they would want to give us All Jefferson. No thanks. New York might want Boozer, but they don't have any players that the Jazz would want, unless the Jazz want to work out a complicated Sign and Trade with David Lee. I don't think swapping Lee for Boozer fixes one problem for the Jazz. The Jazz don't want any of New Jersey's players that NJ is willing to give up. Brook Lopez and Derrick Favors aren't available when NJ can just sign Boozer without giving up anything. Miami would love to trade Michael Beasley for Carlos Boozer, but my suspicion is that the Jazz have already turned that offer down before. And Chicago would love, LOVE to trade Luol Deng for Carlos Boozer, but they would much prefer trading Deng for Chris Bosh. For academic purposes lets say the Jazz could get Luol Deng for Boozer. Would they want to? I don't think it makes the Jazz better, but that's me. We'll keep it as an option though. Bulls aren't trading Joakim Noah, so don't worry about it.

That leaves the Jazz to sign and trade with teams without cap space. That is difficult for the Jazz, because they would be bringing back at least $10 million or so. So a Boozer sign and trade would have to address big needs and probably need to bring back a center. There is only one serviceable center that I can think of in the league that is available: Marcin Gortat. I don't know how available he is, but I would guess the Magic would give him up for Carlos Boozer. Boozer would actually fit pretty well in Orlando next to Dwight Howard.

Gortat will make a reasonable $6.3 million next year. The Magic would have to include another player with a contract around $4-7 million. Brandon Bass, JJ Redick (sign and traded himself) and Mickael Pietrus are the only Magic players who fit that bill. I would love, LOVE for the Jazz to sign and trade Boozer for Marcin Gortat and JJ Redick. I guarantee that move would make the Jazz better. But I would also except Marcin Gortat and Bass or Gortat and Pietrus gladly. This is the ONLY sign and trade with Boozer that makes any sense to me. The Jazz would have to be willing to pay the tax one more year and the Magic would have to want the trade too.

No other sign and trade with Boozer makes any sense to me, if it is possible. Prove me wrong in the comments section, but I believe I am right.

Move #3- Explore Free Agency

The Jazz's two biggest needs at this point are at the 4 and 5 spots. So let's just address those positions. Again, ForTheLove provided a nice list of free agents that are available. Allow me to highlight just 5.

Let's get one thing out of the way, however. The Jazz aren't signing free agent Brendan Haywood. The Jazz can only offer Haywood the Mid Level Exception (about $6 million a year)...IF they don't resign Wesley Matthews. If they resign Matthews then they can offer Haywood much less. Do you know who else can offer Haywood up to $6 million a year? Every single team in the NBA. I love Utah and I love the Jazz, but do you see why the Jazz have to overpay players to get them to come to Utah? Other teams are going to be willing to give Haywood $6 million. And Haywood would choose those teams over Utah, most likely. Teams like Boston, or New York, or the Clippers, or even the Heat? Yeah. The Jazz should just focus on other guys. The Jazz will only have a bi-annual exception ($2.08 million a year) and minimum salaries to offer, to guys like:

Ian Mahinmi- PF/C

Chances are you haven't heard of Mahinmi. He has only played two years in the NBA and has played most of his games in the Development League. But he is quietly effective when he plays and has lots of potential. He just hasn't had the chance to play big minutes for a Spurs team who needs to win now and isn't as desperate for a big man as we will be this upcoming season. Besides, $1-2 million a year might be able to lure Mahinmi away, because the Spurs are in bigger financial trouble than the Jazz and are reportedly bring Tiago Splitter over next season. The Spurs can't afford Mahinmi. A million dollars isn't a lot to pay an athletic, 23 year old, 6-11 man from France. He's actually my top target for free agency.

Craig Smith- PF

The Rhino, they call him, I believe. He isn't tall, but he is built like his nickname and he is an underrated player in the league. And he only made $2.3 million last year. He hasn't had a lot of time to play, but he would provide perfect backup abilities for the Jazz. Over his 4 year career, he has averaged 9 points and 4.5 rebounds in 18 minutes, or basically 18 and 9 given Carlos Boozer-type numbers. Smith is short, but is extremely tough and averages a free throw for every two field goals, which is a very high rate.

Hakim Warrick- PF

Warrick isn't a great defender, but he plays hard and averaged 10 points and 4 rebounds in 20 minutes last season. Remember, we are only looking for a player to give us depth, not carry the team. Warrick would possibly be able to be signed for the bi-annual exception.

Theo Ratliff- C

Ratliff is approximately 236 years old. But he also could be had very cheaply. He only played for $850,000 last season. He isn't flashy and he has no offensive game to speak off right now, but he would be a great help until Okur came back healthy. He also averaged 1.25 blocks in only 15 minutes a game.

Rasho Nesterovic- C

Same thinking as with Ratliff. He might be able to be had for around $1 million and he is big and has a lot of experience. He isn't the answer, but he could buy us some time at the center position.