We're not going to be able to criticize the ownership or the front office for a very long time. Sure, you're free to complain still, that's a fan's right and duty. But what can you possibly say when the Jazz pull off moves likes this?
They got Al Jefferson for basically nothing. Those two first rounders might pan out for Minnesota but with Kahn making the picks, are they going to find a diamond in the rough? Second, now that the KOOF is no longer with the team, I feel I can speak blasphemously. He may very well turn out to be a serviceable center/power forward but he wasn't going to do much to put the Jazz over the top.
Raja Bell was on nobody's radar. There might have been some pining for him by some but when his name starts getting mentioned with the Spurs and Lakers, there's no shot he's going to end up in Utah. Even you wanted him on the team, the news last night that he turned down Kobe's courtship and signed with Utah was a Shaq-like slap up Greg Ostertag's face of every Jazz fan. "Wait, Raja Bell is coming back? And he spurned Kobe and the Lakers? He wants to play in Utah?" I can only picture in my head Kobe sitting in his all whites, sulking.
You realize this just doesn't happen for us, right? We just lost 3 major pieces to our team from last season. It's like getting the three exact tetrominoes falling from the sky perfectly into place on your tetris board. Teams like the Spurs are the ones that are magically able to fill every little hole they have and continue to be contenders. Somehow the Jazz have just accomplished that same feat despite losing major components.
Bill Simmons says that if your team wins a championship, you can't complain for 5 years. Same thing kind of applies here. It's definitely not 5 years but I don't think you can criticize for the rest of this season at least.
I'm going to mimic a lot of what's been said on Raja Bell. He fits so perfectly that I really can't believe we landed him. He's the exact vet that Deron needs to shoulder the leadership duties. Raja knows he's not going to be a co-leader or even a self-proclaimed leader. He'll just go about his business and everyone will follow because that's what leaders do.
I stepped away from the PC last night for a couple of hours last night and when I came back, Al was landing at the airport and then I fired up twitter and saw the Raja explosion. Can you be any more giddy than a schoolgirl? We have a veteran leader, Laker-hating/spurning, three-point shooting, defender, and on top of that he's coming home? Sure there's the nostalgia of that 2003-04 team that injects a lot of emotion into the whole thing but he'll come as a very solid and capable player that will help the Jazz.
We don't land Bell without the work of the Jazz front office pursuing him from the beginning of free agency. He's also going to get more money with the Jazz which helps but here's another spot which you have to tip your cap to Kevin O'Connor and the rest of the organization.
Of course with Bell's arrival that means the departure of Matthews. Could he be another player that the Jazz regret losing in a couple of years? I think they already regret losing him. We could go back and forth all day about whether the Jazz should have offered something upfront and whether it would have mattered. One side says that they might have accepted and another says it was going to take the full MLE regardless to sign him.
This is one of the rare occasions where I think both parties got what they wanted. Matthews got his huge payday which he deserves. The Jazz were able to replace him with Bell and in turn save money. It's going to pain me to see OMSW playing in a Trail Blazer uniform next season and I can see him having that extra motivation playing the Jazz.
This was going to be it's own post but I figured now's the time. I could have added a bit more but here you go.
In the wake of the letter that Portland sent out a couple of years ago to the rest of the league threatening to sue if anyone signed Darius Miles, here's a follow up letter that was just discovered,
Team Presidents and General Managers,
The Portland Trail Blazers are aware that certain teams may be contemplating making an offer to the restricted free-agents of the Utah Jazz to a contract for the purpose of adversely impacting the Portland Trail Blazers monopoly on such behavior. Such conduct from a team would violate its fiduciary duty as an NBA joint venturer.
In addition, persons or entities involved in such conduct may be individually liable to the Portland Trail Blazers for tortuously interfering with the Portland Trail Blazers' efforts to overspend and general d-baggery.
"Please be aware that if a team engages in such conduct, the Portland Trail Blazers will take all necessary steps to safeguard its rights, including, without limitation, litigation and more whiny letters.
So let's sign Evans, re-sign Fesenko, and call it a summer. Let's play the basketball.