Kelly Dwyer finishes up his pre-season player rankings with the centers. He puts Big Al at #10 due in part to having to learn the flex offense,
Well, he's healthy, but there's concern that he could need a little while to figure out Utah's flex offense and that could limit his contributions while players like Paul Millsap streak to the correct place on the court.
He's ranked right behind Marc Gasol, Nene, and Noah. I would definitely take Al ahead of Nene right now if we're talking about who's going to have a better season. I'll bet that he picks up the flex a lot quicker than expected.
Of course I bullish on all of those spots.
Kurt Helin talks about the free agents next season possibly trying to get extensions before the current CBA runs out on June 30th next year,
Heck, Caron Butler, Shane Battier, Zach Randolph, Samuel Dalembert, Jason Richardson, Tony Parker, even Andrei Kirilenko might be wise to also adopt the why-wait approach, provided their teams will have them.
I know most here, if not all, would be jumping up and down at an extension for AK. I think it makes sense for both parties to get something done.
From the Jazz point of view, AK's biggest non-basketball value comes from his $18M expiring contract. I don't think it has the value it would have had had it been expiring last season. There aren't a lot of marquee free agents next season. Certainly nobody is trying to cut their roster to just a couple of players so that they can give out three near-max contracts.
At this point, I think his basketball skills and in particular his role in the Jazz offense/defense, are worth a lot more than what he could bring back in a trade. Looking at who the Jazz could get back for AK in a trade, and whether it would help the team or not, is something to discuss in a longer post.
From AK's standpoint, he's never been a true FA. He could test the market and see what teams offer him. On the other hand, we just don't know what the new CBA will bring as far as salary restrictions so he could possibly get more money under the current CBA. With as much as AK has made over his career, he doesn't have to worry about how much his next salary will be. He'll play where he fits in best and I think that's right here in Utah.
If you frequent other SBN sites (and you should, they're all really good), you might have noticed a fan confidence poll in the upper-left hand corner of the sites. Well, that's been rolled out to all sites now.
It's a weekly confidence poll that will show the previous rankings as the year goes on. It will reset on Mondays with the new results showing up two days later. So just drag the slider, click vote, and check back Wednesday.
NBA Playbook breaks down some post moves from Ante Tomic in the USA/Croatia game (he had 12 & 8). I'm impressed with how he can back a player down and finish with either hand. This comment comes from someone who said that Tomic would never see any time in the NBA when the Jazz originally drafted him. Here's a recent highlight video,