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The Downbeat - 21 April 2011 - #473 - The Purple Edition

This surprising report from ESPN the Magazine and has the Utah Jazz listed as one of the top spending teams per player in the world - not the league - the world. According to ESPN, the Jazz rank 11th in the world at a little over $5.8M spent per player. The Jazz had 13 players for most of the season until Deron was traded and bumped up the number to 14 (excluding two ten-day contracts). They also rank 4th in the NBA behind the Lakers, Magic, and Nuggets according to this metric. That hurts when your team isn't in the playoffs.

They must have calculated this with Deron's $14.9M+ salary on the books because by my current math, the Jazz average $5.3M+ per player for the current roster. With one more player to divide by and $1.8M+ ($14.9M-$13.1M) less in salaries, it's going to be a little less. Even at $5.3M though, that would still put them 15th world-wide, right ahead of the Celtics.

When looking at just the average though, you're not going to see teams from the other United States professional leagues listed high because they have more roster players. There are exceptions to that of course as the Yankees are #3 in the world and average the most per player in the country. You don't see a team (Detroit) from the NHL (who also has a hard cap) until the 67th spot and the NFL who doesn't have a team (Redskins) until #70.

The Jazz will drop off considerably next season though as Kirilenko's contract falls off the books. The team has $57M committed if they pick up CJ's option and bring Jeremy Evans back. That gives them a roster of 9 players. Assuming they keep both draft picks from this season, they'll still have to sign at least two more players to get to the league minimum of 13. That could easily be a couple of veterans for the league minimum.

A lot can change between now and when the season starts, but assuming everyone we have now is back, plus the rookie salaries (which vary under the current CBA according to where they're drafted and could go up if they win the lottery), the Jazz would be around $67M. That of course is under the current structure and assuming no major overhauls for next season. With that, the Jazz would still be paying out an average of $5.1M+ per player. That would drop them to around 17th overall according to the current standings. They would still be 6th in the NBA in average pay per player.

I try to keep things on this site Jazz-focused. There are a bunch of other sites where you can read about other teams and about the league. This doesn't really have much to do directly with the Jazz but the whole Kingsrelocation saga I believe speaks for the league and does set an an ugly precedent. With each passing day though, the likelihood of a move to Anaheim dissipates. The latest comes from Sam Amick at,

The next two days are pivotal. Johnson will host relocation committee chairman and Oklahoma City Thunderowner Clay Bennett and league counsel Harvey Benjamin in Sacramento and attempt to prove the case the mayor made so strongly at the NBA's Board of Governors meetings last week: that his city remains a viable market. On the other bench, sources say the Anaheim presentation given at the meetings was as ineffective as Johnson's was impactful, and there is serious doubt as to whether there will be enough support to warrant the Maloofs filing for relocation (a majority vote is needed to approve a move when a team files).

The meeting in New York last week was supposed to be little more than a rubber-stamp of approval by the Board of Governors and the Kings would be on their way to SoCal. What wasn't expected was mayor Kevin Johnson's David Stern smug look-removing statement that small market savior billionaire Ron Burkle was interested in buying the team. That was a game-changer.

Now, according to the Amick article, things sound like they're starting to sour for the current owners. The Maloofs aren't getting a much better TV deal with their proposed move. The league has even started to have Kings' employees start mailing out season-ticket renewals. That ought to go over well. Their marketing department is going to be earning their paychecks this week.

If Johnson and Sacramento can win this battle, it's the feel-good story of the year. With a renewed commitment to get a new arena built, the Kings could be calling Sacramento home for a long time. Why hasn't the city had this fervor in the past? Well, the threat of a move does tend to wake people up. However, as Tom Ziller of SBN and Sactown Royalty points out, the Maloof's haven't done anything on their part to get a deal done. In fact, they've pulled their support on measures. It's a feel-good story because the fans and the city have shown that they want it more. For the Maloofs, it appears to be nothing more than being part of an exclusive club. The love of the team and the history of the Kings in Sacramento is undeniable. Of course that's not enough to keep a team in the city. There has been hard work and countless hours spent by the city and fans to get things done and show their support.

While the league can't officially force the Maloofs to sell, I wonder if there comes a little pressure from the rest of the owners or a little Stern-like influence for them to sell a majority stake in the team. If the Kings end up not moving, this whole thing becomes another black eye on the league. The fans have already turned on them. A new owner or ownership would help restore the team's image with it's fan base and around the country.

So, how does this impact the Jazz? Well, for starters, Greg Miller is on the relocation board. Make sure to tweet him your thoughts on the matter or send him a message via Remember to keep things professional. You can even use this form letter that Sactown Royalty has put up if you're using the contact form on the website (that would be a lot of tweets).

Second, in addition to being a fellow small-market team, I've always appreciated the Kings fans for their ovation in the 2003 playoffs for Stockton and Malone. I didn't appreciate that they took the Jazz out, but that was a tremendous gesture.

Finally, while I don't think we have anything to worry about with our team, it's nice to know that the little guys can win one. I would expect nothing less from our fans and community should the unthinkable happen.

While the Jazz don't sport purple officially anymore, it's still considered a team color to me. Make sure to put on some purple today to support the Kings.

If you're a stat head, and even if you're not, the NBA now has StatCube which gives some great breakdowns of head to head and player advanced stats. It's the same thing that a lot of broadcasters and other media use. For example, here's how the current Jazz lineup fairs against the Nuggets.

Make sure to set aside 3-4 hours of time to kill.

I wasn't quite sure what this was at first:

Interview with Paul Millsap About the Season (via SJMalosi43)

After some digging, I found Go! Animate where you can feed it text and it will create a cartoon for you. I couldn't find the original source of the interview used here but I propose that all future interviews are animated in this way.

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