I've been gone where there ain't no internet for a couple weeks, so I've been a bit out of touch. I was hoping for a huge move from the Jazz during that time, but all I have is Randy Foye.
And I am really baffled. Still trying to really process it.
The move really makes me wonder what kind of vision KOC and Greg Miller have for the team. And I don't mean this in a mean, snarky way ... I don't mean: "They aren't doing what I want, so what are they thinking?" I mean: "I genuinely wonder what their plan is."
So, here we go: the questions brought up by the Randy Foye Signing
First, the facts
First, let's identify facts about the salary situation
- The Jazz now have $46 expiring in 2013 (assuming Marv opts out*)
- They don't need any contracts to expire in 2013 in order to give out big extensions to the C4 - they need contracts expiring in 2015 for this. 2013 cap flexibility accomplishes nothing toward these extensions.
- KOC, perfecting his panache for BS w/ the media, says he thinks Foye may be a long-term part of the plan ... yet KOC gave him only a 1-year deal. Come on ... if a guy's in the long-term plan, you offer a multi-year contract. It's not like Foye had tons of offers. Giving him a 3-year deal would be the easiest thing in the world. That the Jazz didn't means they specifically wanted his contract to expire in 2013, when all those other contracts also expire. There are no long term plans for Foye. Never, EVER trust anything KOC says to the media.
- The Jazz STILL will need to find at least eight more players and pay at least $30 more in salary for the 2013-14 season (one year away now). They'll still be about $40 under the salary cap and a mind-boggling $56 under the luxury tax line
* Marv is a weird case. If he plays great, he'll opt out. If he underperforms, he'll opt in. So the only way the Jazz are guaranteed to have him as more than a 1-year rental is if he isn't worth his paycheck.
Now how about some facts about Randy Foye, the player
- He hasn't been much of a player
- His shooting % were worse than Raja's last year — by a lot
- His career stats are almost identical to those of CJ Miles ... but he's also 4 years older than CJ
- Every stat I've looked at suggests he was either the same or slightly worse defensively than Raja and CJ last year
So, based on his performance last year this is NOT a roster upgrade. It also does NOT represent a guy for the long-term plan. It also does NOT specifically help the team have salary cap room for the big extensions for the C4.
Why Foye is more significant than Marv and Mo
Marv and Mo were acquired via trade. That means the Jazz get whatever contract they already have. They may have every intention in the world to keep Marv around for 10 years ... but they can't change his contract. That he can opt out next year has nothing to do with the Jazz. That's just the contract he came with. Same with Mo.
So that their contracts expire next year may not say anything about the vision of our team's front office.
But Foye is different. He was a free agent. The Jazz made two very significant choices with his signing.
- They chose to go after him rather than other similar players they could have had, but would have cost slightly more and/or longer deals (OJ Mayo, Nick Young, etc.).
- They chose to sign him for one year instead of two, three, or four ... despite KOC's long-term plans BS.
When a team makes a decision like this, a very deliberate decision to make one type of move instead of another, I think the decision is significant. And when that decision falls into line with other decisions ... it appears even more significant.
And that's what we have here. Suddenly that Marv and Mo also have contracts expiring in 2013 looks more intentional than coincidental ... their expiring contracts appear just as important as the players. And when everyone else also expires in 2013 (Al, Sap, Tinsley, Earl) ...
You see where this is going.
This means something. But what it means, I really don't know. Here are possibilities that I can see.
This is the new modus operandi
The Jazz did this last year: they signed two guys who hadn't been good in a long time to short contracts, wildly hoping they would somehow outperform. We know how Josh Howard worked out. I like Tinsley, but he produced more in myth than he did in reality.
And now it's happening again. And not just with Foye. Mo's best season was four years ago.
And these are all just variations of the Raja Bell signing. The main difference is the duration of the contract, not the type of player. This is now three consecutive years the Jazz went after players who have declined, signed them to fairly cheap contracts, and hoped they magically over-produce.
So is this their official way of filling out a roster now? A non-stop sequence of one-and-gone's? Or just hoping the player suddenly improves, likes it in Utah, and resigns cheaply for more years?
The Jazz no longer value continuity
It was one of Jerry Sloan's strongest beliefs ... you keep guys together for multiple years because they'll be better as they get to know each other and play better with one another.
Well, let's look at things now:
The trade for Mo Williams and departure of Devin means it's very likely we'll have four different starting PG's in four consecutive seasons (Deron in 2010-11, Devin in 11-12, Mo in 12-13, TBA in 13-14).
How about our SG? In four years it's gone from Ronnie B. to Wesley to Raja to a committee to Hayward or Burks this coming season.
Or SF: AK to Hayward to (possibly) Marv in three years
PF: Boozer to Millsap to Favors in four years.
C: Memo to Al to (possibly) Kanter ... again, in four years.
That's not a team with a lot of continuity. That's a team constantly changing ... and notice all the changes are without even looking at the Josh Howard and Randy Foye type contracts they're seeking out.
So is continuity a thing of the past?
The Jazz want to save some money
What do you do if you know you have a big expense coming up? You prepare by saving money for it.
We know it will likely cost a lot of money to extend the kids beyond their rookie contracts ... at least if their progress matches their talent and potential. Yet if they're as good as they can be, you can surround them with almost anyone and the team will still be terrific.
So is the plan to prepare for that? To keep the team's salary at the league minimum for a couple years, saving up money so they can afford to push the luxury tax line when all the extensions kick in?
The Jazz are going balls-out for the top 2013 free agents
This is crazy, I know. But look at it.
What kind of team arranges to have oodles of money come off its salary cap at the same time? A team planning to make a couple of huge free agent signings.
Who are the top free agents next year? Chris Paul and Dwight Howard.
And now mull over this: the Jazz may have room to sign them both.
Imagine the lineup: Dwight Howard - Derrick Favors - Gordon Hayward - Alec Burks - Chris Paul ... with Kanter as the 6th man. On paper, that lineup is insane. That lineup is one to make every fan in the NBA soil themselves. That's a lineup pretty much guaranteed to make a run for the championship.
Now imagine you are Chris Paul and Dwight Howard. Would the prospect of playing in that lineup—the closest thing to a championship guarantee they'll find—would that be enough to convince them to sign ... with the Utah Jazz?
I honestly don't know.
And if this is the vision of our front office ... I really don't what I think about that either. Sure it worked great for Miami. But think of all the other teams planning to woo LeBron and coming out with nothing. Mark Cuban thought he could get Dwight and Deron this summer—and it never happened. And we all know the Knicks and Mavs are much more enticing than the Utah Jazz.
And what happens when a team has oodles of cap space but the top free agents go elsewhere? Well, usually they end up spending lots of money on lesser players rather than come back with nobody (see Detroit in 2009, NJ and NY in 2011, etc.).
It's a scary plan. It's one that goes wrong more often than not. And if it really is the plan of our front office, I am very nervous.
The crazy thing is that looking at what they're doing, looking at all those contracts expiring next year ... it resembles a team preparing for a couple of huge free agent offers more than anything else.