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The Downbeat #1174: Positives From Portland and Contract Guarantees

In which we discuss positive quarters from Jazz big men vs Portland, how contract issues may affect Ian Clark and Jamaal Tinsley and invite you all to round 2 of blogger basketball.

Is Enes Kanter's 1st Quarter dominance a sign he's taking a step forward in his development?
Is Enes Kanter's 1st Quarter dominance a sign he's taking a step forward in his development?
Jim Urquhart-USA TODAY Sports

Dominating Quarters. Yes, the Jazz lost last night to the Trailblazers 99 to 92, but I think we can all agree that the team's performance had improved over the past few pre-season games. As Jon points out in his recap, there were stretches of the game where both Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors looked really good and really bad. This reminds me of the oft-spoken truism by our very own hardest working play-by-play man in the business, David Locke, that the initial goal for our young players is to get them to dominate quarters, and then halves and then full games.

I think it is fair to say that Enes Kanter dominated the first quarter of play last night. A quick run down of the Kanter play-by-play looks like this:

10:53 Enes Kanter makes 18-foot jumper (Richard Jefferson assists)

9:37 Enes Kanter offensive rebound

9:34 Enes Kanter makes layup

8:52 Enes Kanter bad pass (Damian Lillard steals)

8:06 Enes Kanter makes 4-foot jumper

6:00 Enes Kanter makes jumper (Gordon Hayward assists)

4:22 Enes Kanter makes 1-foot dunk (Gordon Hayward assists)

3:54 Enes Kanter makes layup (John Lucas III assists)

3:26 Enes Kanter makes layup

3:08 Meyers Leonard loose ball foul (Enes Kanter draws the foul)

2:16 Enes Kanter offensive rebound

2:16 Enes Kanter makes layup

0:27 Enes Kanter offensive rebound

0:25 Enes Kanter misses layup

By my tally that is 16 points and 4 rebounds in the 1st quarter. The best part being that Kanter was active from all over the floor, scoring on jumpers, transition layups and offensive rebounds. Similarly, Favors had some dominating stretches in the second half as he tallied 12 rebounds, 3 stocks and 10 points, all while making some very heady defensive plays.

If step 1 in the development of our big guys is for them to dominate quarters of basketball games, I think it's fair to say that last nights game was a step forward for both of our young big guys.

The True Cost of Signing Jamaal Tinsley. There have been rumblings that the Jazz are kicking the tires on re-signing Jamaal Tinsley:

Ignoring the basketball arguments for or against this move for a moment, I've seen some discussion that the Jazz should just keep one of their younger (*cough* cheaper *cough*) training camp invitees instead. The NBPA has actually foreseen the potential for ageism in player signings due to the fact that older veterans earn more on their minimum salary contracts than younger players do.

Take for example Scott Machado. If he makes the Jazz roster this year then he will be scheduled to earn a minimum salary of $788,872. Alternatively, the least the Jazz can pay Jamaal Tinsley as a 10+ year veteran of the NBA is $1,399,507 (almost double).

In order to prevent teams from shying away from signing guys like Tinsley, the league has put into place a rule that compensates teams the difference in salary of a 2nd year minimum salary player ($884,293 for 2013-14 season) and that player's actual minimum salary. Thus, if the Jazz sign Tinsley to a minimum deal they will only be out of pocket $884,293 (only $95,421 more than Machado is scheduled to earn) with the league covering the tab for the additional $515,214. Further, the Jazz are only booked with a cap charge of $883,293 as well.

Ultimately, I think the greater issue in regards to a Tinsley return, is whether a 35 year old PG who has pocketed $42MM+ in his NBA career wants to relocate back to Utah and potentially play only a month or two just to be waived when Trey Burke returns from his injury.

Does Ian Clark's $200k Guarantee Make Him a Roster Lock? This summer after a stellar summer league performance, the Jazz inked Ian Clark to a two year minimum salary contract which reportedly contains a $200,000 guarantee for 2013-14. This sunk cost has many fans, including myself, speculating that this will likely lead to Clark making the final roster cuts. The logic being that since the team has already invested that $200,000, why not keep him around and make him earn it?

While the Jazz never release contract details, we can speculate on a few things and make some assumptions on how long Clark might be around. First off, due to the 2-year duration of the contract, we know that Clark did not agree to a standard training camp contract which requires an "Exhibit 9 - One-Season, Non-Guaranteed Training Camp Contract". It is also reasonable to speculate that Clark's reported $200,000 guarantee is for "Lack of Skill" (in addition to other guarantees like injury, death). This means that even if Clark is underperforming, the Jazz cannot simply waive him and avoid the $200,000 guaranteed obligation.

Accordingly, with a 172 day league calendar in 2013-14, Clark essentially earns $2,850 ($490,180/172=$2,849.88) for each day he is on the Jazz roster. This means the Jazz have essentially guaranteed his contract for the first 70 days of the season ($200,000/$2,850=70), or until January 6, 2014. Coincidentally enough, the leaguewide date when all NBA contracts guarantee for the remainder of the season is January 10, 2014, which date requires teams to waive any such players it wishes to not guarantee for the remainder of the season by January 7, 2014. Coincidence? I don't think so.

In sum Clark's summer league play bought him a roster spot until January 7th, at which time the Jazz can either choose to waive him without spending another penny, or guarantee the remainder of his rookie salary.

Andre Miller a Jazzman? Yesterday Yahoo! NBA reporter Mark Spears joined ESPN 700's Bill Riley to discuss NBA and Jazz basketball. I was unable to catch that interview myself, but this little nugget came across my timeline:

Just the day prior I was speculating on my timeline that the Jazz should do something like this (Andre Miller for Marvin Williams) to resolve their current PG problems.

Don't get me wrong, I do not expect the Jazz to make any move such as this to replace Trey Burke in the near or longterm. Rather, my line of thinking is simply that the Jazz have appeared lost on offense through the first 4 pre-season games and adding a veteran PG with the savvy of an Andre Miller, would do wonders to further the development of the remaining healthy starters. Ultimately, when Burke is back he'll start again (right Ty?), but having a floor general to direct traffic now is key. And no, John Lucas III is not a floor general.

Blogger Basketball Round 2. A few months back @Clarkpojo organized an open court basketball game with the SLCDunk community and the Jazz twitterverse. We're trying to make this a semi-regular occurrence, and in that vein the writers here at SLCDunk have challenged our good friends over at Salt City Hoops to a Jazz blogger championship.

We've scheduled the game for this Saturday, October 19th at 9 am at The Gym at City Creek. We'll be holding open gym before (and probably after) the Jazz blogger challenge and we'd like to invite anyone interested in playing pick-up ball to come on down (FYI - The Gym does charge a $10 entry fee).

Scheduled to participate on behalf of SLCDunk is myself, @5kl, @prodigal_punk (yes you're coming), @JimboRudding and @kyle11kirkham. Salt City Hoops intends on fielding a team with: @saltcityhoops, @andyblarsen, @Jazz1600AM and @kylehunt4