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Utah Jazz forward Marvin Williams to decline early termination option, stay with team

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

This comes as no surprise to anyone, but injured Utah Jazz forward Marvin Williams will decline his early termination option (ETO) which would have had him leaving $7,500,000 (USD) on the table. Chris Haynes of Comcast Sportnet reports that:

"... Marvin Williams has elected not to exercise his early termination option for the 2013-14 season, giving him one more year under contract before becoming an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2013, a source informed" - C. Haynes, CSN Northwest

Aside from a very encouraging preseason and an excellent first game of the season, Marvin had a down year. I would call it an up and down year, but there were fewer ups than we all would have wanted. Don't get me wrong, I am unreasonably supporting Marvin here. I think that with some more decisive front office moves and coaching he could be one of the best players on the team. I had expected that with the Jazz he would have been given more opportunities to showcase more of his game -- more of his game than he had been allowed to show with the Atlanta Hawks behind Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, and Al Horford all these years. In fact, with the Jazz he was further marginalized into a Bruce Bowen player. DeMarre Carroll is the guy who is trying to be Bruce Bowen, that dude who just spots up in the corner and stays out of sight / out of mind. I think Marvin is more of a Xavier McDaniel / Derrick McKey type of SF/PF who can drive, post up, and catch the ball off of cuts.

I guess I'm blaming the Jazz "system" here, the same system that tried to force Andrei Kirilenko into that spot up jump shooter role after making free agent moves to bring in two guys who had previously only played power forward before (Cleveland Cavaliers pf Carlos Boozer, and Detroit Pistons pf Mehmet Okur), which was the same position that the Russian All-Star played.

Of course, some of the blame for Marvin's less than expected 2012-13 season falls on his shoulders as well. He didn't break plays off under the guise of veteran leadership like Josh Howard did. But he finished the year with his lowest scoring average of his career (7.2 ppg), took the fewest shots per game in his career (6.4 fga), played the fewest minutes of his career (23.7 mpg), fewest rebounds per game of his career (3.6 rpg), and shot the worst he's ever shot from the field (42.3 fg%). Marvin was the ultimate feast or famine poster child for the Tyrone Corbin system that we like to joke around about by calling it the "Alfense". Which is funny because Marvin is quick enough to get open off of off-ball screens and cuts when guarded by power forwards, and big enough to take small forwards in the paint when he posts up. Of course, we just kept him in whatever corner was opposite of where Al was at all time because our glorious coach thought we traded for Jud Buechler or something instead of one of the most athletic players in his draft class.

His performance last year gave him no option but to not terminate his contract. However, it's not as easy a decision as we think it was. He had to decide to stick with a job where he was being used wrong, his direct superior didn't know what he was doing, and by staying here he risks even further devaluation of any future contracts he may sign in the future. By staying in Utah under Corbin he may end up being looked at as a guy who can only make $2-3 million dollars a year in the future; while if he left here to be the starter on some other bad team (right now we're a bad team btw) and play more of his game he could vastly increase his future asking price, more than making up for the $7.5m he is on the books for right now.

This could be the marshmallow experiment writ large here, but I guess $7.5m with the risk of your supervisor destroying your future career is a treat too hard to resist.

The other thing to factor in here is that, well, right now he's rehabbing post successful surgery. If he was going to use his ETO he would end up signing on for cheap NEXT year sometime during the season after proving he was healthy enough to contribute. Then he would have to play his way into the rotation (again, on the cheap) and hope to impress enough to get a raise in 2014-15. So maybe it wasn't so hard after all? Time will tell.

As a reckless bogger, though, I think life for Marvin should be much easier next year if the Jazz get rid of Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap. And by "get rid of" I mean amicably part ways with. Al is best suited for the role of being the 2nd or 3rd option on a winning team that knows how to play defense. Being the best option and primary defensive target for the other team is a funny life to live. He's the #1 option for both teams, in a way. We go to Al, and the other team gives the ball to whomever Al is guarding. Paul isn't the same energy guy we saw as a young man who used to thrown down put-back-jams and block shots to halfcourt. He's not the same guy who hit miracle threes either. Last season he was somewhere else, and someone else. The frontcourt minutes theoretically trickle down with Pal Jeffersap out of the picture, and even if Marvin is going to miss all of training camp and the first "month+" of the season (October is usually only 1 game long, November is the real month he'll miss) -- he could stand to get minutes here as the all purpose SF/PF off the bench who is the primary scoring option.

If Marvin can reinvent himself as a sixth man, and if Ty Corbin (and mystery former teammate of Ty Corbin / future assistant coach of the Jazz) can reinvent himself to recognize that he can change his system to fit the talents of his players, then I wouldn't be surprised to see Marvin finish next season with a Matt Harpring style 12+ and 5+ off the bench, but with three pointers and alley-oops mixed in.

I really like Marvin. I think last season was one of the worst situations for a lot of our players, and no one was thriving. Not even Big Al was used correctly. That said, I don't think Atlanta used Marvin correctly either all those years of having him be the 4th or 5th option. Of course, I've been the head coach of zero NBA teams, so take what I say with a grain of salt. It's good to manage your electrolytes while staying hydrated.

Bottom line? Marvin will be back with the Jazz. He had a bad season last year, and we were a bad team last year. I blame our system and our coach -- not our players. Hopefully Marvin will have an expanded role next year, and have a bounce back season after he recovers and is healthy again. After all, next year will be his REAL contract year, and historically that does help a guy player better.

Remember this? Or do you remember our offense doing something different last year?