Jazz LOSE SEASON versus Minnesota. Sans Enes Kanter and Marvin Williams, the Jazz put up a valiant fight against the pesky Timberwolves. Jeremy Evans put up a great stat line as a starter opposite Kevin Love...though is that really an achievement? Kevin Love isn't really known for his defense, but more importantly he played as if this game didn't matter...which in fact it did not.
The only thing this game mattered for was lottery balls. The Jazz's lottery balls to be exact as Minnesota was locked into 13th worst NBA team and a minimal chance at moving into the top 5. Lose and the Jazz would have the 4th best odds in the draft lotto with 119 lottery combinations. Win and the Jazz would likely be tied with Boston for 4th worst and thus forced to split the 207 lottery combinations between the two teams and subject themselves to a coin flip for determination of which team drafts higher, assuming neither moved up.
It's been alternatively argued that this is a 4 player or 5 player draft. Thus picking 4th may have a TON more value than sliding to 5th. So what did the Jazz do? Did they do what was smart?
Sigh...Amar has your full game recap here...this one was just too depressing to even discuss.
and then...Coach Tyrone Corbin's future. First order of business for Dennis Lindsey and the Utah Jazz front office, will be to make a decision on Corbin's future. While it is true that coaching contracts typically run through the end of the league year (June 30th), the team will not want this question to linger on longer than necessary. The team will want their new coach and system in place before the roster acquisition portion of the season.
Laura Thompson over at Salt City Hoops, did some background research on when the 10 NBA coaching changes were made after last offseason. Of the 6 non-playoff teams which made coaching changes, 4 were terminated within the first week of the end of the season. The 2 that were not (Lindsey Hunter and Keith Smart) were in unusual circumstances of having a new general manager (Suns) and a new owner (Kings).
While this is a good indicator of how other franchises operate, we all believe that the Jazz do things differently. That said, I've been "tipped off" by multiple people within the LHM umbrella that Corbin will not be brought back. I assume this is mostly educated speculation, as the group of individuals that actually know for sure at this point, likely can be counted on less than 2 hands. However, it is safe speculation, in that the oft stated 3 goals (Discipline, Development, Defense) for Corbin were laid out before the season, and he obviously has failed to achieve any of them in a material fashion in relation to the other 29 NBA teams in which he is competing against.
Thus, I expect the Jazz will issue a press release shortly indicating that they have chosen not to offer a new contract to Coach Corbin and instead will look in another direction. As is done in many cases with bad news, I expect this press release to be sent out in the late afternoon on this Friday, so as to avoid being a big talking point during the prime media cycle periods.
As far as my desired coaching replacement, I've written on that before: Mike Longabardi.
and then...NBA Draft lottery and NBA Draft. Dustin pointed out the important draft dates on Monday, but let's rehash with what we now know after the last games were played.
April 27th - Early Entry Deadline. We'll know by this date what college underclassman will be in the draft for sure as the NCAA has a no turning back policy after this date.
May 15-16th - NBA Draft Combine in Chicago. Like last year, SLCDunk will again be representing SBNation and will likely again be the sole Utah Jazz media members in attendance. I'm looking forward to the tireless efforts from Dr. Amar and Mr. Lowman to provide us with breaking news (like the Jerry Sloan return and the noticeable absence of Jeff Hornacek from the coaching staff) and video interviews of the prospects. With 3 picks in the draft, every player in Chicago has to be on the Jazz's radar.
May 20th - Draft lottery. The most important date of the Jazz season. We'll find out for sure if the Jazz will be in position to select a franchise player, or if they slide down out of reach. Jazz landing a decent chance at a top 5 pick in this draft is an ok outcome considering everything and will be even better if some other team falls in love with Julius Randle before the Jazz, should Utah get stuck at 5.
June 26th - NBA Draft. The draft won't be the same without hearing David Stern being booed mercilessly before every announced pick.
**EDIT** The "coin toss" for the 4th/5th pick between the Celtics and Jazz happens tomorrow. In the event that neither team moves up, the winner of the toss will get the higher pick. -prodigal_punk
and then...NBA Free Agency. NBA free agency always kicks off at 12:01 AM EST on July 1st, however the "July Moratorium" will be in place until July 9th, during which time teams are free to negotiate and visit, but not able to actually sign contracts.
The Jazz's big issue of course will be what to do with Gordon Hayward. After the NBA Finals and prior to July 1st, the team will announce they have extended a qualifying offer to Hayward in order to make him a restricted free agent. From there though, Hayward's July will get really interesting.
If we assume the NBA's projected $62.1MM salary cap for 2014-15 is accurate, then the breakdown of a maximum contract for Hayward looks like this:
|Other Team Max
The Jazz's main advantage is being able to offer the extra 5th season in 2018-19 and annual raises at 7.5% versus 4.5% from other teams. However, this is really only an advantage if teams think he is worth, or are willing to pay Hayward the maximum allowed. If we believe Hayward is really a $10MM per year player, then other teams can offer the same amount of money, albeit, they'd have to pay him over 4 years instead of 5.
So what is Hayward worth compared to his free agent small forward peers? NBA Cap expert Larry Coon recently opined in a April 11th chat:
Tim: The SF position in this year’s FA class is definitely the deepest. If you were a GM with a little cap space (say Dallas) about how much would you offer the 3s below?
Larry Coon: There are plenty of people who think Carmelo will offer some team a discount in order to play there, but I don’t think that will be true — I think the team that signs him will have to pay his full max, which in his case will be about $23 million.
For the rest of them, it depends on what the team’s plans are and what needs they have to fill. I think the days are winding down where a team can think about paying whatever salary a player might demand on the open market. I think we’re going to see more teams walking away rather than matching or beating other teams’ offers.
That said, ballparks for these guys might be: Deng: $11 million; Gay: $10 million (and won’t opt out because he’s already signed for $19 million); Ariza $8-9 million; Hayward $13-15 million (driven up because he’s restricted).
If Hayward's price per year is driven up by some team bereft of talent and long-term contractual obligations (say Philadelphia), then the Jazz will have a very difficult choice. At $13-15MM a year, Hayward becomes a near maximum player and it will be hard to justify that amount considering the Jazz's future contracts and upcoming extensions.
Of course, in addition to Hayward's free agency, the Jazz will be able to go shopping themselves. Depending on a number of factors the Jazz will have $25-$30MM to shop this summer in free agency, which is enough to land any of the top players. That said, nobody expects the Jazz to pursue the Lebron's and the Carmelo's of the world.
I personally have a number of free agent targets I'm interested in, but a lot of what the Jazz do there will depend on the draft. I will say, I do like the thought of pursuing a defensive wing force like Lance Stephenson and a 3 point shooting center like Spencer Hawes. However, both those guys do not have the traditional Jazz mental makeup.
As we get closer to free agency, I''ll discuss potential targets in much more detail. Who are you guys targeting?
and then...Extensions for Burks and Kanter? Assuming both Burks and Kanter are on the roster in July, and just like Favors and Hayward last year, both 3rd year players will be eligible to sign 4 year contract extensions beginning this July up through the end of October. Like Hayward, could both players end struggling (pouting?) if no extension is agreed upon?
While I feel I had a generally good idea of what Favors and Hayward would get in extension offers last offseason, I truly have no good feel for Burks and Kanter. Burks has very little starting experience and will no doubt, not be content with a "6th man" sized extension. Kanter is entitled to the big man premium, which means he should get at least $10MM per year, but his play this year makes me question whether that or anything well over that, is worth it considering how he meshed with the rest of the roster.
So what do you guys think Kanter and Burks are worth long-term?