Dennis Lindsey seems hell-bent on keeping this offseason interesting for Jazz fans.
By the way, this is the 7th trade of Dennis Lindsey's Jazz regime in under 2 years. (Burke, Gobert, Neto, RJ, Stokes, Novak, & now Felix)— Andy Larsen (@andyblarsen) July 22, 2014
So, cool! Another new Jazzman! Although it does mean saying goodbye to John Lucas III, Erik Murphy, and Malcolm Thomas, all of whom were on non-guaranteed contracts and will possibly be used as salary fodder in a Cavs move for not-quite-disgruntled (semi-gruntled? just gruntled?) Timberwolves star Kevin Love. None of the three figured to play major roles for the Jazz this season, so good luck and farewell to them all.
So, Carrick Felix! Wait. First of all. Guys. Can we acknowledge something? The name Carrick Felix is AMAZING. I mean, he's gotta be at the top of the list of NBA Players Whose Names Sound Like Dungeons & Dragons Characters, right? Or, like, an as-yet undiscovered Jedi Master from Episode VII? Or a James Bond villain? Or a minor-league pro wrestler?
It's a rad name, is what I'm trying to say.
It gets better. Check this SB Nation interview from last year. Let's tick off the bullet points:
- He loves skateboarding,still has friends who are into it (though his NBA status prohibits him from partaking) and his favorite pros are street legends Eric Koston and Kareem Campbell (get that flashy vert mess outta here). He got into basketball when it got too hot to skateboard in Arizona.
- Before he transferred to Arizona State, he played at the College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls, where he was also the team...barber.
- His first points in high school were scored for the other team.
- He did an internship with Fox Sports, producing a podcast and blog following his team's progress.
Okay. Seriously. Carrick Felix is The Most Interesting Man In The NBA. I love this guy already.
So what does his presence mean for the Jazz? Possibly not very much. Amar gave you an initial reaction yesterday, and so did David Locke. The upshot: Felix is coming off a knee injury, but his size gives him the potential to be a 3-and-D swingman. (I'm told Amar is, as we speak, working on more such content, so I'll link to that later.) [ED. Link is here] But he's behind Gordon Hayward, Alec Burks and Rodney Hood (and Dante Exum, depending on the lineup) on the wing depth chart. Even Quin Snyder's new-wave, Dutch-soccer-esque, positionless Total Basketball scheme might not have room for Felix. He's a bench insurance policy.
So we'll enjoy him for his fantastic name and personality in the meantime. Also, his daughter is adorable.
Welcome aboard, Master Felix. May the Force be with you, and always roll natural 20s, or whatever.
Speaking of Gordon Hayward, he blogged on his bloggernets yesterday about being back in Jazz blue. This tidbit stood out:
Away from the court, what I really like about the fans in Utah is that they're really respectful of my time and privacy, and me as a person.
I actually had my yearly camp in Utah right in the middle of contract negotiations, and going into the camp, I had just signed the offer sheet with Charlotte. A lot of fans don't necessarily understand how the contract situations work. I thought it would be kind of awkward to have kids and fans be there, and that maybe some people would want to leave, or be rude toward me.
But right when I got to Utah, I had somebody come up to me at the airport and say, "Hey, just wanted to let you know congratulations on the contract offer. Whether or not you stay, I'm just so happy for you."
Not one person came up to me and said something bad.
Now, it's hard to tell how much of this kind of content is really, authentically written by the player in question. (I mean, how much of that LeBron letter published in Sports Illustrated was actually LeBron? Who knows.) But it's certainly a nice sentiment, and I'm glad that Gordon, for his part, is either unaware of or choosing not to dwell on some of the shade thrown his way during the is-he-or-isn't-he-worth-max-money discussions in Jazz internet circles over the past few weeks.
(Although, again, this could just be a PR angle, taking the high road after hitting the jackpot, if I may mix my metaphors. When speaking directly to fans, it's a good idea to tell them exactly what they want to hear.)
Anyway, it seems like Hayward is happy, and that makes me happy.
FanPosts! Just a pair for you this week. First, thatdoolinkid has set his sights high for Dante Exum:
Why is this good? Well all these comps are Hall of Famers! Duh!
Why is this terribly bad? Well, all these comps are Hall of Famers! If his only comps are hall of famers then his chances of busting are really really really high. However, if he doesn't bust then he's likely a hall of famer himself (the good news part).
And Da Headbanger lives up to his name with his thoughts on Trevor Booker:
The Jazz are a young team with players still trying to establish identities and it is easy to intimidate a youngster in that role. A veteran presence willing to take the role of someone willing to do the garbage work and take a bump or bruise for the team is essential in helping these young guys grow comfortably. That is where Booker will come in. I admit that he isn't exactly an old veteran (an issue that seems to have been bantered about on this site), but it isn't exactly an issue for the role he is supposed to fill. Booker is aware of his ceiling. He isn't gonna complain about his playing time. He isn't gonna ask for more minutes. He isn't gonna ask for more touches. He knows his role. He knows Favors and Kanter are the future for the team... not him. He's gonna go out and do the dirty work and offer a physical presence to respond to any opponent's attempts to bully his teammates. But what attracted Jazz brass to him is that he goes about his business in a professional manner, someone who isn't going to embarrass the organization.
Thanks for the FanPosts, folks!
Grantland's Zach Lowe wrote many, many words on Tuesday about the Sacramento Kings and their rebuilding strategy. Some of their thinking sounds eerily similar, and as a fellow small-market team that struggles with free-agent acquisition, it might be instructive to know our proverbial enemies. Thus:
Playing fast is part of Ranadivé's vision for "positionless basketball." The Kings want to run with guys who can fill multiple positions and execute lots of things from lots of different spots on the floor.
Gay can slide to power forward in small-ball lineups and shooting guard in ultra-big groups, and he can lead the break if he snares a rebound. Cousins loves to bring the ball up, and he can do damage in the half court passing from the elbow or smashing into dudes at the rim. Stauskas can handle the ball, and McLemore, should he improve, can play either wing position.
It sounds wonderful: keep your young guys and draft picks, work the trade market for the right veterans, and run-and-dunk your way to 45 wins in two years. Sacramento fans would be fired up about that, and even the "old guys" leading the way in this scenario - Gay and Smith, or some similar veteran - are still in their primes.
It's not precisely analogous, but some of the points -- positionless offense, trading for good veterans even if they have bad contracts, zealously acquiring draft picks and young talent -- sound awfully familiar.
The good news is that the Jazz's timetable isn't as urgent as Sacramento's. Instead of trading for veterans with bad contracts and hoping to win, the Jazz have used their cap space to take on mediocre veterans in exchange for draft picks. Consequently, the Kings might be better than the Jazz this year, as they were last year...but the Jazz will have more assets and more flexibility moving forward.
Anyway. I think there are some lessons to be pulled from Lowe's analysis. It's worth reading.
Booker retweeted that himself. So he's not shy about it. And his favorite cereal is Cinnamon Toast Crunch, so you can't criticize the man's taste. Go forth, young Trevor, and enjoy your toasted-grains-and-milk concoctions.