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Charlotte Hornets Call Utah Jazz Max-Money Bluff: The Downbeat #1400

Well, that escalated quickly. Also: Jazz practice, Alec Burks turns 23, and your FanPosts.

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I was halfway through writing a previous incarnation of this Downbeat when the news broke. So, uh, you'll never see that one. Because this happened.

Things got out of hand quickly after that. Amar has all the details for you, because he is insane and does not sleep. Like, ever.

I'm writing this late Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, so I might have to update this later on Wednesday if the situation changes. But at the moment, the facts are these: Gordon Hayward is going to sign a max contract with the Charlotte Hornets, and the Utah Jazz are going to match it.

Whether or not they should is a question that, as of this writing, has the SLC Dunk community split in half, according to the poll on Amar's post.

There are two schools of thought. One says that max money -- four years, $63 million -- is simply more than a player of Gordon Hayward's caliber is worth, and the Jazz, as far away from contending as they are, should not hamstring themselves while they rebuild (whereas the Hornets, with a stronger team in a weaker Eastern Conference, need to seize their opportunity).

The other line of thinking takes into account the inflation of the salary cap, which is estimated to increase to as much as $80 million by 2016. By this thinking, the "max" deal becomes much more affordable under a bigger cap structure.

I honestly don't know where I fall. Well, actually, I do: I don't really care, because the Jazz have rendered the whole discussion moot. They're going to match. Use any tense you like -- they have always will been are was going to match.

Having said that...I don't like feeling like I'm overpaying something. It feels not-smart, and I don't like feeling not-smart. On the other hand, I don't like losing players for nothing, and I don't like missing opportunities to spend when we have them. Hence the almost-dead-even split in the poll.

I'm not going to discuss Hayward further in this Downbeat unless new news breaks Wednesday morning. (And even then, it might make more sense to update Amar's post rather than this one.). So screw it, let's talk about other things.

The Jazz held practice on Tuesday! Like, real, honest-to-goodness dribbling and shooting and drills and stuff. Granted, it was the summer league roster, so the whole gang wasn't there. But our new rookies Dante Exum and Rodney Hood were. That's fun. Basketball is happening, you guys. By this weekend we'll get to see them in action. That's thrilling.

Of course, Dante knew exactly the right thing to say to endear himself to Jazz fans:

Yep, that'll do it.

(Can I just say in passing here: I don't know who young Dante's got schooling him in PR, but they are on point. When I heard the Stockton comment, I got this image of Dante's handlers coaching him on how to win Jazz fans over. "Okay, Dante. You're going to Utah. They have three people you can never say anything bad about. Jerry Sloan, John Stockton, and Karl Malone. Especially Stockton. Never badmouth Stockton. You love Stockton now. You worship Stockton. You're a Latter-day Stocktonite. Go on, tell the people you want to work with him. Excellent. Also, if someone offers you fry sauce, just take it. Don't ask questions.")

(EDIT: I didn't mean to imply any lack of sincerity on Exum's part here. His father did room with Stockton that one time in 1984, and he did post that Instagram of his bookshelf with Stockton's book on it. I'm just saying, it's a surefire way to get "over" with fans, to borrow a wrestling term. That doesn't mean he isn't sincere about wanting to learn from Stock. I don't think they're mutually exclusive. Anyway, sorry, I meant to put more of that background info in there, but it was 2am and I had just watched Point Break while following the Hayward news. I...may not have been thinking clearly.)

We'll get back to another tidbit from this practice later.

Because now it's time for FanPosts! I had considered doing an all-FanPost Downbeat today, since there seemed to be no news on the Jazz front, but...yeah. Anyway, I invite you to check out all the posts, not just the ones I'm spotlighting here. Lots of great content.

First, Scott Farkus makes his SLC Dunk debut with a fantastic account of his Jazz-related conversations with locals on a business trip in China:

Long-Hair Mole Man: Are you American?

Me: Yes.

LHMM: Where in America?

Me: Utah, it's near Las Vegas (That is usually the only city they know that is nearby)

LHMM: Oh, like the Utah Jazz (he shadow shoots a ball)

Me: Nice. You got it.

LHMM: Didn't McGrady leave there to play for the Rockets? (They love him in China)

Me: Nope. Thank goodness.

Super entertaining, man. Thanks for sharing!

Next, EmkayTrey compares different styles of NBA front office management and weighs the pros and cons:

By categorizing the types of FOs, we can highlight the strength/weakness by providing historical reference. Most NBA teams will fall-into one category, but may exhibit signs of another.

GM-Driven FOs

This is the norm of most NBA teams. GM makes the long-term decision on team building (tank or contend?). To execute the long-term decision, they control the personnel decision (player and coaches), and investment in support staffs (Med, stat, scouts). Coaches mostly concerned with development and game-planning. Coaches may be involved with personnel decision at various level, but the final decision lies with GM. Owners usually steps out of the way, and will limit themselves to only making budget decisions (pay salary tax?).

Advantage - Clear Distinction of Duty

Example: Atlanta Hawks

GM can make significant player moves (usually trades) without input from coach, and the coach has plausible deniability. (I didn't sign off on Joe Johnson trade, and my team sucked after).

Disadvantage - Conflicting Interest

Example: Utah Jazz

Let me tell you a story, about the the 2013-14 Utah Jazz, and their magnificent unicorns...

Finally, if you're in the mood for looking at some Gordon Hayward stats, hiteshom has run a revealing set of comparisons:

I've read multiple articles stating how "Hayward should be offered max from Jazz" or "Jazz should match Hayward offer, if not a max deal" And so being the curios person I am, I decided to investigate myself.

I began by going off of what everyone was saying "Hayward is one of 5 players this year to average 15 pts/game, 5 asts/game, and 5 rebs/game" and I thought this was interesting especially at such a young age, so I looked into it, except with a couple a changes, instead I made the company from every year since 1980, and made everything per 36 minutes.

Click through for the data. It might help you make up your mind about whether or not the Jazz should match the Hornets' offer. (Even though they're going to anyway.)

Told you we'd get back to Jazz practice:

Music to my ears. Of course, until we see it on the court, it's just lip service; Ty Corbin (and, to be fair, Dennis Lindsey and others) talked a big game regarding defense, but the end result left something to be desired. But I like Snyder's willingness to let the media hold him and his team accountable for their defense. That, if nothing else, is a marked change from the previous regime.

It has to be said, though, that the Jazz will likely struggle on defense this upcoming season. While Dante Exum has the physical tools to be a great defender, he's not there yet, according to scouting reports. And Trey Burke suffered greatly on that side of the ball as a rookie. I'm looking forward to seeing progress there, but I expect growing pains. Which is okay.

Speaking of growing:

I'll let your imagination fill in the gaps on this one.