The draft is the thing most discussed at the moment, as it probably should be. But I began looking towards the free agents this summer and what the FO could do with the cap space we have. Without bringing anyone back that are on non-guaranteed contracts or have team options, we would have just under 19 million (I think) in cap space (including $ for our 1st round draft pick). Trevor Booker would cost 4.75 million to bring back. Grant Jerret, Elijah Millsap, Jack Cooley, Bryce Cotton and Patrick Christopher would be about 845,000 to 1 million each for next season. I think Cooley, Jerret, and Christopher are just cap fodder for potential trades, and Millsap could be thrown in as well. Millsap and Cotton would be the most likely to come back of those guys, and Booker at 4.75 million is almost a guarantee in my mind. We paid Joe Ingles just over 500,000 this last year, and he earned a raise. My guess is that our friend Joe Dirt will cost 2-3 million a year. Jeremy Evans is also an option and probably only for around 1-2 million a year (I think he is a perfect end of the bench guy and hope to bring him back). In the end we could have anywhere between 12-20 million to spend.
Who else is out there? Who else fits? Who would be worth it over these guys, including Booker?
I made a table (sorry I’m not near as good as The Great Amar with his awesome graphs and tables and charts) as a simple visual to see who is available, and my personal estimate as to their contract value. I didn’t include people I don’t think we have a shot at, like Aldridge and Gasol. Nor did I put anyone in there that I don’t think fits, like Rajon Rondo or Paul Millsap.
Other notable FA’s: Patrick Beverly, Jeremy Lin, Arron Afflalo, Robin Lopez, Kevin Love, Jimmy Butler, Dwyane Wade, Amar’e Staudemire, DeAndre Jordan, Lemarcus Aldridge, Marc Gasol, Paul Millsap, DeMarre Carroll, Manu Ginobli, Draymond Green, Reggie Jackson, Enes Kanter, Brandon Knight, Kawhi Leonard, Greg Monroe, Rajon Rondo, Josh Smith, among others.
After looking at who is available, you can get just about any type of player you want this year. There are scorers, shooters, stretch bigs, defensive specialists, vet backups, etc. Here are the roles I think our team could fill and the guys that fit the bill:
We could use a guy to mentor our young guns at the point guard spot. Granted, Quin was a point guard himself, but I think having a current player to help them out even more would be great. I don’t want someone who would want/demand big minutes like Patrick Beverly, but someone who knows their limitations at this point and is ok with spot minutes and mentoring. There are a few guys that I think could do that pretty well. Jameer Nelson, Raymond Felton, and Gary Neal are all on the back end of their career and I think they would be good for Burke and Exum. (I left off Andre Miller because I think George Karl convinces him to stay since he wants him there so badly.) I like Jameer Nelson the best of the 3 as he would likely cost and play the least.
This is another area that needs to be addressed. Along with our other needs, it could be done through the draft, but there are good options in Free Agency as well if we go a different direction come June 26th. We need someone that can come off the bench at the 5 and give a solid 12-15 minutes of production. Kosta Koufus, Bismack Biyombo, Kevin Seraphin, Brandon Wright, and Alexis Ajinca are probably our best options. I think any of these guys would be nice and it comes down to what’s more important: defense, rebounding, scoring, or something else out of your bench big. Personally I don’t want to overlap talents a ton by getting someone who plays defense but struggles offensively and doesn’t stretch the floor with at least 15 footers.
I’m really hoping that with a healthy Hood and Burks we will have much better shooting and floor spacing than we did last season. But even then we need some guys that can stretch the floor and open up the offense. That was a pretty big struggle this last season. Fortunately there are some pretty decent options that are attainable for the Jazz. Pero Antic is a nice stretch big and could be a good piece along either Favors or Gobert. Danny Green and Iman Shumpert shoot well but I don’t think they’d want the role we would offer them. The other guys that interest me are Wes Matthews (I sure hope he can get healthy again!), Lou Williams, Marcus Thornton, and Gerald Green.
There are several other options available for the Jazz to work with. We could drop everyone possible and have enough space for a near max guy like Tobias Harris or Khris Middleton. I don’t think their teams will let them go, however, and I think Booker is worth his 4.75 million. He brought a great attitude to this team and it sounds like he was key to the chemistry that has been built. There are also a few younger guys I wouldn’t mind taking a flyer on. We have the space to (temporarily) overpay a guy now, only for him to be on a decent contract in a few years. I’m talking about guys like KJ McDaniels, Iman Shumpert, DeMarre Carroll, and Greg Monroe. I don’t want to spend money just to spend money, but I hope we are nearing the time where the flexibility that was hard worked for is used to our advantage. That could also mean waiting for the right opportunity like Houston with Harden. What do you prefer: spend or save?