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NBA Free Agency: Utah Jazz Alec Burks to get paid, but how does it change future financial flexibility?

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...because you know you're only going to get massive walls of text from the other sites out there...

"Oh, guacamole is extra? Make it so."
"Oh, guacamole is extra? Make it so."
Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports
[EDIT: Basketball Insiders released the info here, it is more accurate than my guess.]

The good news today is that the Utah Jazz have reached an agreement to extend the contract of former NBA Draft 2011 #12 pick Alec Burks. (Report here)

Moving beyond the rookie scale contract for our young core is something we worried about before because of the desirability perception of our small market club. As it stands right now, three of the four of the C4 are there: Derrick Favors (extended), Gordon Hayward (RFA, but contract matched), and Burks. Enes Kanter and his camp could not come to terms with the Jazz, and while that is sad, it was expected. (Report here) The roster has a foundation, but there are questions which remain.

Jody Genessy, of the Deseret News, gives the vitals here:

Burks will make $42 million and up to $45 million with incentives in a four-year deal that begins in 2015-16, according to a Deseret News source.

- Jody Genessy, Deseret News, 2014

But if you dig deeper it's easy to recognize some crunches are in store for Utah's future. Assuming the minimum is paid per the four seasons that comes out to $10.5 million a year. That's too high for some, but not really that high in comparison. After all, last season Richard Jefferson made $11.046 million, Andris Biedrins made $9.000 million, and $7.500 million went to Marvin Williams for 66 games of action. You need to meet the roster minimum values somehow, and it's better to pay the good players bigger money than to pay the bad players or players who are leaving.

After all, that's how you keep guys happy.

What does this look like in the big picture? I am glad you asked.

Utah Jazz Salary Approx after Alec Burks extension

Contract values from Basketball Insiders; Cap projections from Larry Coon.

N.B. This is the minimum average per season for Alec, and not reflective of actual salary structure per year

[EDIT: Basketball Insiders released the info here, it is more accurate than my guess.]

Yeah. The problem here is if there isn't a lot of change between what Alec Burks earns per season. Utah may want to throw some money around next year with all the qualifying offers and the issue of Enes Kanter / Trevor Booker not being resolved. If Alec has a contract that is low in his first years, but gets better as the years go on (which would coincide with the larger and larger salary cap projections) then I think our team will be fine.

The crazier thing is if you look into the future and remember that this team has 15 draft picks to figure out between the 2015 and 2018 NBA drafts.

Utah Jazz Salary Future Snap Shot

Quick snapshot -- I don't need to reveal all of my secrets

If the Jazz aren't crazy about a guy like Joe Ingles and Ian Clark or Jordan Hamilton it is easy to see that someone cheaper will come around soon. Some people are already preparing for the possibility that our 2015 1st rounder will require big money down the road. Well, if you look at when that will be (2019, seriously, in 2019), well, the cap will be larger then, and we will have some roster movement then too.

Hopefully our 2015 guy is a good complimentary piece, and not someone we have to worry about paying a bazillion bucks. The hope that goes hand in hand with that will be that the players we project to play a lot who are already paid will be good enough to take us place in the playoffs. But we'll see.

At the end of the day, Alec Burks is getting some money, but not as much as many of the guys in his own draft class. And compared to recent history, he's getting paid either a little less or a little more than some guys who were much worse than him in a Utah Jazz jersey. I'm happy with this signing, and best of all Alec put his money where his mouth is and wants to be here. He wants to play with these players. And he wants to play for this coach.

A season or two ago I think all three of those questions may have had different answers than they do today.

The worst case scenario is that Burks will remain a high scoring guard who is better used off the bench. Well, Jamal Crawford made $10.8 million a season before . . . back in 2010-2011. The cap back then looks nothing like what the cap will look like for Burks during the prime of his career.

Don't cry about his contract. Don't cry about the money. Dennis Lindsey is a wizard, and Quin Snyder is a high charisma cleric. Lindsey uses arcane magic to beguile and create something out of nothing. Snyder is there to buff his guys and make lead them to be better as a group than as individuals.

It's going to work out. And there's a lot of money going to a few guys right now. When we have more of the contract details this will be adjusted accordingly.