It's May right now and in the post NBA Draft lottery aftermath (the Utah Jazz dropped from #4 to #5) some people have e-mailed about NBA Free Agency. Furthermore, I've read a number of articles, fanposts, and comments that seem to hinge on impossibilities when talking about potential trades the team could do between now and the NBA Draft to move up. As a result, it's important to go over what the Utah Jazz have and currently do not have, in terms of assets.
Essentially, you can't trade a bird in the bush, only a bird in the hand. And I want to help educate people on what birds in the hand the Jazz currently do not have.
Current (2013-2014 Off-Season) Losses:
These are all of the unrestricted free agents (UFAs) on the roster that have just had the last year of their contracts fulfilled our bought out. From talking with national sources (not local ones) the information they gave me suggested that these players are all unlikely to resign with the team. I don't know how much I believe that, but let's just run with it for now.
- Richard Jefferson (SF) -- Jefferson's career ended a while ago, but this season looked like the post mortem twitching that can happen if you zap a dead body with enough electricity. In a contract year he was nearly the starter for every game he played in and didn't quite earn the $11 million he was paid. Common sense indicates that he'll take a pay cut in 2014-2015 if he's still in the league. I feel like if the Jazz offered him a contract he would take it if it was for at least another two seasons. He was a consummate professional and his work ethic confirmed that point. Game to game he also played with consistent effort and surprised many fans with his dunking ability. Some of his missed dunks were better than the made dunks of a few of his team mates. I do not know if he did enough to earn a look from a contender, but he can still hit threes and slash. More than the other rent-a-vets we've had I feel like he actually helped the younger players on the team. He was essentially Raja Bell, if Raja could still hit threes and was paid three times as much. The problems with RJ weren't him, it was his role that was determined by the head coach. Perhaps with a different coach who has a strategy that is more in congruence with the long term plans of the franchise things wouldn't be so frustrating?
- Andris Biedrins (C) -- Beans made $9,000,000.00 USD last season. It pays to be tall. So long, and thanks for that one spin move in pre-season.
- Marvin Williams (SF/PF) -- Williams had a chance to leave the team last year, but did not exercise his Early Termination Option. In doing so he avoided becoming a free agent in the season right after an injury plagued year where he came off the bench for half of it. He also avoided saying goodbye to $7.5 million. This time around he started at power forward and got to shoot and knock down a lot of threes. This earned him the "Stretch Four" badge that I think means he can now evolve into Magikarp. (I don't know anything about your Pokemans. I'm meeting you halfway here, nerds.) Marvin will have to take a less hefty contract as no one is going to be paying him close to $8 million a year. (Well, if he was one inch taller maybe?) I like Marvin a lot, and like the RJ issue, it wasn't him, it was his role with the team. As a bench player I think he offers a team (or ours) much more flexibility because he can then be subbed in as a post up SF who can bully smaller guys, or a stretch PF -- and have that flexibility translate into in-game adjustments to take advantage of the other five guys on the floor. Starting him at PF shows your hand, and gives the green light to abuse him. Yes, the Jazz won more games with him starting -- but a) look at the teams we played during that stretch, and b) look at the players who were injured for the other team. Marvin wasn't the magic that made our team better than it was. I like him, and would want him back. But sources have told me that he may be moving on from his 801 years.
- Brandon Rush (SG/SF) -- Rush never seemed to be with the Utah Jazz. He rehabbed in the clubs in California all summer, then joined the team in a non-press conference. He was injured and when healthy he didn't play. He did not appear to be part of our community, or even in Tyrone Corbin 's rotation. (Was he not vet enough?) Shortly after the Jazz season ended he was back in the Bay Area hanging out with the Warriors during their playoff run. Years from now he will forget that he even spent a season here. The Jazz are losing one of the most enigmatic players in franchise history with Rush's departure.
- Mike Harris (SF/PF) -- Remember that good game he had against Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder? Re-watch that game if you have access to it. Harris made it though training camp but was released shortly after the team got healthy. I don't see him being a big loss though.
- Jamaal Tinsley (PG) -- I wouldn't say no to him returning. Just not playing. Ever. Again.
Overall the Jazz aren't losing a lot, they are just shedding a lot of salary. This is flexibility that can be used to take ON salary in bad deals. The losses of RJ and Marv leave a big hole at wing that needs to be filled almost immediately. In terms of using any of these guys for a trade to move up in June 26th NBA Draft, well, it can't happen. That said, they are all available for sign and trades on July 1st, except for Harris and Tinsley who were released during the season. Convention suggests that these guys are all gone though, and that we can't count on them being on the team next year. Fly little birdies, fly!