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Utah Jazz Free Agency 2015 Primer: There are gaps, and money, but many more questions after that

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It's early, but some have asked for it

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The Utah Jazz are having an overall productive season in my books. The team is playing better on the road and on defense. Younger players are taking that next step from: bench player to rotation player, from rotation player to reliable player, from reliable player to starter, and from starter to star. The coaching staff has the ear of the kids and they are learning. And the front office and coaches are on the same page for once. And the team is winning more than last year.

That said, this isn't a perfect roster, and injuries have made that obvious. The inside is approaching log-jam territory with Derrick Favors, Rudy Gobert, Enes Kanter, Trevor Booker, and Jeremy Evans all needing minutes. (Of course, none of them can play small forward) While the wing rotation is more like a wing and a prayer rotation right now.

Utah Jazz upcoming free agency:

The biggest name in Utah Jazz land right now has to be Enes Kanter. The inside/outside scorer is in a contract year and clearly at the age of 22 has a lot of basketball left to play, and plenty to learn. (People keep forgetting in all the Rudy Gobert madness, that I am part of, is that they are only a few months apart in age.) (Also of note, Derrick Favors is only 23. Seriously.) The Jazz have more people to think about as well, from legit Unrestricted Free Agents (UFAs) to people they've already cut, waived, or said "Bye Felicia" to already.

Player Pos FA 2014-2015 2015-2016
1 Enes Kanter 4 5 RFA $5.70 $7.47 QA
2 Trevor Booker 4 NG $5.00 $4.78 NG
(Only $250k on books)
3 Jeremy Evans 4 UFA $1.80
4 Ian Clark 2 1 UFA $0.82 $1.15 QA
5 Joe Ingles 2 3 UFA $0.51 $1.05 QA
6 Elliot Williams 2 10 Day $0.05
7 Elijah Millsap 2 3 10 Day $0.03
8 Carrick Felix 2 3 UFA $0.82 On Books
9 Jordan Hamilton 3 UFA $0.03 On Books
10 Toure' Murry 2 1 UFA $0.42 On Books
11 Patrick Christopher 2 3 UFA $0.09 On Books
12 Kevin Murphy 2 3 UFA $0.07 On Books

Trevor Booker has a very interesting contract where only $250k is on the books for next season (as confirmed by NBA Cap Expert and all-around handsome man Peter J Novak, Esq, CEO, CLO, LLM, JD, BS, AS). I feel as though Dennis Lindsey and crew are really going to have to factor that in for their off-season plan for sure.

Cap Space:

If you renounce everything, say goodbye to all the RFAs, and send Booker packing (but pay the $250k he gets) the Jazz will be paying their players $50.08 million next year, with $16.52 million to spread out between (up to) three draft picks, and free agents.

      Utah Jazz Projected Cap Space 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018

As the seasons go on the Jazz (may) have to pay more and more draft picks than normal, but of the legion there are only five fist rounders in the next four seasons. Though, our front office has not shown any hesitation to move parts on draft night. (Keeping the people at this blog busy) But for right now the Jazz have over $16 million to play with, not including any bi-annual or whatever deals. (We're under the cap, so don't expect mid-level anything.)

So who do you think we can get?

Which Free Agents are going to be available / whom everyone is talking about?

This is the "big list" of some of the larger names on the board this upcoming free agency period.

2015 2016 2015 2016
Player Tm Pos FA Sal Max Player Tm Pos FA Sal Max
1 Jeremy Lin HOU 1 2 UFA $14.9 $15.8 1 Reggie Jackson OKC 1 2 RFA $2.4 $15.8
2 Rajon Rondo DAL 1 UFA $12.9 $22.1 2 Patrick Beverly HOU 1 RFA $0.9 $15.8
3 Brandon Knight MIL 1 UFA $3.5 $15.8 3 Kawhi Leonard SAS 2 3 RFA $3.0 $15.8
4 Nate Robinson DEN 1 2 UFA $2.1 $22.1 4 Jimmy Butler CHI 2 3 RFA $2.1 $15.8
5 Cory Joseph SAS 1 2 UFA $2.0 $15.8 5 Enes Kanter UTA 4 5 RFA $6.0 $15.8
6 Tristan Thompson CLE 4 RFA $5.4 $15.8
6 Wesley Matthews POR 2 3 UFA $7.2 $18.9 7 Draymond Green GSW 4 3 RFA $0.9 $15.8
7 Gerald Green PHX 2 3 UFA $3.5 $18.9
8 Marco Belinelli SAS 2 3 UFA $2.8 $18.9 1 Goran Dragic PHX 1 2 PO $7.5 $18.9
9 Danny Green SAS 3 2 UFA $4.0 $18.9 2 Eric Gordon NOP 2 1 PO $14.8 $18.9
10 DeMarre Carroll ATL 3 UFA $2.4 $18.9 3 Monta Ellis DAL 2 1 PO $8.7 $22.1
4 Arron Afflalo DEN 2 3 PO $7.5 $18.9
11 LaMarcus Aldridge POR 4 5 UFA $15.2 $18.9 5 LeBron James CLE 3 2 PO $20.6 $22.1
12 Paul Millsap ATL 4 3 UFA $9.5 $22.1
13 Greg Monroe DET 4 5 UFA $5.3 $15.8 6 Kevin Love CLE 4 PO $15.7 $18.9
14 Brandan Wright PHX 4 3 UFA $5.0 $18.9 7 Jeff Green BOS 4 3 PO $9.2 $18.9
15 Mirza Teletovic BKN 4 3 UFA $3.3 $15.8 8 Thaddeus Young MIN 4 3 PO $9.1 $18.9
9 Brook Lopez BKN 5 PO $15.7 $18.9
16 Marc Gasol MEM 5 UFA $15.8 $18.9 10 Roy Hibbert IND 5 PO $14.9 $18.9
17 Omer Asik NOP 5 UFA $14.8 $15.8
18 Tyson Chandler DAL 5 UFA $14.5 $22.1 1 Wilson Chandler DEN 3 TO $6.7 $18.9
19 DeAndre Jordan LAC 5 UFA $11.4 $18.9 2 Jamal Crawford LAC 2 TO $5.4 $22.1
20 Robin Lopez POR 5 UFA $5.2 $18.9 3 Timofey Mozgov CLE 5 TO $4.6 $15.8

Players and salary data taken from this post by MMiranda over at Posting And Toasting.

I've grouped this by position, and by free agency type. Just because guys like Dragic or LeBron have player's options to be free agents doesn't mean that they will be looking to take their talents to Salt Lake.

UFA Point Guards:

I feel that the collective group of Trey Burke, Dante Exum, and Raul Neto will be better in 3 seasons than any of the individual headliners at point guard. So I do not think we should be targeting any of them. I do like Cory, but then again, I am Canadian.

UFA Wings::

Wow, I think many would be happy if we could bring back one of the two former Jazz players here. Wesley Matthews is going to get paid though. But his skill set is precisely what this team is looking for.

UFA Bigs:

I think the Jazz are set at center, but it would be great to get Paul Millsap back on the team. (That, of course, means one of Favors of Gobert goes back to the bench.) The Jazz can't pay him the Max ($22+ million), and I don't know if Sap wants to go back to the West where he'll probably not be an All-Star, have a harder time in the playoffs, and is no longer playing for one of the best teams in the East. Plus, Atlanta is warm and close to his homeland. Sap would look great here, especially being reunited with Quin Snyder, but I don't see it happening.

RFA Grab-Bag:

Everyone is going to throw money at Draymond Green, and he's most likely not going to go to a crowded front court like Utah. Butler will get the max because people are dumb. Kawhi has earned the max but will sign for less. Clearly Enes Kanter is a possibility. A big with overt offensive skills will always be overpaid, ask his mentor Al Jefferson about that. Do you want to overpay for Kanter? $10+ I could stomach, especially with the cap going up in the future (some people say even $90 million in a season). I know the Jazz will ask him to find a price and we will then argue about matching it.

Player's / Team Options:

You can't bank on someone to say no to guaranteed money. So I wouldn't even bother with this group.

So Paul and Wesley, and we're totally not living in the past or anything . . .

I think the Jazz can improve their roster, and will have the space to do so. But a larger part of me wants to see what these young guys can do. They are building on court and off the court chemistry, and I think by drafting a (then) 18 year old you automatically bring your clock back to 0:00 in terms of being a contender. We're not really in year 4 of development, how can you honestly say that when only 1/4th of the C4 even got minutes?

Free agency can quickly change the face of your franchise, the Miami Heat are proof of that. I really feel like the Jazz have drafted well and need to develop those guys. Free Agency can help fill in the gaps, but let's not clip the wings of our youth right now, before we know how many gaps they can fill themselves.

Thank you to BasketballInsiders.com for the Utah Jazz Salary information. Thank you to RealGM.com for the Utah Jazz future draft picks information. Thank you to RealGM.com for the NBA Salary Cap History. And thank you to Grandland's Zach Lowe for the estimated future Salary Cap Projections. My projections are simply the original non-smooth transition to $66.50 Million for next season, and then a flat $80.00 Million for the remaining years. That's obviously not going to be the case, but it's a conservative estimate. When we get more accurate information we will pass it along, but right now this under-estimates the capspace the Utah Jazz will have going forward.

And Peter The Great is Great!