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The Utah Jazz are back, baby!!

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The long offseason of discontent is over. Jazz basketball is finally here.

NBA: Playoffs-Houston Rockets at Utah Jazz Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

Today is media day! Amidst the interviews and the breaking news, we appreciate you checking out today’s Downbeat.

To start this off, the Utah Jazz Twitter page announced the team’s jersey-wearing schedule over the weekend.

Looking at the schedule more closely, it appears that 11 days are unaccounted for. Obviously, at least one of those days will feature the Christmas jersey. Here are those games:

Dec 25 vs Portland

Jan 16 at Los Angeles Clippers

Jan 23 vs Denver

Feb 2 vs Houston

Feb 27 vs Los Angeles Clippers

Mar 2 vs Milwaukee

Mar 8 at Memphis

Mar 16 vs Brooklyn

Mar 18 at Washington

Mar 21 at Atlanta

Apr 3 at Phoenix

David Locke has mentioned on his podcast that teams who made the playoffs last season get an extra jersey this season. Whether that comes in the form of the throwback jersey, the Christmas jersey, or another jersey yet to come, he did not know. He suggested we might see even another jersey this season. While it is certainly a possibility, I don’t feel it makes much sense to have another jersey on top of everything announced so far. From rumors I have seen through Twitter, it seems that the Christmas jersey will be green. If the design isn’t particularly seasonal, then it would be reasonable to wear the jersey for more than only one game. My prediction is that these 11 games will all see the Jazz donning the Christmas jerseys. The Jazz are saturated with awesome jerseys this year, and still have yet to reveal the Christmas threads. Do they really need another jersey on top of it all?

Donovan Mitchell made a showing with Royce O’Neale and Georges Niang at the Utah State University game last Saturday vs Air Force. Here are a few snapshots of that night.

Donovan has a way of turning an ordinary night into a special experience for the fans. He always seems to go out of his way to make other peoples’ days better. It was equally awesome for Royce and Georges to make a showing. It shows the brotherhood these guys have. We have a team of guys who aren’t just here to play basketball and collect a paycheck. They are becoming a real part of the community.

On a more serious note, this past Wednesday night, former jazzman Richard Jefferson’s father was shot in a drive-by shooting in Compton, Ohio. Complex.com reported:

Richard Jefferson Sr. was allegedly in front of a liquor store with two other men at around 6:52 p.m. when a dark-colored vehicle pulled up and opened fire. Jefferson Sr. was struck multiple times in the torso. He was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The L.A. County Sheriff’s Department is currently investigating the matter. It remains unclear if Jefferson Sr. was the intended target.

Our hearts go out to Richard Jefferson after this tragic loss. Losing a loved one is a difficult thing to go through, especially when it comes so unexpectedly out of the blue. I think I speak for all of Jazz Nation as I give our sincere condolences to the Jefferson family.

In case you missed it, the Minnesota Timberwolves have returned to their typical level of disfunction, with a dramatic weekend fueled by Jimmy Butler’s request to be traded from the team. A divide between management, coaching and ownership has appeared. Although Jimmy Butler requested a trade, Minnesota general manager Scott Layden has been refusing phone calls. Some seem to believe that Tom Thibodeau may be behind this movement to keep Butler anyway. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Minnesota owner Glen Taylor has ordered Scott Layden to not only accept inquiries on Jimmy Butler, but to actively reach out and make offers. Jimmy Butler’s three preferred trade destinations are the Los Angeles Clippers, the Brooklyn Nets, and the New York Nets. According to Bleacher Report, the Miami Heat have been hot in pursuit of Butler as the most aggressive out front. Sporting News rumors that the Toronto Raptors have shown some keen interest as well.

All of this drama stems from accusations of Jimmy Butler having slept with Karl-Anthony Towns’ girlfriend. Whether or not that accusation is true, locker room chemistry has been markedly tense between all-star Jimmy Butler and rising stars Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins for some time now. This negative energy seems to have peaked, resulting in Butler’s trade request and the ensuing management drama.

With Butler now available, of course we have to ask, would the Jazz be interested in a trade? The quick answer to that would be “no”. The long answer would consider the chemistry the Jazz currently have, as well as the cost of acquiring Butler. The Jazz probably do not have any assets they would be willing to give up for Butler, especially when there is a strong likelihood of Butler leaving in the upcoming 2019 free agency. Based on Jimmy Butler’s three preferred destinations, it doesn’t seem like he is all too worried about winning a championship any time soon, and would probably prefer a landing spot where his numbers will look good for the next contract, netting him some extra money in the following contract. At the very least, that is the mentality his actions are portraying. With all things considered, Jimmy Butler would be a perfect fit for the Jazz on the court, but off the court he may simply carry too much baggage and too high a price tag for it to be worth the rental.

As I mentioned before, today is Jazz media day. The drought is over. There will be Utah Jazz basketball to watch this week! While we saw the ups and downs of the NBA offseason, this has been one of the most enjoyable offseasons in recent history. Even considering that only a single new player was added to the Jazz roster, there has been plenty to discuss and get hyped about. It has been a fun one, now on to the season!