Monday, August 4, 2008

Who Do You Value Most?

The Jazz have a power forward problem. During the pre-Olympic friendly matchup between the USA and Russia, our very own AK47 played exclusively at power forward for the Russian Red.

Kirilenko impressed in his role at power forward. He roamed from baseline-to-baseline, utilized his quickness, agility and face-up game and ventured out to the high-post and top-of-the-key where he was able to show off his passing skills and playmaking ability.

After AK’s first-class outing, I realized during this contest (in spite of the fact that Kirilenko was the focal point of the Russian team) that AK plays better at power forward than small forward. A la Josh Smith of Atlanta and Lamar Odom of LA, Kirilenko belongs at power forward, where he’s able to set up camp closer to the rim and offer us his length, athleticism and ball-skills. If I’m not mistaken, Kirilenko played his best seasons with the Jazz in 2003-04 and 2004-05 while playing the power forward position. Unfortunately, the Jazz (as currently constituted) are loaded at PF, with Carlos Boozer (himself good enough to be a member of USA’s best) and Paul Millsap entrenched in the paint. Neither should we forget that Mehmet Okur masquerades as a center, when truthfully he plays a pseudo-role of post-up power forward and long distance sniper. What do the Jazz do with all of these power forwards?

In the summer of 2009, Boozer and Okur have the option to opt out of their contracts, if they desire. The Jazz are on tap to pay anywhere from $47 million to $62 million of salary (depending on who opts out) to their contracted players. If only Booz and Memo opt out (and not Korver), the Jazz would only have about $20 million to use for their signature (as well as the re-signing of Paul Millsap).

What is clear and obvious: We won’t have enough “cha-ching” to re-sign our players in ’09 if we don’t make a move soon. This potentiality then begs the question... Well, who do you value most?

The Jazz have few trade assets to move (Harp?) that would open up significant salary cap space for the Summer 2009 Re-signing Extravaganza. Kirilenko’s contract is certainly viewed as the albatross. Yet, if the Jazz wanted to move Kirilenko and score “said” salary cap space (to re-sign this triumvirate), AK would need to be moved for expiring ’09 contracts BEFORE next season’s trade deadline. Otherwise, if not traded then, Kirilenko’s contract would languish on the Jazz salary cap throughout the 2009-10 season. In simpler words…keeping Kirilenko equates to losing two others. Would the Jazz deal AK47 before the 2009 playoffs? At a time when his talents and abilities would be most appreciated and desired? If not…We would essentially be saying goodbye to possibly two of Carlos, Memo and Paul. Once again, I ask…which power forward do you value most?


Orlando said...

Every summer I fall in love all over again with Kirilenko. So my heart says ditch Boozer. But would a lineup of Okur, AK, Brewer, Deron and Korver strike fear in anyone? As much as Boozer disappoints with his defense, we would miss him terribly if he left.

Pasty Gangsta said...

The only reason I'm even slightly comfortable losing the Booze is that we have Paul waiting in the wings. Problem there is that he's just as undersized as the rest of the team. If we're going to run a lineup like that, we at least need a big body coming off the bench.

In closing, I would like to congratulate the Guru on using both "length" and "ball skills" in a single descriptive sentence about AK.