Friday, July 31, 2009

Zach Randolph > Carlos Boozer

The Entertainment and Sports Programming Network is reporting that the Jazz and Grizzlies talked about trading Boozer, but the Grizzlies backed away in favor of acquiring Zach Randolph. You read that correctly. The Grizzlies valued Z-Bo (who's contract is much, much worse than Boozer's) over Carlos.

OK, one more time: the Memphis Grizzlies chose to acquire the most clutch, heady, and gifted strip club connoisseur in NBA history.

If the Jazz were trying to gauge Boozer's market value, they now know that it's less than a guy who:

  • Was busted for Driving Under the Influence. Twice.
  • Was suspended for punching a teammate (who is a convicted sex offender) in the face.
  • Went to a strip club while on "bereavement leave" from his NBA team.

If it's any consolation to Booze, whose ego has undoubtedly taken a hit from this latest revelation, it's that the team that values him so little is also the team that traded Pau Gasol for Kwame Brown.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Tweet Life

Fes speaks! And it's through the new age mechanism known as Twitter. While I haven't quite taken to the world of Twitter, I've discovered that many others have. And the reason being is because of posts like this...

"mother just hit me with cooking pan. we hud the yelling. said I will merry Amurikan girl, not ukraine. did not know teweting so expaneishve"

Classic. This is just a preview of the world-wide communications of Kyrylo Fesenko. I'll be waiting in full antipication for his next tweet. Keep 'em coming big fella!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

How Do We Stack Up?

With the summer winding down and the top teams essentially done dealing in free agency (except for the Lakers and Lamar, and perhaps the Nuggets with Kleiza), we can now take a look into the Western Conference race for next season.
I expect Carlos Boozer will be on the team for the duration of the season (even though I’d wish to get rid of the guy). If the Jazz don’t want to trade Boozer unless they have the ability to improve the team by way of “said” trade (this is what KOC keeps on saying…), then Boozer won’t be dealt. No team is silly enough to give away a top talent for Boozer’s services. Thusly, I will rank the teams with the Jazz as currently constituted.
1. LA Lakers: With or without Lamar, the Lakers will be deadly. Artest will give them more toughness. They’re still the deepest team in the NBA with quality talent. Gasol, Bynum, Artest and Kobe will get this team through the West as the top seed. Odom puts them over the top.
2. San Antonio Spurs: They’re back… What a summer for the Spurs! It’s just not fair when a team reloads like that to put themselves within contention. Jefferson makes a huge difference and McDyess provides the Spurs with some inside depth. This is a scary team once again.
3. Dallas Mavericks: The Mavs have hit the road running. Kidd returns, and Marion gives them another option on the wing and on the break. Tim Thomas can shoot when healthy. Gooden is just alright. But the rest of the players are solid… Howard, Terry and don’t forget Dirk. They’ll have a terrific regular season.
4. Portland TrailBlazers: I believe Andre Miller will get this team moving on the fast track. He’ll make his young teammates better. Brandon Roy will elevate his game to the next level. And Oden & Aldridge can only improve from last season.
5. Denver Nuggets: This might be a long drop off from last season’s 2nd seed, however, I don’t think they’ve improved at all… while the other teams have gotten much better. We shall see…
6. New Orleans Hornets: What can I say?... Okafor is better than Chandler. That’s an upgrade in my mind. Okafor with West will be tough up front. Diogu provides depth. The rest of the team stays intact. CP3 is still pretty good.
7. Utah Jazz: I recognize that we had injuries last season, and the hope will be that we can overcome them… However, I wasn’t too impressed with our showing in the playoffs against LA when we were healthy. Boozer will be looking for #1. Millsap doesn’t want to be his backup. And we’ll need strong improvement from the wings (Brewer & Miles) since Harpring will be gone, and AK47 can’t be counted on. I really like Okur and our superstar, DWill. Maybe Kosta can give us something. We’ll be slotted anywhere from #5 to #8. Without Boozer, we’ll be in the lottery (woof!).
8. LA Clippers: I believe the Clippers will beat out the Suns for the last spot. Yep, Blake Griffin, Baron Davis, and the Clippers will get to the playoffs. I like their pieces… Gordon, Thornton, Camby, etc. The Suns will ride Amare’ as far as he can take them… which will be to the lottery again.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Harpring Done?

Matt Harpring has always dealt with bad knees, ankles, & feet. Throughout his career, it seems like he has always needed to have one operation after another. While we (as Jazz fans) have always appreciated Matt's toughness, passion and hardnosed-play, it looks as though his body may have reached a breaking point to where he can't suite up the sneakers anymore. That's what is being reported by Ross Siler and Steve Luhm from the Salt Lake Tribune. According to Harp, his career could be done because of his knee ailments.

"The [knee] cartilage isn't there any more -- it just isn't," he said. "When motion isn't there ... I mean, I would would love to have something to make it come back. But I don't."

"I've also had a couple of knee surgeries where the doctors said, 'You're done. There's no way you can play.' So the thought of post-career life has been on my mind, even though I've never had it happen. But, obviously, the reality now is it could be very soon."

Without Harpring, the Jazz may have to find a tough-nosed guy that can do the dirty work... defend, scrap, claw, battle for position, fight for rebounds, score off putbacks, dive for loose balls. There really isn't any other player on the Jazz that's willing to do those types of things (except for maybe Millsap). That's probably the reason why our team hasn't been super successful over the years. We need more scrappers!

In the NBA, there are only a few star players (Deron Williams being one of them)... and then there are the rest... the role players. Matt Harpring knew his role, and executed it. That's why he was so valuable to the Jazz. Too many players think they're the star... Perhaps Harpring can transition his role (and career) from Jazz super-sub to Wendy's super-star, drive-through operator? Cold "Frosty" treat coming right up!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Olympic Tryouts

Can someone explain why Kyle Korver was invited to try out for the U.S. Olympic team? Millsap probably won't make it, but given his numbers it's at least plausible he be invited. Brewer is a huge stretch, but at least he's an NBA starter. Korver though? Outside shooting is clearly important in the international game, but Coach K is digging pretty deep with that invitation.

Sidenote: how would you have liked to been a young lady at the recent Korver family reunion/wedding/brother and cousin get together in Iowa that is mentioned in the article? That's a lot of clean-cut, Midwestern hunk in one place!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Trade Machine Fun

I don't listen to rumors, I start them. Here are some possible trade scenarios involving the Guru's hero.

1. The "Screw the Luxury Tax, Let's Win" Trade:
We give up Boozer and CJ and get Battier and Hinrich in return.

Boozer has value around the league. Teams that want to compete next year and that need a scoring presence in the post (BULLS!BULLS!BULLS!), will give up assets to rent him for a year and obtain his Bird rights. The Bulls have made it clear that both Hinrich and Tyrus Thomas are available. However, they don't want to give Hinrich away because they'd be thin at guard. So, here's a proposal that would soothe all of the Bulls' fears and keep Tyrus Thomas' throat away from Jerry Sloan's vice-like grip.

Why it won't happen: I think the Bulls would jump at this: they get to test drive Boozer for a year, ditch Hinrich's long-term deal, and they get Miles as a cheap reserve. The Rockets would save about $7 million over the two years and get a shot blocker for the year Yao is out. So, who doesn't do this? Our Utah Jazz. The problem is this deal saves us zero dollars this year, and we commit to Hinrich and Battier long term. The Jazz are DESPERATE to cut some salary now, so this deal is highly unlikely. However, if the Jazz are likely to commit long term to anyone, it would be a white guy from the University of Kansas and a cerebral Dukie with below average athleticism.

2. The "Jazz fans get a pseudo-Boozer replacement and Greg Miller is 4 million dollars richer" Trade:
Example: The much talked about swap of Boozer for Udonis plus spare parts.

The Jazz save about $2 million in salary (plus the same amount in luxury tax) and they get a power forward that doesn't worship satan.

Why It Won't Happen: The Jazz aren't convinced that Udonis instead of Boozer is worth $4 million. I'll bet that changes by February.

3. The "Complete Salary Dump" Trade:
Example: We give up Boozer and get Dorrel Wright and Yakhouba Diawara.

This is the Jazz' preferred choice: give up an all-star for potential D-leaguers. It's all about the money right now. In such a scenario, we ship Boozer to a contender and a third team with cap space (Memphis, OKC, or Portland) takes a player from that contender for free.

Why it won't happen: The third team is the key in this scenario. Does Portland want anyone on Miami? Does Memphis? The most likely team is Portland, since they are the only team with cap space that has a shot at contention next year. The Jazz desperately want a deal like this. But the Blazers and Jazz aren't exactly buddy-buddy.

Please Get Rid Of Him

Can we please get rid of this guy already? Now, Boozer is spouting off to the Miami Herald stating that he'd love to play for the Heat. Does a contract mean anything these days? Isn't he STILL contracted with the Jazz? And didn't he OPT-IN to stay with the Jazz? I'm so sick of this guy. Seriously, shut-up!... until a trade actually happens. Apparently, this must be Boozer's (and his agent's) attempt to get dealt. He knows that he won't get an extension from the Jazz at next season's end. So... he'll just about do "anything" he desires to get himself traded. I don't want this guy on the team. He's a distraction. He's a lame duck. He's a money-grubber. We won't win a championship with Boozer on the team (we're not good enough) and we won't win a championship without Boozer on the team... so... let's trade him already! I don't care what value we get in return. Truthfully I doubt anyone will trade quality talent for this guy. No one really wants him. Let's do the Chicago or Miami trade right away. Get back some players that actually want to be here (along with future assets)... and be done with it. Please KOC & Mr. Greg Miller, Get rid of this guy!

Monday, July 20, 2009

The New Voice of the Utah Jazz

This afternoon it was announced that David Locke (a frequent reader of the The Cowhide Globe) was named as the new radio voice of the Utah Jazz. Locke replaces the legendary Hot Rod Hundley.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Jazz Will Match

The Deseret News is reporting that the Jazz will match the offer for Paul Millsap, and it'll be announced tomorrow (Friday). This news now sets in motion the great possibility that Carlos Boozer may be traded soon. This weekend, the Jazz will have to pay Millsap $10.3 million. Can you believe that? Quite the lump-sum pay day! believes that the Trail Blazers messed around with the Jazz in order to assist them through future trades. Will the Jazz still work with Portland, knowing how much they made us hurt over Millsap's contract? I guess it's just plain and simply considered an aggressive business move. And if Portland can help the Jazz with salary relief along with another acquisition/trade, then maybe all will be worthwhile and forgiven.

Will Udonis leave Florida?

Remember the blockbuster trade when the Jazz acquired Rony Seikaly from the Magic for Chris Morris and Greg Foster? No? Oh, right, Rony refused to come to the city of Utah and thus the trade was nixed.

Could history repeat itself? What if Udonis Haslem, who played for four years at the University of Florida and has spent his entire NBA career with Miami, refuses to come to Utah? If you think such unabashed Utah-hate and Florida-love can only happen once, I present the following evidence of Udonis' love for the sunshine state.

If We Lose the Booz

The Deseret News, citing an article from Yahoo! Sports (which I could not find), reported that Heat executives are "working furiously to deliver" a three-way deal that would send Carlos Boozer to Miami. In exchange, the Jazz would receive Udonis Haslem and Dorrell Wright. The third party would be the Memphis Grizzlies. Utah would move Wright's $2.8 million salary to Memphis, with Memphis getting a mixture cash and draft picks.

If this deal is legit, the mixture of cash and picks to Memphis should not include the Knicks' pick that the Jazz have. Why? With Boozer's exit imminent, Utah needs to replace his scoring more than anything.

Let's talk scoring options and strategy: Is Deron Williams now Utah's 1st option when it comes to putting the ball in the basket? If so, that is a dramatic departure from how the Jazz's offense has been run under Frank Layden and Jerry Sloan. Moreover, Williams as a 1st option also does not play to his strengths of running the offense and distributing the basketball. He was actually our leading scorer last year, but I think most would agree that a) this is attributed to the injury-riddle season; and b) the Jazz's 8th-place finish and quick first-round exit is not satisfactory.

Historically, the Jazz have had the most success with their 4 being scoring option #1. Does Paul Millsap become the 1st option just like Malone and Boozer were? If so, Jazz fans should not expect Millsap to produce similar point totals. Millsap does a lot of great things, but anyone who paid attention last season saw that his numbers went way down when teams recognized how Utah was using him and adjusted their defense accordingly. In particular, Millsap struggles when defended by someone with great length. And without another scoring option to draw this type of defender elsewhere, the Jazz will not be successful with Millsap being their 1st option on offense.

Maybe there will be no "1st Option". Maybe Okur, Brewer, Miles and/or Kirilenko pick up the slack. Before Joe Dumars destroyed the Pistons by trading for Allen Iverson, their version of this model was successful. Who was their first option? Billups? Sheed? Rip Hamilton? Tayshaun Prince? Its hard to say. Regardless, the Jazz will need to get points from somewhere, and the proposal mentioned above, like others we've seen, does not solve this problem by itself. Thus, keeping that draft pick and hoping for a terrible upcoming season from the Knicks may be the Jazz's best solution.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

When the time comes...

Perhaps I'm jumping the gun here.

Yes, Carlos Boozer is still officially a member of the Utah Jazz, but I can never remember a member of the Jazz being so uniformly disliked while still a member of the team. Legions of Jazz fans still curse (unfairly, I think) Derek Fisher's terminated contract and subsequent move to the Lakers. And Jazz fans delighted at the subsequent failures enjoyed by Howard Eisley and Shandon Anderson when they spurned the Jazz and bigger paychecks for more exotic home locales. But these players were beloved until they moved elsewhere.

There was John Amaechi who claimed he was disliked because of his sexual orientation, but in reality was disliked because of the multi-year vacation (contract) he took at the Jazz's expense. Perhaps the most comparable Jazzman, in terms of negative fan sentiment, is Greg Ostertag who was booed so intensly and frequently during the regular season that he had his family stop attending games. But Amaechi was a benchwarmer and Ostertag provided enough effort during the post-season and enough amusing quotes to the media that he was tolerated.

The most intense vitriol from Jazz fans is saved for arguably the most dislikable player in the NBA: Kobe Bryant. Obviously, Kobe is not a popular player in any NBA arena not named Staples Center, but there is a special hatred in the hearts of Jazz fans for the self-proclaimed "Black Mamba" (which is one of the dumbest nicknames ever, by the way).
Kobe's arrogance, his rape accusation/adultery and subsequent ring purchase, and the fact that he has, in the latter half of his career, had the Jazz's number more than any other player certainly provides sufficient fodder for this hatred, but the fact that Kobe hates Jazz fans as much as they hate him just throws gasoline on this malevolent fire.

What are you doing with your middle finger, Kobe?

But if/when Boozer gets traded and returns to the Tox Box, will there be a new threshold of disdain established? If history is any indication, Boozer will probably pull a Derrick Coleman and have a phantom injury when he returns to the House that Larry Built.

Regardless, let's stay classy, SLC.

Welcome Back Ronnie!

The Deseret News is reporting that the Jazz have resigned Ronnie Price for an undisclosed amount, at what is expected to be a one-year deal. I, for one, am happy with this signing because I think Ronnie is tough as nails . . . now if he only had a jumper.

Boozer Expects Trade

Well, the Booz has spoken. And because of it, you can expect Carlos Boozer to be on his way out very soon. The Deseret News is reporting that Boozer spoke recently with a Chicago radio station, proclaiming that the Jazz told him that they planned to trade him.
"Yeah I do. I had a talk with the Jazz. The Jazz told me they want to go in a different direction and I respect their decision. We mutually agreed to work out a trade that was beneficial for them and beneficial for my family and me. So with that being said, I'm gonna be traded relatively soon or in good time."
There you have it... "from the horses mouth." Now, we can expect the Jazz to match Millsap's offer (most likely) and assuredly get rid of Boozer. No one goes to the media like that, forcing the issue by talking trade and returns "content" to our team for the next season. He's as good as GONE! Now, we just have to wait for the deal. The suitors have been reported as being New York, Detroit, Chicago, Miami and Golden State, among others.
Of the teams listed, Miami probably makes the most sense. Marc Stein from is reporting a rumor regarding a possible trade to the Heat. It would send Boozer to Miami for Udonis Haslem (and his expiring contract) and one of James Jones, Dorrell Wright or Daequan Cook. The kicker would be a separate deal in which the Heat, possessing a $4.2 million trade exception, would trade a future 1st round draft pick to the Jazz for CJ Miles, providing a little salary relief in the process.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Kevin O'Connor's Folly

As the news of Paul Millsap's recent contract negotiations slowly leaks out, one thing is becoming clear: Kevin O'Connor screwed up. O'Connor is generally a smart GM and has put together decent, winning teams over the years. Most of hig big moves -- signing Boozer at a discounted rate, trading up for the pick to get Williams, etc. -- are the right ones. But this was a misstep.

O'Connor, like most Jazz fans, was surely overjoyed when Detroit and Oklahoma City dropped out of the running for Millsap's services. It was a bit of a lucky break, but it really only made up for the unlucky break we got when Boozer opted in for next year. There were still threats on the horizon, namely Portland. But Kevin got overconfident. Everyone in the NBA, even in this down economic year, knew roughly what Millsap's value was: $8-10 million over four years. If the Jazz brass had gone to Paul's representatives seven days ago with a $36 million contract, he would have signed. They've said as much.

Instead O'Connor lowballed them at $7.5 million a year and literally dared them to get a better offer sheet. Which they promptly did. Was Portland's decision a stupid one? Probably. But just like on the golf course when you have to assume your opponent is going to make his next putt even if he's fifty feet away, in the NBA you have to think that other teams are going to come after your top talent. Whining to the press afterwards about how dumb the Blazers are doesn't change the situation.

Now the Jazz are stuck between a tall dog and a fire hydrant. They've -- thank goodness -- told Boozer he's no longer welcome. But now they need to come up with $11 million in the next week to resign Millsap. Although no one in the mainstream media has speculated about this, you have to wonder if the Miller family even has that kind of liquidity. It ain't like car dealerships are a lucrative business right now, and the Jazz are out of season and not providing any cash flow. They may have to go to a bank. . . and let's just say credit is tight. Then there's the millions more in luxury tax we'll owe.

But to let Millsap walk at what is a pretty decent contract over time would be a real tragedy. Let's hope O'Connor doesn't follow a big mistake with an even bigger one.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Intrigue For The Unknown

As the draft guru, I'm always intrigued with the unknown hoops player. While I follow basketball religously, there are still players in the basketball world that I just don't know anything about.

Last year, I came away pleased with our draft-day choice of Kosta Koufos. I thought he was a solid draft choice. However, when I went to the Rocky Mountain Review to witness our Jazz rookie league team versus San Antonio, I was dumbfounded to see that the Spurs had pulled a draft-day steal (of sorts) which had left moose prints on the face of our summer-league Jazzmen. George Hill from the Spurs, a late-first round draft choice (after the Jazz had selected), had absolutely dominated the Jazz in the rookie league game. His performance was so impressive that it made me sick-to-my-stomach, thinking that... "the hated Spurs had once again one-upped" the lowly Jazz, and made our drafting department look silly. Hill was a little-known ball player from IUPUI and no one had really heard of him. I had certainly never seen him play before either. Yet, here he was... killing our Jazz! Hill, by the way, went on to have a decent, to non-descript rookie season for the Spurs. However, who really knows how good he'll become in the future?

Just today, David Thorpe from handed out a true nugget of Summer League information. He divulged the next unknown quantity that may have slipped past the Jazz in the draft. No, it wasn't DeJuan Blair... (even though he seems to be playing fairly well) and it wasn't his teammate from Pitt, Sam Young... it was Rodrigue Beaubois from France, scorching the nets and dropping jaws, to the point where Thorpe wrote after seeing both Beaubois and Hill play... " Beaubois has been the best pure pg I've seen this summer. Until George Hill." Ouch!... A couple of point guards we passed on.

Beaubois, a little known PG from France ripped off a line of 34 points, 8 assists and 5 rebounds while hitting 7 three-pointers. George Hill followed that game with a solid 25-point performance of his own. I know that it's summer league... and we shouldn't get too overhyped by the performances that take place here... But... 34 points... 7-three balls. Wow. That's pretty impressive!

On the Jazz summer league front, we probably had the worst constructed team ever (with Kosta breaking his finger and Fes not showing up), and yet, we still managed to win 3 games. Eric Maynor had a semi-forgettable rocky summer, with several 2-9 shooting performances. And Goran Suton was pretty much an after-thought. He went "0-fer"... from 3-point land during the competition in Orlando. His best game was an 8-point, 10 rebound outing.

The guy who'll be taking this franchise to the top... to the promised land, is non-other than summer surprise Josh Duncan. He somehow developed an uncanny knack for hitting shots and making plays within the structure of the offense. That's hard to do for most rookies (and young free agents). It may have been enough to earn himself an invite to fall camp. After which... he'll be taking this franchise to the brink of a championship. Right? Josh Duncan!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Millsap Offered Contract

The Portland Trail Blazers have swept in to give Paul Millsap a contract. The contract is assumed to be a 4-year deal worth between $32-36 million. It also has a signing bonus attached to it, making it difficult to match. Let the chips fall where they may!... Millsap could very well end up being a Portland Trailblazer next week, unless the Jazz deem the contract "match-able". The Jazz have 1 week to make their decision on whether to match the contract and keep Man-sap.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Extension Time

Give us another 2-years! Memo signs an extension for $20.8 million starting in 2010-11. I like it!

Boozer Blockbuster Discussed

The trade talks have begun to heat up, according to Chad Ford and Mark Stein of Now, there's been trade discussion happening between the Bulls, Blazers and Jazz in a three-way deal. Boozer would be sent to Chicago, Hinrich going to Portland and Tyrus Thomas landing in Utah. Certainly from the Jazz point of view, cap space from the Trail Blazers would be extracted to open up room to re-sign Paul Millsap.

Is Portland playing cat-and-mouse with the Jazz? Perhaps the Blazers are forcing a Millsap signing in order to force us to beg for salary cap space... (Portland knows they're in complete control of the spending market)... which would eventually tip the scale towards a Carlos Boozer blockbuster trade. Portland would then be the facilitator of such trade... providing us with salary relief. Exciting stuff! Millsap could be the dominoe that sends this deal into the works.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Here Comes Portland

Somebody will spend money on Millsap and it looks like the Trail Blazers want nothing more than to make us pay. According to the Oregon Live, " The Trail Blazers have settled on their next target: Utah power forward Paul Millsap." Because of their interest, it looks like the Jazz may have to ante-up, or wait for Portland's offer in order to match.
"The Blazers figure to exhaust nearly all of their cap space to lock up Millsap." It's an interesting move since Portland is already set at the power forward spot with LaMarcus Alridge in place. However, the article states that "Sources say Millsap has told the Blazers he would be amicable to playing behind LaMarcus Aldridge, the Blazers' returning power forward and one of the franchise's cornerstones." Go figure!
If this deal does come to fruition... I believe it'll be a "toxic" deal on the front end of the contract. I could see a starting year salary of $10-12 million with annual salary decreases. This would force the Jazz to make a move... either match and pay SERIOUS luxury tax dollars, or trade one of Boozer or AK47 right away. I believe the Jazz really want to keep Man-sap. As we look at other free agents over the free agent landscape (those with similar ability as Paul), Anderson Varejao just received a 6-year, $50 million deal, while Shawn Marion will receive a 5-year, $40 million contract. David Lee has yet to get a contract offer.
In other news, rumor has it that Boozer could be headed to Chicago. The deal would be for Tyrus Thomas and Jerome James. If we could somehow get a 1st round pick out of that deal, I'd probably do it. Apparently, Jerome James' contract will be paid by insurance (80%) if he doesn't play next year... which is most likely. Interesting. You'd hope we could get a better offer than TT & JJ for the Boozer.

More Summer League Notes

Eric Maynor continues to play well and is drawing comparisons to Stephon Marbury. Given our young rookie's penchant for clubbing (recent Tweet: "On the way to NC. . . . . had a great nite at Love. . . . ") one can only hope the similarities occur on the court and not off. Something tells me Jerry doesn't spend a lot of time at Love and doesn't want his players there either, especially if they're going to tell the world about it afterwards (note: the picture above is from. . . you guessed it -- Maynor's Facebook page, which is most definitely not set to private).

And for all of those East High/Utah/Utah State/Idaho Stampede fans out there, Lance Allred is trying to make the NBA again. He sounds done with both summer ball and the D-League though, so I fear the independent bookseller's circuit may eventually prove to be a better long-term career plan.

Your Utah Jazz: Not the Whitest Team in the NBA!

The current list costs us about $14 million a year: Korver, Harpring, Koufos. The historical list reads like a who's-who of Jazz fan favorites: Stockton, Tripucka, Hornacek, Eaton, Crotty, Keefe, Ostertag. But it looks like the Jazz finally have competition in the home-grown Caucausian department.

The Indy Star is questioning whether the Pacers (the team that stole Hansborough out from under us) is attempting to do the unthinkable: an NBA white-out with only American players.
In a league where little more than 10 percent of the players are white Americans, the Pacers roster is racially split down the middle, making them one of the whitest teams in the league.
Now, to be fair, if you don't discriminate white players by country of origin, the number of signed white players on each team is the same (6). So, Goran Suton's summer league will have a lot to say about who takes the title this year. From the look of things (I'd put Goran's chances of making the squad at around 50%), I think we may have a dead heat.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Jazz Summer League: a mere 31 point loss

Here are the highlights from last night's whooping at the hands of the Bill Walker-led Celtics. For your viewing pleasure they are narrated by Rod Zundel.

Summer league highlights always look like pickup highlights at the local YMCA, and the Jazz were without their "star," Kosta Koufos. But Maynor looked good, collecting nine points, 4 assists, and zero turnovers. David Thorpe (who loves just about everyone) calls Maynor "slight, but heady" and "a terrific backup for DWill."

The Jazz' second round pick, Goran Suton had four points, missing BOTH of his three-pointers. Does anyone else think that Suton (a 6"10',245 pound European who loves the perimeter) has all the makings of Sloan's new whipping boy?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Thunder Sitting Out Free Agency?

According to the Deseret News, via John Hollinger of, the Thunder will most likely sit out the free agent spending spree for this summer.

From Hollinger:
"My sources informed me that Oklahoma City — the team with the biggest stack of chips remaining — is highly unlikely to splurge this summer" and that "given that the best available young players (Millsap, New York's David Lee and Milwaukee's Ramon Sessions, all restricted free agents) are poor fits on the Thunder's roster, OKC plans to continue with its patient approach rather than overpaying for parts that don't fit especially well."

"The Thunder will be value players rather than big-game hunters, looking for opportunistic deals between now and the trade deadline. A year from now, they could have as much as $20 million in cap space, two lottery picks (theirs and Phoenix's) in a strong draft, and one of the league's best young rosters. About the only way to (mess) it up would be to force a big contract into the picture this summer, and with the team already selling out every game, they don't see any need to rush it."

All along I've wondered why the Thunder had interest in Paul Millsap (other than the fact that they currently have money to spend... and why not spend it?). This explanation better coincides with a "gameplan" for the future. Oklahoma City won't make the playoffs next season (with or without Millsap). There are bigger fish to acquire in 2010. Jeff Green plays the same position as Millsap. You need cap space in order to re-sign Durant, Green & Westbrook. And finally, the Thunder have 2 potential lottery picks in 2010 to continue loading up their roster (their own & Phoenix). Why go after Millsap? The good news for us might be that the asking price just went down considerably, with OKC out of the running. I don't think Portland (who has some salary cap) has interest. And Millsap really doesn't have any other suitors. His asking price may have dwindled to the mid-level exception... which is fantastic for us, because we'll easily match that.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Potential Off-season Trades

So apparently, the Jazz entertained discussions regarding a possible Tracy McGrady-AK47 trade. The Deseret News suggested that it was a distinct possibility, yet the Jazz decided to pull away… being frightened by the health woes of Tracy McGrady.

While I’m not a huge Tracy McGrady fan, and don’t believe he’d be a great fit for the Jazz… it’s quite clear to me that the Jazz must make a trade in order to re-structure the team or blow it up and start over. 1- Because Millsap will carry us deep into the luxury tax (if we decide to keep him). 2- Boozer seems like a rented-mule for another season, with the Jazz and its fans not willing or wanting to keep him around. 3- Every team in the West is upgrading their championship caliber teams. 4- Kirilenko’s contract is destroying our ability to keep our “wanted” players around. 5- We’re not good enough to win it as we're currently constituted (so why pay the luxury tax?), and we have to make a change.

I believe the Jazz should definitely make this trade. It would accomplish both of our goals… 1. Attempting an experiment to upgrade our team (healthy McGrady > AK47) in order to make one last run at a championship with this group of players. 2. If it doesn’t work, McGrady, along with the expiring contracts of Boozer, Memo and Korver, will push $50 million off of our payroll in 2010... allowing us to be a "player" in the free agent market for next summer. We’d essentially be starting over (which would be fine by me). This would allow Deron Williams the ability to recruit -and attract- the type of players that he'd ultimately desire to play with in the future.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Millsap's Destination

From the looks of it, Millsap is down to two suitors: The Jazz and the Thunder. It's like CJ Miles 2.0, except this time the winner gets a good basketball player. The other teams with cap money this summer are looking elsewhere for big men: Detroit (Villanueva), Portland (Turkoglu), and Memphis (Z. Bo). Atlanta is still a possibility, but with Al Horford cemented as their power forward, Millsap seems a poor fit in the Dirty South.

Oklahoma City on the other hand has money to burn. The team has a great salary structure right now. They have no bad salaries (worst is Collison's deal with two years left at 6.5). They have a bunch of talented youngsters who are still on their rookie deal. They are in a good spot. But, in a year or two they are going to have to pony up max money for Kevin Durant, and good money for Jeff Green and Russell Westbrook. Add those four to Millsap's expected deal (just south of 10 mil/yr) and you are probably paying around $60 million for 4 players. That's the same pickle that the Jazz are in.

The other tricky issue for the Thunder is where does Millsap fit on the team. Right now, the Thunder play Jeff Green at the four. Green is a slasher who is slightly undersized for a power forward. Are they thinking of playing Durant at the 2 and moving Green to the 3? Positionally I'm not sure that Milsap is the ideal fit.

But the Thunder couldn't give a damn about what I think. And the way their salaries are structured (cheap now, will be expensive later) is the exact opposite of the Jazz' structure (overloaded now, relief comes next year). If the Thunder offer Millsap a deal that is heavily front-loaded, the Jazz may blink. On the other hand, the Jazz can offer Millsap a deal that is cheaper up front and gets larger next year.

So, it all may depend on where Millsap would prefer to be. He can control his destiny, to a great degree. If he wants to be on the plains, he can sign a front-loaded deal that the Jazz probably can't stomach. If he wants to be in the mountains, he can just sign with the Jazz.

Jazz Summer League

Eric Maynor has signed his rookie contract with the Jazz, paying him $1.3 million for his first NBA season. He’ll join several others on the Utah Jazz Summer League team which starts next week in Orlando, Florida. Of those who’ll join Maynor from the Jazz in Summer League are Kosta Koufos and Goran Suton. Kyrylo Fesenko won’t make the trip to Florida because he’ll be choosing to participate instead with the Ukrainian national team in Europe. Morris Almond, former Jazzman, will play for the New York Knicks in Summer League.

Those players who’ll be playing for the Jazz this summer are:

James Augustine, Cedric Bozeman, Justin Reed, Gary Wilkinson, Kevin Kruger, Andre Ingram, Kevin Lyde, Jim Baron, Josh Duncan, Wes Matthews, Reyshawn Terry, Larry Turner and Derrick Brown (from the Bobcats).

Augustine, Reed and Bozeman are interesting players because they’ve had small stints playing in the NBA. Augustine played for a couple years with Orlando, and now plays overseas for Gran Canaria in Spain. Reed played for Boston and Minnesota for a few years after falling to the D-League. Lastly, Bozeman played briefly for Atlanta, and now plays as a D-League Superstar, posting Magic-like stats. Go D-League Star!

Wilkinson is local (Bingham Miner & Utah State Aggie), and everybody knows about Kevin Kruger (former UNLV point guard, played for Utah Flash). Josh Duncan and Reyshawn Terry are pretty talented players, while Kevin Lyde is the perennial Jazz Summer League stat-stuffer. Of the rookies who might actually have an shot at making the team… Watch for 6-5 guard, Wes Matthews from Marquette. He could have a chance to impress, after a solid senior year (18 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 47% FG). His Pops once played as a back-up for the Showtime Lakers.

After doing a little research, I can see why the Jazz decided to draft Goran Suton in the 2nd Round. Suton absolutely flourished (and at times, dominated) during the NCAA tournament. He was the primary reason for Michigan State’s run to the championship game… doing it against some impressive competition along the way. Against Robert Morris, Suton scored 11 pts and collected 17 rebounds. He shut down Taj Gibson from USC in game 2 (3 pts, 0 rbs), while scoring 7 pts and 10 boards. He then had his best performance of all against Cole Aldrich of Kansas (20 pts, 9 rbs, & 5 steals). Michigan State advanced, and then beat #1 seeded Louisville behind Suton’s extraordinary game of 19 pts, 10 boards and 4 assists. Against UConn in the Final Four, Suton wasn’t quite the same spectacle, but he came back to post a solid game versus UNC in the championship game… matching Psycho-T stride for stride with 17 points, 11 rebounds and 2 blocks. Sparty got blasted… but Suton was very impressive. So, in this light, I can see why we drafted him. Let’s hope that he can continue his fabulous tournament play into Jazz Summer League, and eventually make the team.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Mr. Millsap

Paul Millsap. . . Jazz Nation turns its lonely eyes to you.

It is true that our ability to retain our best power forward took a big hit yesterday. However, it may be that all is not lost quite yet. If one believes the rumors printed in the Deseret News -- and I always do -- the new master plan is apparently to move Boozer as quickly as possible and try to sign Millsap for $10 million/year or less. This plan makes a ton of sense, since Millsap actually plays hard and is worth having on the team long-term, whereas Boozer doesn't/isn't.

The main problem is reality, and specifically salary cap reality. No matter what happens it looks like the Jazz are going to be in luxury tax land next year; it's now just a matter of how deep they go. If Greg Miller is anything like his old man, he's not going to want to wade out of the shallow end of that pool.

One thought: if the Jazz could move Boozer quickly for another (25% lower) expiring contract, they could give themselves a little bit of breathing room to resign Paul. They would still be over the cap this year, but would be in good shape next year in terms of players and contracts and could potentially work something out with Okur. As others have pointed out on TCG, Boozer at $12 million in a contract year is not a terrible thing, so other teams will probably be receptive.

One question: is it possible to structure a prorated contract with Millsap that is still $50 million over five years but doesn't kick in hard until next season? I.e. $3 million this year and then close to $12 million the next four?

One BIG problem: A lot of other teams are talking to Millsap already. No doubt he will get a qualifiying offer sheet from Oklahoma City or Detriot shortly, which will tie our hands even more. On the bright side, Millsap's uncle is representing him so anything is possible. Players without real agents (like John Stockton, represented by himself, or Ricky Davis, represented by Master P) tend not to do so well in the free agency process.

Jazz Tats: Millsap Goes for Subtle

Editor's Note: This is the fourth in a series of internet investigative reports on the meaning behind the living artwork that is the Utah Jazz.

Seeing as how our days with Mr. Millsap may be numbered, I thought I'd chronicle his body art, even if his work isn't quite as magnificent as Boozer's.

Millsap has a measly two tats. But, as we know, he's young and unlike other tatted Jazzmen, isn't flush with cash with which he doesn't know what to do. The new collective bargaining agreement requires that all rookies get a tattoo with either (1) their initials, (2) Christ or other Christian imagery, (3) a basketball, or (4) the name of their mom/wife/girlfriend/child/agent. Millsap has #1 and #2 covered. Next year, when he's a rich man, I'll bet he gets a tattoo of a flaming basketball that says "Louisiana Made," and a giant Fred Flintstone with a stake through his heart just to spite Ostertag and the Jazz. Now, to the art:

1. Initials: Millsap went tame with his initial work. On his triceps he has, in old gothic font, a gigantic letter. First a P, then an M. You can only tell what they are when you see him from behind and he has his arms down. You can kind of make them out in the picture above, but you kind of need to take my word for it.

I don't think basketball players should get tattoos on their triceps(ala Deron's NO GUTS, NO GLORY). If/when I'm in the NBA, I'm getting tattoos on the back of my biceps that say "SWISH" or "THREE POINT SHOT", but that are upside down so only a defender that just got scored on can read them. That will be awesome.

2. Hands praying to heaven. Not too original. The hands praying to heaven is so cliche. Brewer has it. So does Jamal Crawford. Ditto LaMarcus Aldridge. If you're going to get the hands-praying tat, at least be original like Stephen Jackson and add something clever like a firearm. Like Millsap's other tattoo, this one is really hard to see. Oh well. When he's rich he can get some tats with color.
Notice that he didn't have any tattoos in college, which furthers my belief that some tattoo studio in Salt Lake is inking up our Jazzmen. Some Salt Lake tattoo artist is about to lose a lot of future business.
Jazz Tats Update: In my Ronnie Brewer tat post, I didn't mention his sick leg tattoo. Nothing says classy like a leg tattoo. Anyway, it is apparently a basketball player, but I can't make out the words. I provide an image here for your enjoyment and speculation.