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.


Jazz Fan said...

I agree with you. As a Jazz Fan, im starting to get very, very frustrated. Im getting frustrated with the fron office of Utah. Im getting frustrated with this stupid Boozer situation. Im getting frustrated that the Jazz may loose not only 1 player (Boozer) but 2 players (Boozer, Millsap). Im trying not to point fingers at anyone, but during my frustration I continue to point (and shake for that matter) my finger @ Kevin O'Connor. I feel like he is not even paying attention to what is going on around the league, let alone his own team. I feel like he is just happy with not making any significatn moves. I am increasingly getting worried that, GULP, Deron Williams will be wanting to leave when his time is due-all becuase we cant manage our team successfully and efficently.
Maybe its time for the Jazz to make a swith in the front office. Maybe the Jazz need fresh blood to make some very tough decisions? In my opinion YES!!!!!!!!!!! Im tired of getting to the second round of the playoffs every year. Im tired of not making any moves to better our team in the offseason. Im tired of drafting players just becuase we have to. I think its safe to say, Im tired of Kevin O'Connor.

Pasty Gangsta said...

I'm not sure it's time to fire him, but I do think he messed this one up. If I'm Greg Miller I'm not happy with choice a) get completely nailed on the luxury tax and keep Millsap or choice b) lose Millsap.

You never know what went on behind the scenes though. . . maybe Miller pushed O'Connor to lowball the Millsaps against his better judgement.

Orlando said...

I agree that it's tough to know exactly what goes on. Kevin O'Conner is the face of Jazz decision making, but he has a boss who calls the shots.