Utah Jazz Offseason a Major...?
August 31, 2009 -
Not quite sure how to finish that sentence. Success? Bust? Disappointment? Guess it all depends on your perspective. At this point, the only word I can really settle on is Bore.
So what happened to the most exciting summer in Jazz history? With eight free agents including four of the team’s key players (Boozer, Memo, Millsap, and Korver), we were guaranteed to see some major movement. The Jazz had everything you need to pull off a blockbuster: expiring contracts, all-star talent, young players with upside, and the highly coveted NY 2010 draft pick. All we fans had to do was grab some popcorn, pull up a chair, and watch the events unfold…
This summer has been like meeting a hot girl who flirts with you but then stands you up for the date.
Did you know the Jazz are the only team in the entire NBA who have not either added a new player to their roster (aside from their draft picks) or had another team sign away one of their free agents? In the meantime, the majority of contenders in the West have made at least one significant move to improve their team. Check out this list based on 2009 playoff seeds:
1. Lakers – Signed Ron Artest
2. Nuggets – A few minor deals, but no major changes
3. Spurs – Traded for Richard Jefferson; signed Antonio McDyess
4. Houston – Signed Tervor Ariza (but lost Artest to the Lakers and Yao to injury)
5. Portland – Signed Andre Miller
6. Dallas – Traded for Shawn Marion; signed Drew Gooden
7. Hornets – Traded for Emeka Okafor
8. Jazz – I heard they added a new towel boy for home games
Clearly five of the teams ahead of the Jazz in last season’s standings pulled off deals that make them stronger, at least on paper. You never know how it will translate on the court, but the West definitely looks tougher than ever.
Training camp doesn’t start for another month, so things could still change between now and then. I’m holding out hope that KOC has a few tricks up his sleeve, because it will be a major letdown to start the season with the same cast that barely made the playoffs last year. For now, the Jazz offseason remains an unanswered question.
Boozer Makes a Top-10 List
August 23, 2009 -
I had to laugh when I came across an article today on FOXSports.com by John Galisnsky highlighting the NBA's top-10 stat stuffers, which he defines as "players who put up big numbers but aren't as valuable as their stats suggest." Guess who was #7 on the list? I'll give you a hint: His last name rhymes with Loozer...
I couldn't disagree with anything Galinsky said about Boozer:
"Why have most Utah fans soured on Boozer despite his big numbers and two All-Star Game selections over the past five years? Because he hasn't been durable, missing 134 games in that span. Because he's a lousy team leader. Because of his matador defense. And most of all, because he's greedy. Boozer planned to opt out of the last year of his Jazz contract before he realized he wouldn't get more than $12.6 million elsewhere. Even now he's trying to force a trade, but the league-wide consensus is clear: He's not as good as he thinks he is. You can bet he won't be on Team USA in 2012."
It's a shame the national media caught on to Booz before the Jazz were able to trade him. He could still be an extremely valuable player in the right situation, but his recent antics (and articles like this) have really hurt his brand.
3-Team Trade Idea
August 7, 2009 -
Following up on my August 25th thought, I came up with a 3-team trade idea involving both New Jersey and Golden State. A fellow Jazz fan in the Bay Area tipped me off to the notion that GS has interest in Yi Jianlian based on the area's significant Asian population and the fact that Yi's game fits the Warrior's offense. With that in mind, here's my proposal:
Utah sends Boozer & CJ to New Jersey
Golden State sends Kalena Azubuike to New Jersey and Brandan Wright, Speedy Claxton, & Acie Law to Utah
New Jersey sends Courtney Lee to Utah and Yi Jianlian & Bobby Simmons to Golden State
Here's the breakdown for each team:
New Jersey - They get the low-post scorer and rebounder they desperately need. Boozer could actually be a great fit playing next to Brook Lopez and would likely sign an extension if the Nets wanted to keep him. NJ also gets Azubuike and CJ to replace Lee and Simmons at the wings. New lineup:
PG - Harris, Alston, Dooling
SG - Azubuike, Terrance Williams
SF - CJ, CDR, Hayes
PF - Boozer, Sean Williams
C - Lopez, Boone, Battie
Golden State - They give up two bench players and two expiring contracts in exchange for a 7-ft shooting PF they apparently covet, along with a tall, 3-pt shooting wing with a large expiring contract. Both players seem like they would fit well in GS. New lineup:
PG - Ellis, Curry
SG - Jackson, Morrow
SF - Maggette, Simmons, George
PF - Randolph, Yi
C - Biedrins, Turiaf
Utah - They dump Boozer and CJ in exchange for two young, talented players and cap relief. Lee and Wright both have great potential and should be immediate rotation players. The Jazz also take back $6M less in salary than they send out, resulting in a $12M combined luxury tax savings this season. They may also be able to save more by buying out Claxton and/or Law. New lineup:
PG - Deron, Price, Maynor
SG - Lee, Korver
SF - AK, Brewer
PF - Millsap, Wright
C - Memo, Koufos, Fess
I think this is a trade that actually benefits all three teams. If I had KOC's number, his phone would be ringing right now.
August 6, 2009 -
This is the next potential date of interest in the ongoing Boozer trade saga. It represents the point at which a handful of players moved in previous deals this summer are eliigible to be traded again. According to ESPN.com:
"If a team is over the cap and receives a player in a trade or claims a player off waivers, they cannot trade the player in combination with other players for two months. The player can be traded by himself."
Under this rule, the following players will be avaialbe to trade again after August 25th:
New Jersey: Courtney Lee, Tony Battie, Rafer Alston
Golden State: Speedy Claxton, Acie Law
Both NJ and GS have been mentioned previously in Boozer rumors, and they both have a combination of young talent and expiring contracts to offer. I wouldn't be a bit surprised to learn that KOC is waiting until the 25th to pull the trigger on a deal with one (or both) of these teams.