When the Utah Jazz completed their last two signings, inking guards John Lucas III and Ian Clark, some thought that this finalized the roster. For all intents and purposes, this could be the case. My guess is that the Jazz have at least one more move up their sleeves, even if it is a minor one.
While they have the minimum 13 on roster, it would not be surprising to see them add one more player. Traditionally the team has tried to keep one roster vacancy for flexibility’s sake, but as we’ve discovered, Dennis Lindsey is helping enact a lot of changes in philosophies.
First, let’s take a look at the current roster:
PF: Derrick Favors, Jeremy Evans
SF: Gordon Hayward, Richard Jefferson, Marvin Williams
C: Enes Kanter, Rudy Gobert, Andris Biedrins
PG: Trey Burke, John Lucas III, Ian Clark
SG: Alec Burks, Brandon Rush
What kind of needs does the team have? Here are some, as I see it:
How could they go about addressing one of these possible needs?
Trade: According to ShamSports.com, the Jazz have $55.87 million in committed salaries (not including Jerel McNeal, who is not guaranteed until October 31). With the salary cap at $58.68 million, Utah has room to sign a nearly $3 million dollar pe ryear player. As they did with the Golden State trade, the Jazz could absorb a player from a team that wants to shed some salary, perhaps picking up another asset along the way. Teams like Miami, Chicago, or the Lakers may want to broker such a deal, thus helping defray a portion of their luxury tax bill. Doing so would give the Jazz short-term help, while adding another pick to Lindsey’s ever-growing stash. You also never know what guys might become available.
Retain McNeal: By all accounts, Utah likes the young guard a lot. He has been working out in Salt Lake City much of the off-season and was with the Jazz contingency at P3 last week. He could be the one who claims a final roster spot, giving Utah another ball-handler.
Free Agency: According to Real GM, the Jazz will be one of a few teams working out James Johnson. At 6’9″, 248 lbs, the 26-year old former draft pick could be a decent find as a back-up big. He has had his moments and has four years of experience. He may even have some upside to his game.
There are some other interesting names still out there: Ivan Johnson, Mickael Pietrus, Sam Young, Marquis Daniels, former Jazzman Lou Amundson, Damien Wilkins, Sebastian Telfair, A.J. Price, and Jamaal Tinsley, for instance. None of these guys will wow you, but for an end-of-the-bench guy, you don’t tend to expect a lot of wow.
Training Camp Battle: The Jazz will be very selective on who they invite to training camp. They may bring some guys in that they liked at the free agent camp or from summer league (two of the better players, Rasid Mahalbasic and Chris Roberts, have already earned contracts overseas) and let them duke it out for a roster spot.
It will be fun to see what the front office does to round out the roster. Some may feel it moot to be discussing a potential 14th man, but as we’ve seen in the past, that 14th man could turn out to be a Wesley Matthews, Bryon Russell, or David Benoit.