Editors note: This is the final segment in a four part series. Check out Nick’s other posts on Utah’s offseason decisions (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) and let us know what you think the Jazz should do this offseason. – JL
Mehmet Okur – 6’11 C
Current Contract Situation. Mehmet Okur will be paid $10,890,000 next season, which is the last year on his current contract.
Future with the Jazz. Memo’s face in the picture above perfectly sums up his disastrous 2010/2011 season. Okur appeared in just 13 games and played only 168 minutes for the Jazz last season. Memo is a competitor. We often forget that Okur injured his Achilles while trying to play through injury back in Utah’s last first round playoff series against Denver in early 2010. But at the age of 32, it’s not likely Memo will ever fully recover from one of the worst injuries in basketball. Luckily for Okur, his game has never required a great deal of athleticism. He has a decent back to the basket game, is great in pick and pop situations, and is lethal from downtown. Having a big that can stretch the defense has been a huge offensive luxury for the Jazz in years past and could be a real help to Jefferson and Favors if Memo does play again, but with a contract as pricy as Memo’s, that’s an expensive if. Nobody knows how the new CBA will change things, but expiring contracts such as Okur’s have always been attractive trade chips. Although it would make sense to move Okur, I anticipate the Jazz enduring through Okur’s contract the same way they endured through AK’s. I see Okur coming back and being a 12-18 minute a night guy that will average around 6 points and 4 rebounds a game while helping Utah improve their abysmal outside shooting.
Paul Millsap – 6’8 PF
Current Contract Situation. Paul Millsap has two years left on his contract as he will make $6,700,000 and 7,200,000 for the next two seasons.
Future with the Jazz. Where do I begin with the current Paul Millsap situation? I feel like I could write an entire article on this topic, oh wait, I already have. The Millsap predicament could be summed up as simply as if he will accept a bench role or not. If so, Millsap will continue on as a huge asset to this team as he provides both on and off the court leadership. If not, hopefully grass is greener on the other side for both Paul and the Jazz. After all, what’s the golden rule when it comes to investing? Buy low and sell high. Millsap’s stock has never been higher, and if he’s not open to being our 6th man, now might be the perfect time for the Jazz to cash in. As much as I hope Paul will continue his team-first attitude and stay with the Jazz as he could be one of the most valuable bench players in the league and the backbone of our roster, he’s been too territorial over those starting minutes to convince me that he’ll go for it. Getting equal value in return for Paul will be difficult as finding guys that have both the skills and the right attitude is tough to come by, but there’s no doubt he will be heavily shopped and may have even played his last game in a Jazz jersey.
CJ Miles – 6-6 SG
Current Contract Situation. CJ Miles is under contract for one more year next season for $3,700,000.
Future with the Jazz. Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, CJ’s shooting is schizophrenic, and so is his shooting. In 5 years in the league, CJ has yet to show that he can be a consistent contributor. Scoring 40 points in a game is very impressive, but if it’s followed by two weeks of shooting 3-13 from the field, the excitement of that great game quickly wears off. Although it seems like CJ has been in the league forever, he just turned 24 a few months ago, and if he is at all a late bloomer, he has the skill set to still become a very nice player. I hate giving up on a player with such a great body and shooting touch at the age of 24, and so should the Jazz, but I’ve heard from a source close to the team that the Jazz are ready to part ways with Miles. During last week’s draft, the Jazz were reported to be perhaps the most active team on the trade market and are really looking to improve their backcourt. Yes, Utah picked up CJ’s team option, but not because they are believers, rather because his affordable contract and upside would be a nice complement to Harris or Millsap in a deal to land a proven scorer. If Utah doesn’t end up moving Miles, it seems as though he has one year left to prove his worth.
Andrei Kirilenko – 6-9 SF
Current Contract Situation. Andrei Kirilenko is an unrestricted free agent after collecting $17,822,187 last season.
Future with the Jazz. Andrei’s future with the Jazz solely depends on what Kirilenko’s asking price is. Appraising the value of AK is difficult for some of the same reasons it’s difficult to value CJ. Would you rather have a guy that on a scale of 1 to 10 plays at an 8 level but only plays 60 games a season, or would you rather have a guy who plays on a 6 level but will give it to you every night? While CJ’s problems are with consistency and Andrei’s are with injury, the issue is still the same. When asked about what Andrei is looking for in a new contract, he specifically mentioned that money wasn’t an issue, stating the fact that he already has enough money, which I agree with. He cited living in a good community, playing for a successful organization, and getting playing time as requirements for a new deal. Utah checks out on all of these, but is Andrei really telling the truth? I have a hard time believing Kirilenko will sign a 4 year, $20 million dollar contract with the Jazz when New Jersey (and potentially other teams) could be offering him something in the $50 million dollar range. I wouldn’t mind seeing Andrei back with the Jazz, but only if the price is right. After all, isn’t the last six years of being perhaps the most overpaid player in the league enough to give the Jazz the home team discount for his next contract? As usual in free agency, however, I see somebody grossly over-bidding for Andrei, making the decision easy for him to move on.