Off-Season Decisions for the Utah Jazz – Part 4 of 4

June 29th, 2011 | by Nick Smith

Editors note: This is the final segment in a four part series. Check out Nick’s other posts on Utah’s offseason decisions (Part 1Part 2Part 3) and let us know what you think the Jazz should do this offseason. – JL

Mehmet Okur – 6’11 C

Associated Press

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

Harry How/Getty Images

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

Getty Images

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

Tom Smart/Deseret News

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.

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10 Comments

  1. Bloodshy says:

    Regardless of Millsap’s willingness to fill the needed role, the Jazz are overloaded with bigs and they need to trade him (or Al). If the Jazz want to develop their future (Favors, Kanter) they need to give them court time. Paul & Al combined require too many minutes to allow that to happen. As a result, one of them needs to go. Both have a lot of trade value right now so the Jazz should really try to move on this. Memo/Fez should both be kept as injury insurance/limited assets.

    My fantasy land preference would be for Paul to move to the 3, have Hayward play the 2 and develop Burks as the future 1. I think each of the players has the potential to make the move mentioned. However, it’s unlikely to happen (especially Paul moving to 3).

    That brings us back to the issue: Paul or Al need to be traded regardless of their willingness to play team ball.

  2. CJ in Brooklyn says:

    Burks as the future 1? I like it.

    • Dallas says:

      burks cant play as point guard, too selfish with the ball, only a scorer, hes only a 2-guard cant run plays not a good team leader, i do respect him though.

    • Dallas says:

      i also forgot to mention that lebron traveled….. sorry

  3. JG in OB says:

    Millsap, Jefferson, Favors, Kanter, and Okur is not necessarily overloaded. Millsap as a 6 man able to take the 3 and 4 is a great thing, and him starting at the 3 might not be a bad experiment as let’s face it he isn’t the biggest big. Okur should be a good mentor for Kanter, but we really don’t know what his health will be. Further, we don’t know where Kanter or Burks will be in there development whenever the next season happens to start. There should be no expectation of minutes other than what they show they are ready for, which is unknown at this point. If ever there does become a question of too much talent for too few minutes that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s more like too much money in the bank.

    If Kanter isn’t ready to contribute (doubtful) and Okur isn’t healthy (questionable) we are down to 3 bigs. In light of all that I wouldn’t mind them re-signing AK, and/or Fes or Elson or acquiring someone else for a touch more depth and insurance. We’re a young, developing team with an establishing coach that I think has a good shot to be competitive. Thus too much depth may be far less of an issue than too little. One thing we don’t have to worry about is the likes of Denver and OKC not having enough talented depth so we might as well join the club. However, I am not opposed to any of the several options the Jazz have positioned themselves to have so long as they keep us deep and versatile. In fact were it not for the whole lockout thing I’d be excited to see what kind of surprises they have in store.

  4. Johnny says:

    1. AK? Bye-bye. Too inconsistent, too expensive, too injury-prone.

    2. Move Millsap to the starting 3. Have you seen his sweet stroke from the perimeter? Why doesn’t he use it more? Much better shot that AK. Such a shame. DO NOT get rid of MIllsap. He is versatile and can contribute in a number of ways.

    3. Burks at the 1? No way. He’s 6-6 and a slashing scorer (think Kobe or D-Wade), not a passer/play maker. Would make a horrible PG. He needs to be the starting 2.

    4. My proposed depth chart given the current roster:
    1- Harris, Watson, Price (it works; why mess with it?)
    2- Hayward, Burks, Bell (once Burks gets some experience & proves himself, look to swap him with Hayward in the starting role)
    3- MIllsap, Miles, Evans
    4- Jefferson, Favors, sometimes Millsap depending on rotation
    5- Kanter, Okur, Elson
    Assumes Ak and Fes are not picked up.

    Anyway, my two cents. I still think we have some weaknesses, but it’s not bad.

  5. Jon L. says:

    I would like to see Millsap and Okur back in the fold next year.

  6. Mike says:

    AK for $17M / year is obscene. AK at $4-6M / year would be great. AK is one of the only players on the team who actually knows our offense (we saw last year what happens with players that don’t know the offense). When he’s healthy (a big qualifier) he does a lot for the team.

    There’s no reason to sign Elson (unless he’s an amazing locker room guy) or Fes (four years of unrealized potential is a pattern, it’s time to move on). I like Okur but his greatest value to the team is probably on the trade market. Losing a full year in the NBA is hard to recover from especially in your 30′s.

  7. Dallas says:

    i agree with you johnny, we need to get rid of ak he only scores like what? 11-14 ppg? no we need to get need of him using too much money on our paycheck, hes not worth the money.

    heres who we keep-
    1-harris, watson, price
    2- hayward, burks, cj can play 2 or 3
    3- millsap, evans will develop to be a good bench player and they might be able to use favors as a 3 or 4.
    Now big al and kanter can swith off with being center, one on the bench and one starting, also we should try big al as power forward, good mid range jump shot little like karl malone although he’ll never be as good as him.
    We always need to keep kanter as center its what he does best and he averages 16 rebounds per game.
    4- jefferson, favors
    5- kanter, jefferson, okur

    keep elson, bell, and some of our little rarely seen players as a few 10 minute per game guys,

  8. David says:

    AK has needed to get the hell out of Salt Lake for a long time and I pray they do. Sure his defense can be great but he cried because he wanted the ball more. Let me repeat the: HE CRIED! Holy… crying is one thing, and I won’t hate on that, but because he didn’t see the ball enough? Have you watched yourself drible lately, AK? Oh my hell.

    Just like Stock, the Mailman and many others there is time that everyone has to go no matter how good you are and I think AK wore out his welcome a while ago.

    Goodnight and Good Luck

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