In case you haven’t listened to the David Locke one-on-one interviews with the players and Dennis Lindsey on Media Day, here they are:
The saga of Raja Bell’s inauspicious second stint with the Jazz continues, but it won’t continue with him around the rest of the team. The Jazz partially answered one of the strangest questions of the off-season: What to do with the charred remains of the bridges burned by Bell last season?
The team released the following statement Friday afternoon:
SALT LAKE CITY (September 28, 2012) – Utah Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey issued the following statement today regarding guard Raja Bell:
“I have spoken with Raja and his representative, Herb Rudoy, and we have mutually agreed that although Raja remains under contract, it is in the best interest of all parties that he not re-join the team next week when the Jazz begins training camp. We will now move forward focusing on Jazz basketball and our preparation for the upcoming season. We will have no further comment on this matter.”
The only way this scenario of makes sense is if the Jazz have a good idea of who will occupy roster spots next season and they can bide their time long enough to completely freeze out any opportunities Bell might otherwise have to join another team anytime soon.
Besides making his feelings unmistakably clear on his way out of locker clean out at the end of last season, Bell has made statements at stops all around the league listing all the top teams as potential destinations for his specific set of skills.
Interestingly, his pitch to the league has changed quite a bit since his bold exit. While he clearly considered himself an elite player in the league (and seemed to think the feeling was mutual), his statements to a radio station in Miami showed he was willing to market himself as simply an experienced veteran willing to fit in in a limited role. But with a contender, of course.
The two-time member of NBA All-Defensive teams said he appreciates any role would be limited.
“At my age and what I’ve got in my tank, I feel like a limited role is best,” he said. “I don’t really like playing 35 minutes a night anymore.”
Shane Battier currently stands as the Heat’s lone perimeter defensive specialist, although LeBron James often takes the critical perimeter defensive assignment in crucial situations.
“As much as I control what I do, I don’t,” Bell said. “The Jazz hold my rights, they are the owners of the contract. And so if they tell me I’m coming back to camp, then I have to go back to camp.
So apparently Bell returned to Utah on Monday for his physical, hoping to get word one way or another on his status with the team and to work out details of his departure. The Jazz appear to have reciprocated with the NBA equivalent of Time Out.
ROOT SPORTS to Broadcast all 82 Regular-Season Games
1280 The Zone to Air all 90 Pre- and Regular-Season Contests
SALT LAKE CITY (September 28, 2012) – The Utah Jazz announced today the 2012-13 broadcast schedule for Utah’s upcoming NBA season. ROOT SPORTS, which will televise Jazz games for the 24th consecutive season, will broadcast all 82 regular-season contests as well as four preseason games. In addition, 1280 The Zone (1280 AM/97.5 FM), will carry all 82 regular-season games and all eight preseason games.
With the Summer of Enes in full swing, a lot of attention is on Kiki Vandeweghe, the former NBA forward and front office fixture who is teaching Kanter his bag of tricks. In the rush of excitement about Kanter’s development, don’t overlook the most important detail: Kiki Vandeweghe is the son of former Miss Utah and Miss America Colleen Hutchins and the nephew of BYU basketball star and early NBA pioneer Mel Hutchins.
All five starters on that BYU 1951 NIT Championship team were drafted into the NBA. Hutchins was the number two pick overall and went on to be a four-time All-Star. The 1951 team is the focus of a great book called “Forgotten Champions” by Rocky Steele, that you should probably pick up if you haven’t already.
While Mel was playing for the Knicks, his sister Colleen met and married his teammate Ernie Vandeweghe. Read this great write-up about her remarkable life. Colleen Vandeweghe passed away in 2010 at the age of 83. Ernie Vandeweghe studied medicine while playing in the NBA and later served as a physician in the US Air Force.
I’m hoping all this means young Enes Kanter is in good hands.
As a side note, I grew up around the corner from one of the other players on that 1951 team, Boyd Jarman. (He’s the second player from the right in the photo of the team in Brazil, wearing those awesome “Mormons” warmups). He’s one of the most important mentors in my life and probably the main reason basketball is a central part of my life. It’s an absolute tragedy that the memory of that team isn’t better preserved. I’m so happy Rocky Steele was able to finish his book while there was still time.
One of my least-favorite things in basketball and all sports is terrible fan behavior. From The Malice in the Palace to the racist taunts in European soccer, the horrible things shouted at players, referees, coaches, or other fans are embarrassments to society. The abuse of players now extends beyond the court to social media. Follow the replies to LeBron James on Twitter during the season or read the comments on any story in a major newspaper if you want to weep for humanity.
In an address delivered on Sunday to young Latter-day Saints, LDS leader Elder Jeffery Holland made some basketball-related comments that I think are relevant to the debate about booing former players and generally acting a fool in the arena. The remarks included a specific rebuke of LDS sports fans who “check their religion at the door.” It’s an important reminder for everyone, regardless of religious affiliation.
Elder Holland didn’t use names, but told the story of former BYU and Oklahoma State basketball player Daniel Bobik to illustrate the importance of maintaining decency, regardless of the situation. You can read background on the story and the game (which featured future Jazz player Rafael Araujo, in the performance that probably got him drafted) here and here.
A few years ago, a young friend of mine [...] was on one of the college basketball teams in the state. He was a great young man and a very good ballplayer. But he wasn’t playing as much as he’d hoped he would. His particular talents and skills simply weren’t exactly what that team needed at that stage of their development, or his. That happens in athletics. We deal with it all the time.
So with the full support and best wishes of his coaches and his teammates, my young friend transferred to another school, where he hoped he might contribute a little more.
As fate would have it, things clicked at the new school and my friend soon became a starter. And wouldn’t you know it, the schedule–determined years before these events transpired–had this young man returning to play against his former team, in Salt Lake City in the then-named Delta Center.
What happened in that game has bothered me to this day and I am seizing this unusual moment to get it off my chest. [laughter]
The vitriolic abuse that poured out of the stands on this young man’s head that night [...] what was said, and done, and showered upon him and his wife and his parents, should not have been experienced by any human being anywhere at any time–whatever the sport, whatever the university, or whatever his personal decisions had been about either of them.
But here’s the worst part. The coach of that visiting team–something of a legend in the profession, actually–turned to him after a spectacular game, and said “What is going on here? You’re the hometown boy who’s made good. These are your people. These are your friends,” he said.
But worst of all, he then said, in total bewilderment, “Aren’t most of these people members of your church?”
The day after that game, when there was some public reckoning and call to repentance over the incident, one young man said, in effect, “Listen, we’re talking about basketball here–not Sunday School. If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. We pay good money to see these games. We can act the way we want. We check our religion at the door.”
We check our religion at the door?
We should NEVER check our religion at the door.
No, someone in life, someone in all these situations has to live his or her religion. It’s easy to be righteous when things are calm and life is good and everything is smooth. [...]
When there is pressure and fatigue. Anger or fear. [...] Will we be faithful then?
With the upcoming season looming, I’d like to throw my support behind those who want to reverse the terrible trend of booing former Jazz players when they return to the ESA. “Once a Jazzman, Always a Jazzman” should be the new tradition. Here’s part of the open letter to Greg Miller as posted at SLC Dunk:
[Player gets introduced and thanked for their time with the Jazz]
And that’s that.
And from then on, every other time he visits, he gets the same general acknowledgement and applause given to all former players.
There will still be some boos, of course. But the more you do it, the more it will feel natural, until it’s simply tradition. It will feel like just a special part of “The Jazz Way.” It will also get attention. Players on other teams will notice. Our players will notice.
And if you try to start this early, if you establish the pattern from the first pre-season game … maybe then that January 2nd game against Andrei Kirilenko and the Timberwolves won’t be the horrible moment I now anticipate.
I’ve been meaning to post this for months, but a leaked Adidas catalog for retailers shows the throwback jerseys NBA teams will wear during the 2012-13 season. The Jazz purple mountain jerseys made famous during the Finals runs of the mid-90s will be available as part of the Hardwood Classics series.
Retro jerseys for the Bucks, Bulls, Hawks, Heat, Kings, Pacers, and Suns will appear on-court, while vintage 90s jerseys for the 76ers, Cavs, Raps, Rockets, and Jazz will be available in stores.
I always hated the mountain jerseys, but there’s no denying the throwback appeal. Besides the Bulls and Pacers, every one of these represent terrible design decisions–but the garish look is awesome in retrospect.
On-court Hardwood Classics:
Retail-only Hardwood Classics:
In the wake of Scott Layden taking a new position with the San Antonio Spurs, the Jazz promoted Mike Sanders as his replacement and hired former Utah Flash and Austin Toros coach Brad Jones as the new Assistant Coach/Player Development.
Jones had great success in the D-League, leading the Flash deep in the playoffs and most recently winning the championship with the Austin Toros. He also coached against his former assistant, Kevin Young, in the D-League All-Star game last season.
On a personal level, I’m very excited for Coach Jones. I really enjoyed covering his team and interacting with him while he was coaching the Flash. There aren’t many nicer or more capable coaches in the game and it’s exciting to see a guy from the D-League get a call-up. Jones is also the nephew of the late Bobbye Sloan.
As for Sanders, he’ll fill out a bench of former players. Between him, Sidney Lowe, Jeff Hornacek, and Tyrone Corbin, the Jazz have roughly nine million years of playing experience. Check out the full press release for more background on the moves:
Full press release:
SALT LAKE CITY (September 6, 2012) – The Utah Jazz announced today that Michael Sanders has been promoted to an assistant coach on Tyrone Corbin’s staff, after having spent the 2011-12 season as assistant coach/player development. In a related move, the Jazz has also agreed in principle with veteran NBA Development League coach, and former Jazz scout, Brad Jones to assume Sanders’ previous position as assistant coach/player development.
“Moving Mike from player development to the bench is a promotion that he has earned. His strong work ethic and skillset, coupled with his experience as a former player and coach in the NBA and D-League, has proven to be valuable to our franchise and I look forward to working with him closer in his enhanced role,” said Utah Jazz Head Coach Tyrone Corbin. “Brad is a well-respected and recognized young coaching talent with a proven track-record of player development. We are very happy to be bringing him back to the Jazz family.”
A veteran of the coaching ranks, Sanders recently completed his first season with the Jazz and has previously served as an assistant coach in the NBA for Detroit, Milwaukee and Charlotte. He originally began his coaching career in 1998 as an assistant coach with the Wisconsin Blast of the International Basketball Association (IBA) before becoming head coach of the IBA’s Black Hills Gold for the 1999-2000 season. In 2000-01 he then became head coach of the United States Basketball League (USBL)’s Washington Congressionals. In 2000-01 Sanders joined the Detroit Pistons an assistant coach.
The following season he joined the D-League’s Asheville Altitude, where he would spend four years as an assistant coach and director of player personnel, helping to lead the franchise to D-League championships in 2004 and 2005. During his time with the Altitude, Sanders also spent three offseasons with the USBL’s Adirondack Wildcats as the team’s head coach (2002-2004). In 2005, Sanders returned to the NBA, joining the Milwaukee Bucks staff as an assistant coach for two seasons. He then served as an assistant coach and advance scout with the Charlotte Bobcats for the 2007-08 campaign.
Prior to his coaching career, Sanders played 11 seasons in the NBA for four teams – San Antonio (1982-83), Phoenix (1983-88), Cleveland (1987-89, ’91-93) and Indiana (1989-92). Originally selected in the fourth round (74th overall) of the 1982 NBA Draft by the Kansas City Kings, Sanders appeared in 648 career games (209 starts) and averaged 8.0 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 19.1 minutes.
Jones returns to the Jazz after spending the previous two seasons as head coach of the San Antonio Spurs-owned Austin Toros of the D-League. Jones led the Toros to a D-League Championship this past season, defeating the L.A. D-Fenders two games to one in the D-League Finals.
Prior to his time with the Toros, Jones previously spent three seasons as the original head coach of the D-League’s Utah Flash (2007-10). As a D-League expansion team, the Flash enjoyed a successful inaugural campaign under Jones finishing the 2007-08 season with a 24-26 mark. A year later the Jones guided the Flash to a 32-18 record and advanced them to the 2009 D-League Finals. The Flash posted a 28-22 record in 2009-10, making a second straight playoff appearance.
During his five-year D-League coaching career, Jones had eight different players under his tutelage called-up up to the NBA a total of 13 times, and also had 12 different NBA players assigned by their respective teams to work with him on a total of 14 D-League assignments.
Prior to joining the Flash, Jones served as a regional scout for the Utah Jazz for six years (2001-2007). Jones also served as the head coach at Lambuth University in Jackson, Tenn., from 1995-2001. During his tenure at the helm of the Eagles he was twice named the Mid-South Conference Coach of the Year and led the school to a pair of conference championships.
Press release from the Jazz on the departure of Scott Layden to the San Antonio Spurs:
SALT LAKE CITY (September 5, 2012) – The following statements are regarding Scott Layden, who announced today he is leaving his position as a Utah Jazz assistant coach:
“Scott has been a valued member of the Jazz family in a variety of capacities for more than 25 years,” said Utah Jazz President Randy Rigby. “His contributions have been many and his effort and dedication are certainly appreciated. On behalf of the Jazz organization and the Miller family, I would like to thank Scott for his service and wish him success in his future endeavors.”
“I want to personally thank Scotty for all his tireless work and assistance these past few years,” said Jazz Head Coach Tyrone Corbin. “To work alongside him under Coach Sloan and then to have the opportunity to have him on my staff has been a real pleasure. He is a great guy, a good friend, and while I am sorry to see him go, I understand his decision and am happy for him. I wish him and his family nothing but the very best in the future.”
Now is as good a time as any to check out this bizarre vignette found in the KSL archives as part of our Retro Jazz project with KSL’s Jeremiah Jensen, featuring Frank Layden and Thurl Bailey re-enacting scenes from Indiana Jones in the old Salt Palace to illustrate the passing of the guard to his son Scott.
Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnorwoski is reporting that the Jazz assistant coach has accepted a position as assistant GM with the San Antonio Spurs. Layden began his career with the Jazz all the way back in 1981 and recently completed his 25th year with the franchise. He also infamously spent four and half years running (ruining?) the New York Knicks as GM and later as team president as well.
Layden is essentially job-swapping with new Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey, taking over Lindsey’s vacant position in San Antonio. I’m not sure if Layden was ever seriously considered for the Jazz GM spot or even if he wanted it, but it’s clear his heart was in front office work and not continuing on the sidelines as an assistant. Some have implied that Layden may have felt slighted by the Lindsey hire, but there’s no question the Jazz did him a huge favor by allowing him to rehab his career when they hired him as an assistant after nearly being out of basketball due to the Knicks debacle.
He’s been nothing but great for the Jazz franchise, however. Here’s to great success in San Antonio (though not against the Jazz) to a basketball lifer who is one of the main reasons the we all have great memories about the Jazz. I always enjoyed my interactions with Layden and he’s been nothing but a pleasure to cover. All my finest to a Jazz legend as he furthers his career.
Scott Layden’s bio from the Jazz media guide:
Scott Layden enters his 25th season with the Utah Jazz and his seventh as an assistant coach after returning to the franchise prior to the 2005-06 campaign. Things have come full circle for Layden, as he is now back in the place where his pro basketball career started, this time as an assistant on Tyrone Corbin’s coaching staff. Previously, Layden and Corbin worked together for over five years under Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee and former Jazz head coach Jerry Sloan. In total, Layden would work with Sloan and former Jazz lead assistant coach Phil Johnson for over 14 seasons.
Layden’s responsibilities include helping Jazz players develop and hone their basketball skills, game preparation for opponents, and coordinating advance scouts. He has also shared coaching duties with Corbin during the 2005-08 Rocky Mountain Revues as well as the Orlando Pro Summer League in 2009 and 2010. In addition, Layden has worked basketball camps for both the NBA and adidas in China, Brazil and Europe the past eight years.
Before re-joining the Jazz, Layden worked with NBA TV for part of the 2003-04 and entirety of the 2004-05 NBA seasons. Prior to that, Layden served as general manager of the New York Knicks beginning in the 1999-00 season. A year and a half later, he added team president to his title. During his four and a half year tenure the Knicks made the playoffs twice, advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2000. Preceding his stint with the Knicks, Layden spent 18 years in a variety of capacities with the Jazz, establishing a reputation as one of the game’s most astute judges of talent and an instrumental figure in the Jazz’s perennial success.
From 1992 through 1999, Layden was the primary Jazz contact and driving force behind all player personnel, draft and trade decisions. During his tenure as Utah’s primary architect, the Jazz recorded five straight 50+ win seasons (including three 60+ win campaigns), two Midwest Division titles (1996-97 and 1997-98) and back-to-back Western Conference Championships in 1997 and 1998. Layden was runner-up (to the Lakers’ Jerry West) for The Sporting News NBA Executive of the Year award in 1994-95, a season in which the Jazz went 60-22.
After spending one year as an assistant coach at Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey, Layden began his pro basketball career as an administrative assistant and scout with the Jazz in 1981. In February of 1982 he was elevated to assistant to Frank Layden, where he remained until being named the Jazz’s director of player personnel in 1989, and then director of basketball operations in 1992, before being promoted to vice president in September of 1996.
An upstate New York prep standout, Layden went on to play collegiate basketball for St. Francis University in Loretto, Penn., where he was a four-year letterman and captained the team in his senior year of 1979-80. He graduated with a degree in business management.
An active member of the Salt Lake community, Layden volunteers his time on the fundraising committee with the Muscular Dystrophy Association and the Catholic Community Services Board of Trustees. He is also an active participant in JazzCares, hosting clinics for the children of fireman, police officers, military personnel, nurses and teachers. In addition, he has led camps in Israel two of the past three years in conjunction with PeacePlayers International, a program that uses basketball to teach children proven tactics for improving their communities.
Layden and his wife, Marsha, have four daughters: Sarah, Hannah, Mary Frances and Emma Grace.
After some rumors swirled last week that perhaps Enes Kanter was “losing his head” and maybe even getting out of shape, he went ahead and posted the following photo to let everyone know that yeah, he’s doing just fine.
— Enes Kanter (@Enes_Kanter) August 29, 2012
Kanter has been working out in Chicago at HiFi Fitness. Who knew that a little Pilates could deliver results like that? I’m going to have to start mixing in a few crunches and planks or something.
In the past, Kanter worked with Tim Grover in Chicago and is clearly taking his training to an elite level. There are a lot of things that can be criticized about Kanter’s game, but it looks like fitness isn’t one of them.
UPDATE: More dispatches from The Kanterbody Tales:
For all those who doubt: My summer “VACATION”; ) twitter.com/Enes_Kanter/st…
— Enes Kanter (@Enes_Kanter) August 30, 2012