Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports today reported that the Jazz have cut wingman Carrick Felix in order to make room to sign forwards Jordan Hamilton and Joe Ingles. Let’s analyze these moves individually.
Waiving Carrick Felix
Felix was acquired on July 22nd, in a now fairly bizarre trade in which the Jazz traded the unguaranteed contracts of Malcolm Thomas, Erik Murphy, and John Lucas III to Cleveland for Felix, a 2nd round pick, and $1.3 million. That trade’s worked out pretty strangely for all involved: All three of Utah’s departing players were traded to the Boston Celtics, along with Dwight Powell and 2nd round picks in 2016 and 2017, for Keith Bogans’ unguaranteed contract. The Cavs then flipped Bogans to the 76ers for a trade exception, then the Sixers waved Bogans. Meanwhile,
In retrospect, the $1.3 million may have been intended for the purpose of offsetting Felix’s contract so that the Jazz could make a move like this. Felix’s contract is guaranteed for this season, and so the Jazz will be paying the entirety of Felix’s $816,482 contract this season. That amount will remain on the Jazz’s cap for this season.
In my article on the trade in July, I noted that the Jazz seemed to like Felix. Jazz play-by-play man David Locke wrote:
Felix is going to [be] a part of the Utah Jazz…. The Jazz scouts have had an eye on Felix and like his defensive mindset, his ability to rebound and believe he can shoot the three. He is not an offensive playmaker with the ball in his hands. This is an opportunity for the Jazz to add a player they like and believe has a chance to develop into a rotational piece.
It seems they’ve decided, after weeks of seeing Felix up close in training camp2, that he’s less likely to become a productive NBA player than either Ingles or Hamilton. This isn’t an especially encouraging sign for Felix’s career.
Signing Joe Ingles
“Jingles”, as he’s apparently occasionally known, is a 26-year-old left-handed forward from Australia. This ClipperBlog profile might be the best look at him: essentially, he’s a fun, offensively-gifted forward who has a wide variety of scoring moves. Allegedly, he rejected a 2-year guaranteed contract from the Grizzlies, which doesn’t seem like it has turned out well given his undoubtedly unguaranteed deal from Utah.
Ingles really impressed at the World Cup, and there are definite benefits to having Dante Exum’s idol and mentor on the team, but there are real question marks on if he can make it in an NBA rotation:
Clippers quickly realized Ingles was not going to hit almost every single pull-up jumper he took as was the case in the World Cup. Who knew?
— Rafael Uehara (@rafael_uehara) October 27, 2014
But, at the very least, he keeps Dante happy, and is apparently lots of fun in the locker room. If he can regain the form from the World Cup, Ingles could be fun to watch.
Signing Jordan Hamilton
Jordan Hamilton actually started 12 games in the NBA last season, 11 for the Denver Nuggets and 1 for the Houston Rockets; he even played over 1000 minutes. This will be Hamilton’s 4th season, and while he hasn’t set the world on fire, he looks like a real 3 & D prospect. He shot 36% from 3-point land last season, and while that’s good on it’s own, he actually made 48% from the corners. Given the Jazz’s offense next season figures to involve many corner 3s, Hamilton seems as if he could be a good fit. They would probably prefer he stop taking the mid-range shots, though.
At the defensive end, Hamilton has put up both good and bad metrics. On the good end, he allowed just a 14.5 opponent PER in Denver and a 12.8 opponent PER in Houston: both good numbers. On the other hand, both teams were significantly worse with him on the floor, though ESPN’s RPM suggests that could be due to the lineups we has on the floor with, as he’s nearly neutral in that statistic.
He put up a promising preseason with the Toronto Raptors, but in the end they chose to keep Greg Stiesma instead. Hamilton’s just 24, so he could have more development left in his NBA career.
In the end, though, the above moves make a lot of basketball sense for the Jazz, though not necessarily financial sense, given that they’re eating Felix’s guaranteed contract. That’s okay for the Jazz, though, as the team stays below the cap and takes advantage of its place as the 7th most profitable team in the NBA.