After finishing six games over .500 in the shortened 2011-12 season, the Utah Jazz remained fairly quiet leading up to the upcoming 2012-13 season. Finishing third in their division, and eighth in the West, the Jazz are centered around Al Jefferson and a very young nucleus.
Their young core certainly impressed the league last season with their ability to find ways to win games, and of course, make the playoffs after a year in the NBA draft lottery.
The biggest concern held by Jazz Nation last season was the departure of legend Jerry Sloan, and how the franchise would move on. However, that concern has apparently been put to rest, as Ty Corbin has certainly had his squad overachieving.
The biggest sign of hope moving forward, aside from their plethora of young talent, is the amount of money the Jazz will be able to spend after this upcoming season.
As of right now, the only player guaranteed a spot on their roster in 2013-14 is forward Jeremy Evans at $1.6 million. That’s it. Of course, they hold a bevy of team options – Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter, Gordon Hayward, and Alec Burks – and a player option on Marvin Williams. (yikes)
But, three of their top four highest paid players are set to be off the books come season’s end – Jefferson, Mo Williams, and Paul Millsap – and their third highest paid player is Marvin Williams. (yikes again)
The way the roster is set up, the Jazz will have the luxury of watching their young talent develop with zero commitments to any player. This freedom is what every franchise dreams of, especially after making the playoffs the year prior. There will probably be a cry for the team to re-sign underrated big Millsap, and Mo Williams may become a fan favorite; however, it would be very surprising if Jefferson remain in Utah.
Heading up the 2013 free agent market are restricted free agents Ty Lawson, Steph Curry, Brandon Jennings, and, James Harden – and unrestricted free agents, Andre Iguodala, Chris Paul, and, Dwight Howard.
The Jazz will certainly have the option to be in play for all of the above.
- Dave Hilts