The Utah Jazz experienced a relatively heartbreaking end to the 2012-2013 NBA season by just missing out on the NBA Playoffs, despite the race with the Los Angeles Lakers coming down to the 82nd and final game of the season. This means that the Jazz will not only be missing the postseason, but will also have a draft pick in the low lottery for a 2013 NBA Draft that isn’t deep at all.
Adding to their issues is the upcoming dilemma they will have in free agency this off-season. Their team for the past couple of years has been built around their frontcourt comprised of Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap. However, both Millsap and Jefferson will become unrestricted free agents when the free agency period kicks off. Both players are expected to receive big-money contracts, meaning the Jazz essentially have to decide which one they would like to keep in Utah.
A possibly unpopular opinion regarding this situation may actually be their best option, though. The Jazz should not re-sign Millsap or Jefferson, letting them both go elsewhere. This would obviously thin out their frontcourt substantially, but it might also be the best move in regards to their future.
First of all, it would allow Derrick Favors to play a starter’s share of minutes for the first time in his career. Favors has been buried behind Millsap and Jefferson for his short career, but has been a force to be reckoned with off the bench and when he’s filled in as a starter. Giving him the opportunity to start would allow him to grow and realize his potential, which could be that of a star in this league.
Another thing letting Millsap and Jefferson walk would allow for is the Jazz would likely end up with a high draft pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, which is supposed to be one of the best drafts in years. Letting Millsap and Jefferson go would be the beginning of rebuilding their team for the future, rather than plateauing as a low playoff seed or with a draft pick around 13th or 14th. That’s not a place you want to be as a franchise if you want to have success in the future.
Though it may seem like a questionable idea on the surface, letting Jefferson and Millsap go this summer may be the best idea for their organization. It will allow them to develop young talent and to bring in a high draft pick from a high quality draft. The Jazz haven’t clearly stated their intentions regarding this situation, but this should be a legitimate option for them to consider.