4 Ways the Utah Jazz Can Make Good Headlines This Offseason
Often taking a back seat to big-market teams like Los Angeles and Miami or feel-good stories like Jeremy Lin and the Oklahoma City Thunder's emergence, the Utah Jazz have a hard time finding themselves in the headlines outside of the state of Utah.
The biggest headlines coming out of the Jazz camp in the past two years have revolved around the departure of Jerry Sloan and the blockbuster deal for Deron Williams. Since then, there has been a lack of attention. Even when we're winning, not much is said about it.
We're just the Utah Jazz. That awesome team out in the Beehive State. A consistently well-managed and playoff-contending franchise. No big deal.
But be prepared, fellow NBA fans. The Jazz are going to make headlines next year in more ways than one. Here are four things that could happen that would provide solid league-wide NBA headlines next season.
A Big Trade
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With the logjam in the frontcourt, Utah Jazz fans have been patiently awaiting word on which big man will be the first out the door.
While Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter are presumed to be untouchable, veterans Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson have surfaced in trade speculation numerous times throughout the season and the offseason.
But which one will end up being traded? Or will they both stay in Utah?
My money is on Al Jefferson. While he is a solid double-double threat with a consistent post-up game, Jazz fans just love Millsap a little more. They would revolt a bit more if Millsap was shipped out.
But, in the end, Kevin O'Connor will do what's best for his team. And if Millsap's name is drawn in a good deal, Kevin won't hesitate to pull the trigger.
A big headline could be made if the Jazz finally cut loose Jefferson and send him out for another All-Star. The speculated deal revolves around Andre Iguodala of the Philadelphia 76ers, with the trade benefiting both teams.
Such a move would provide space for Millsap to start again, Favors to be a permanent starter, and Kanter to finally have minutes and room to grow.
First All-Star Since Deron Williams
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Consider me among the fans that believe both Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson have been snubbed in recent years of an All-Star selection.
This next year could finally be the year either one of them makes their first All-Star team. Or even former All-Star Mo Williams could find himself with a spot (I seriously doubt it).
Heck, even Marvin Williams could become that second overall pick we all expected to see. Crazier things have happened (Jeremy Lin, anyone?).
Or maybe one of the younger guys will break out and find their way on to the team. My money would be on Alec Burks. It's widely assumed that he'll be starting next year at the two, with Gordon Hayward moving to the three.
If he can continue to improve, Burks has a very high ceiling and the potential to be a All-Star.
An All-Star for the Jazz would definitely make solid headlines next year.
Fire Their Coach
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There are many Jazz fans out there (trust me, I follow hundreds on Twitter) that believe Tyrone Corbin is a decent coach, but not right for this team. I am not one of them.
I have been fairly impressed with the way he's handled himself since taking the ginormous reins away from Hall of Fame coach Jerry Sloan.
I mean, come on...those are huge shoes to fill.
But with their recent sweep against the San Antonio Spurs in the playoffs, Jazz fans were flabbergasted at the way Corbin handled the lineups and rotations during those playoff games. Corbin, himself, admitted he had playoff jitters.
If Corbin doesn't find time for some of the youngsters next year (most definitely Favors and Burks), his time in Utah might be short-lived, making room for someone else to try their hand at coaching the young Jazz.
Don't count on it, he's a good coach. But it could happen.
Move Closer to Oklahoma City Status
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It may be wishful thinking, but many Jazz fans believe that the Jazz are well on their way to be becoming the next Oklahoma City.
In a sense, that means that they will be a small-market team that achieves great success mainly based on solid drafting and management decisions and not through big-money free agents or superstar players.
They do have a very good track record. For an example, look at how quickly they jumped off the Deron Williams bandwagon in order to avoid a LeBron James/Dwight Howard fiasco.
They cut him loose early and are much better off for the future. Kevin O'Connor was not going to be held hostage by a superstar player dreaming of greener pastures.
There are plenty of more examples. Paul Millsap (47th pick) has become a fantastic player coveted by many teams, Gordon Hayward is blossoming, Derrick Favors is a dominant defensive AND offensive presence, Mo Williams is back and ready to end his career in style, Marvin Williams is looking for a new start, Alec Burks appears ready to break out, Jeremy Evans has lots more to offer, Jamaal Tinsley was a solid veteran surprise, and the jury is still out on young players like Enes Kanter and Kevin Murphy.
Gradually, the Jazz are making a name for themselves.
The pieces are there, but can they put them all together? People still are surprised that the Jazz made the playoffs last year. Jazz fans aren't surprised and expect even greater things next year. Don't count the them out; they always seem to surprise in the end.
Maybe one day people will stop being surprised at how solid of a franchise they are and always have been. Maybe.
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