What they do with their many free agents will have major repercussions for the team, not just for 2013-14 but in the next several years.
Almost all of the team’s veteran players could be gone next season. That reality has the potential to be either an exciting turn in the history of the franchise or a frightening detour into the NBA’s lottery dungeon.
Either way, the 2013 offseason will be historic for the Utah Jazz. What they do with each free agent will provide a piece for the puzzle of the franchise’s future.
Al Jefferson has become one of the better big men in the NBA. Therefore, the Utah Jazz absolutely cannot let him walk away for free.
The team should be fine with him leaving, but they need to make sure they get something in return.
At age 28, Jefferson is probably not going to get any better or more valuable than he is right now. He has averaged 17.4 points and 9.1 rebounds per game this season with a player efficiency rating of 20.35.
Considering that the Jazz are probably too young to be a contender within the next few seasons, it is probably in the team’s best interest to let Jefferson go. Such a decision is made easier by the fact that they have two young talented bigs in Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter waiting on the bench.
The situation for Paul Millsap is not much different than that of Al Jefferson. However, the result should be different, because Millsap has fewer NBA miles on him and can fit better with the younger pieces that the team will begin to rely on more heavily in the future.
Millsap is smaller and really less of a big man than Jefferson is. If the Jazz can convince him to stay, he has the potential to become one of the NBA’s most effective low-post threats again, especially if he is getting the shots vacated by Jefferson leaving.
Millsap also would fit well with Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors, both of whom would do well playing center alongside him.
The Utah Jazz are in desperate need of a point guard, but Mo Williams is not the answer. He will be 31 years old next season, and he just does not provide the measured floor leadership this super-young Jazz team will need.
Utah needs a player at the point who will run the offense without dominating the ball. Alec Burks, Gordon Hayward and others will need the ball in their hands. Williams is too much of a scorer for this team’s needs, especially considering that he is not a star-level scorer.
If he could put up 20 points per night consistently, this slide might have been written differently.
Randy Foye is the type of solid role player whim every NBA team needs if it wants to compete at a high level. The Utah Jazz should do whatever they need to do to keep him on their roster.
Foye is shooting a career-high 41.6 percent from three, making him a great floor-spacer for the team’s talented big men.
He also has proven himself worthy of being a starter in the NBA, averaging 10.8 points, 2.0 assists and 1.5 rebounds from the shooting guard position this season.
At 35 years old, Jamaal Tinsley is far past his prime. The Utah Jazz should let him go and replace him with a much younger player who can actually contribute something to the team’s future.
There are plenty of teams out there who would be interested in having a veteran like Tinsley coming off the bench.
While one could make the argument that the Jazz should keep Tinsley for his experience, it really is not likely to make a difference for a team that is likely to go down a bit in the coming seasons before spiking back up again.
Earl Watson is another veteran point guard who is past his prime. However, the Utah Jazz cannot afford to jettison all three of the point guards on the roster in the same offseason. Watson should be re-signed for at least one more season.
The reason Watson should be the point guard to return is mainly because he will probably be the cheapest to keep. He played the least amount of minutes and shot the worst percentage of the three.
Keep in mind that the team would not be keeping Watson to actually play him, but rather as injury insurance. If Jamaal Tinsley ends up being cheap, these two should be switched.
DeMarre Carroll is another of the talented young players the Utah Jazz have to build their future. While he is not as promising as some of the others, the team should definitely keep him on the roster.
Carroll has great length on the perimeter at 6’8”, making him perfect for the defensive mindset the organization seems to be trying to foster. He also has converted 47 percent of his field-goal attempts this season, proving that he can be dependable on the offensive end as well.
Carroll is definitely not a star, but future contenders need role players, too.