5 Free Agents the Utah Jazz Must Avoid
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Okay, we know, Salt Lake City possesses neither the Hollywood glamour of a Los Angeles nor the breezy beaches of a Miami, but they still have the cap space to lure in a free agent looking to make an easy pay day.
A job in Utah as a professional basketball player is rather easy at this point. Utah is lottery team lacking a clear direction, so the bar is already set rather low.
That being said, they don't exactly want to fall victim for reactionary hype that often exists in free agent classes. Before signing a free agent, they need to ensure they are the real deal rather than settling for whoever is hot at the moment.
The best examples of this phenomenon are the streakiest of shooters—the sixth man who is either all the way on or all the way useless.
So keeping that in mind, whom exactly should the Jazz avoid signing this offseason?
Another man many suspected upped his game in anticipation for his ensuing free agency, Earl Clark is another free agent who many will be clamoring to acquire. Although he's gone as far as stating he'd take a pay cut to stay in LA, don't think for a second other teams won't attempt to lure him with the temptation of more money.
Clark has evolved into a big man with very nice touch from the perimeter, solid rebounding ability and considering he's only 25, a lot of teams want him on their rosters. Already hindered from a cluttered frontcourt in the past, the Jazz must avoid repeating the same situation yet again if they were to acquire an Earl Clark type of big man.
Clark is still more of a complementary player, and he also doesn't fit with what the Jazz really need. They could really use a slasher who can create for himself and others, not a big who is more comfortable facing up the hoop.
Clark is going to be eating very well this season, there is no doubt, but the verdict is still out on whether he will play with the same intensity and desperation he had this season once he gets a better contract.
It should also be noted that he likely prefers a bigger market to Salt Lake City, and there's nothing worse than getting a free agent who dreads the city he's playing for. By not signing Clark, the Jazz avoid two problems—cluttering their frontcourt and avoid hyped-up players.
Nick Young might have a nice assortment of Versace button-ups and the capability to light people up from beyond the arc, but a streaky shooter like Nick Young is a prime example of a must-avoid free agent for Utah.
Young is a tempting prospect partly due to his age, and the fact he still has some offensive gifts that could be put to great use, but as with many on our list, Young is a complementary type that is frankly interchangeable with a lot of the guys Utah has put on the floor this past season.
While their games aren't congruent, Nick Young and Randy Foye share a lot of similar characteristics. Both are three-point shooters, both struggle to create efficient shots and both are dependent mostly on double-teams, transition opportunities or defensive lapses to get points.
Another fun fact? Foye and Young's respective career points-per-game averages are eerily similar—11.5 points for Randy, 11.3 for Nick.
Nick Young came from the Los Angeles Clippers to a Philadelphia 76ers team in need of some perimeter shooting, and while his points per game (10.6) wasn't a terrible number, it's by no means something you should throw a lot of money at.
Young can be very, very streaky, especially in a good way, but he's overall not worth the investment. He's going to take a lot of shots, and he's going to miss a lot of shots, and at this point it's likely he may never break the bad habits of his game.
To still be shooting a nearly sub-40-percent field goal percentage is a big red flag on his shotmaking and decision making when shooting the basketball.
Nick has a lot of potential to be a great player, but it remains a question whether he can ever fully maximize his upside, and there's no question Utah should refrain from taking that chance.
For his versatility and unique skillset, Lamar Odom is respected by most of his peers, fans and admirers of the game of basketball...except those who live in the city of Dallas, Texas. After an awkward departure from the Los Angeles Lakers, Odom found himself in a new jersey, in a new city—and more to the point—an entirely new market than he'd been used to.
Okay, Dallas isn't exactly a lifeless, barren wasteland, but for a guy like Lamar, it might as well have been the surface of some dust-caked planet in the far reaches of space. Lamar played as if he had been body-snatched by an extra-terrestrial with less than marginal basketball skills.
He had a flat-out terrible season in large part due to the fact he was horribly unhappy with the city where he played. The skills were still there, but it was clearly the mental weight of outside stressors that were dragging him down from his usual output.
Because of his larger-than-life spouse, (double entendre, don't ask me how) Odom has the misfortune of not being able to separate his off-the-court life from his on-the-court one.
Utah needs to avoid a head case like Lamar Odom because if he's not in the right situation, you're going to get more than an unproductive and unhappy player; you're going to get a guy who will affect the collective cohesiveness of your team.
Guys like Lamar Odom can be a drain on the team's esprit de corps if they're unhappy, and while he's one of the most brilliantly talented players in the league, especially for a reserve, it's best that they stay away from investing in Lamar as a long-term asset, and better yet, they shouldn't invest in him whatsoever.
Despite his gifts and potential when happy, there's no reason to risk signing someone like Odom if you can't trust they'll be mentally situated to give you production when needed.
Other than another guard on our list, perhaps there is no free agent sixth man with more buzz than Jarrett Jack and rightly so. He had a good season, and better yet, he had a good season on a team that is emerging as one of the NBA's greatest stories of this season.
Jarrett got big-time visibility for the first time in a little while after spending most of last season on a bottom-feeder New Orleans Hornets (whoops. I mean Pelicans) team that didn't have much going for it.
The Golden State Warriors, who upset the Denver Nuggets in the first round of the playoffs, featured the sharpshooter duo of Klay Thompson and Steph Curry, and off the bench came the fiery, low-crossover dribbling, contested pull-up shooting Jarrett Jack.
Jack is a prime example of all or nothing from a sixth man—he's either scoring a lot and making plays, or he's missing a lot and committing disastrous mistakes with the ball in his hands. Jack is another free agent a lot of contenders have their eyes on, but he's not the type of person the Jazz necessarily want.
Jack is going to get a nice contract, but at this stage, Jack isn't exactly what the Jazz need. Jack can make plays, but he's a little too out of control to be your every-night starting point guard.
The Jazz don't need a spark plug like Jack necessarily, and as a result, they'd probably be paying a little too much for something that won't help them improve all that much.
Plain and simple, the Jazz need to let the man sign elsewhere rather than presenting themselves as a big-time suitor ready to take him on.
Probably the biggest must-avoid free agent on our list, Nate Robinson is likely to be a huge bust for whomever he inks the contract with due to the fact that he's not going be as mentally motivated to play with a chip on his shoulder. Think of it this way—when you're comfortable, you become complacent.
Nate was inked to a previous salary of $854,389, a number way below his current perceived value at the moment. After his nice postseason run and solid season, however? That number is going to up big because a contender is going to want Nate as a spark plug coming off their bench, and there may even be a fringe team that wants to sign an undersized, one-dimensional scorer for some odd reason.
There's no way Nate will feel like he has anything to prove once he gets the contract he's been looking for, and although his numbers were improved this year, more should go into a personnel decision than nifty stats. The Jazz should consider their necessities as well.
The Jazz need a starting point guard that can run an offense, and at least be serviceable on both sides of the floor if possible. Better they have a guard who is by no means a one-man scoring machine, but can at least make smart decisions and play decent defense on the other end of the floor.
Nate has a scorer's mentality, but he's 5'8". He lacks the length and height to stay in front of a lot of bigger, faster guards, and as a result, he's a constant defensive mismatch when he's on the floor.
He also shoots at a high clip, and when he's not scoring, he's not playing defense, and he's really not making anybody else better. Not to mention his terrible decisions at times hinder the collective tempo on offense.
Nate is perfect for a contender in need of a sixth man, but he's a terrible fit for Utah, and he's without a doubt the biggest must-avoid free agent due to the amount of hype surrounding him.