5 Players the Jazz Should Go After This Summer
The Utah Jazz have found themselves in an excellent position to recreate a contending team for next season. With two picks in the NBA Draft lottery (No. 3 and No. 12 overall), huge sums of money coming off of the books, a new coach and coaching system, a group of promising young players, and a few proven veterans, the Jazz franchise is in a quiet state of excitement.
There are so many mock drafts and articles debating and evaluating the upcoming draftees; so, in order to "break the mold", this article will focus on the free agents around the league, and those of them that would be a good fit in Utah.
The following slides examine, in my opinion, the top five free agents that the Jazz should sign this summer.
I value your opinion and appreciate your different views, please leave me some feedback. Comment!
[Salary information found on HoopsHype.com]
5. Andrei Kirilenko, SF: Utah Jazz - Salary for Last Season: approx. $18 million
After a maximum deal was awarded to Andrei Kirilenko by the Utah Jazz officials a few years back, his contract is finally up. Most would say that Kirilenko did not live up to his contract's worth, and I would have to agree.
He is an injury-prone forward that is capable of filling the stat sheet with near triple-doubles every night, but on most occasions only settles for 10 points, five rebounds and a few assists. Not terrible numbers by any means, but who would argue that his statistical play should amount to a $17.8 million per season deal? Nobody.
Many Jazz officials, including GM Kevin O'Connor and CEO Greg Miller, have stated that they would like to have Kirilenko back in a Jazz uniform. Kirilenko himself stated that he would like to play for Utah and hinted that he would settle for much less money on a new contract.
Kirilenko's versatility and experience is a valuable asset on the floor when he's healthy. That being said, the Jazz should look to resign Andrei Kirilenko at $5-8 million per year. If they can't pull that off, then there is no doubt they should let him leave via free agency.
Andrei Kirilenko averaged 11.7 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 2010-11.
Tayshaun Prince is virtually the same player as Andrei Kirilenko, but with more offensive polish. Prince could become a go-to player in the Jazz system and fills a defensive need on the other end of the floor. If the Jazz are unable to reach an agreement with Kirilenko, they should definitely take a hard look at Tayshaun Prince.
During the 2010-11 season, Prince averaged 14.1 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists. He almost never misses a game and he's very durable, something the Jazz have sorely needed from forward Andrei Kirilenko. Prince has freakishly long arms and has great athletic ability on both ends of the floor.
If the Jazz could sign Prince right around the range of $8-11 million, they should pull the trigger on him and say goodbye to the days of Andrei Kirilenko.
3. C.J. Miles, SG/SF: Utah Jazz - Salary for Last Season: $3.7 million
The Jazz hold a team-option to keep C.J. Miles around for next season. He showed flashes of great play this season, posting a career-high 40 points against the Timberwolves, but Miles just can't figure out how to be consistent.
Many are afraid that Miles has reached his ceiling and is never going to grow out of his inconsistency, as he just finished his sixth year in the NBA.
But for only $3.7 million per year, the Jazz should cling to Miles as best they can. He provides a spark off the bench and is unbeatable driving to the basket. If he would reign in his shot selections and drive to the hoop more often than not, Miles will be worth a lot more than his current contract and will be a valuable asset for the Utah Jazz.
C.J. Miles averaged 12.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 2010-11.
2. Delonte West, SG: Boston Celtics - Salary for Last Season: approx. $1 million
Delonte West had an off season playing for the Boston Celtics, and there is no doubt that he'll want to leave while only averaging 6.6 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.3 assists.
Delonte would fill a great need at the shooting guard position for the Utah Jazz. He's an athletic guard who can rebound, defend and most of all, shoot. West would fit the Utah system nicely and would see his assist average bumped up to three or four per game with Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson on the block.
This signing would most likely mean that C.J. Miles hits the road, but for only $1 million, he's a steal. Utah should pick up Delonte West for $1-5 million per year.
1. Jamal Crawford, SG: Atlanta Hawks - Salary for Last Season: approx. $10 million
Jamal Crawford is an outstanding player and one of the best at his position. The Jazz desperately need a shooting guard who can come in and defend the 2-spot while having the ability to knock down shots consistently and drive it to the hoop. Jamal is listed at 6'5", 200 pounds, which is ideal for a shooting guard.
The only knock on Crawford is that he's a 10-year veteran at the age of 31. He's past his prime but is a player that can still greatly contribute to a team and help them reach the playoffs.
He fits the mold nicely in Utah, as he would complement Devin Harris, Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson very well, while at the same time being able to teach Gordon Hayward and C.J. Miles a thing or two about being a shooting guard in the NBA.
Jamal averaged 15.4 points, 1.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 2010-11.