A couple of topics to discuss… the first is the exercising of a player option that helps crowd the roster even more, and the 2nd is a news article with a couple of interesting points.
Well, say what you want about playing time, but one thing seems certain… money talks. Just ask Jason Hart, who exercised his player option for next year and will remain with the Jazz. This despite a horrible season last year (after being a serviceable starter for the Clippers for 22 games the year before) that ended with him losing the back-up PG spot and getting DNP-CD’s in 17 of the last 30 games… and 10 of the 12 playoff games.
Hart will make $2.484 million next season. He had until June 30 to decide about the option, but Neff said there was little debate with Hart likely having to accept a minimum contract ($1.070 million) as a free agent.
It’s not really a surprising move… no one is gonna give up money (even if it is “only” a million dollars). Especially not when you can get $1 million for sitting on a bench.
Neff said there had been no talk of a buyout, although that could change closer to the July 1 start of free agency.
“There’s always that hope,” Neff said. “That’s a big investment for a third guard, so you always have that. In this day and age, to give someone close to half the midlevel [exception] and then not play him isn’t that wise.”
Not that Jason is a bad-guy or anything, but I’d really like to see a buyout happen. It’ll give the Jazz one more roster spot, which’ll be important on a team that obviously isn’t good enough to win it all as is (they’re not playing anymore) but doesn’t have much space to make changes. With the emergence of Ronnie Price, I really think the Jazz could get by with a league-minimum player as the 3rd string PG. Or, maybe someone else… I’d like to toss a name out there. Kevin Kruger.
The second thing is a article in the Daily Herald (via Yahoo! Sports) titled Patience has been Jazz trademark. It’s pretty straightforward… don’t do something rash (though if the Raptors did offer Chris Bosh for Booze, I’d have to consider it). But there’s some other things in the article that I find worth mentioning…
For starters, this team needs to improve its defense and could use a big man in the middle who can block shots.
Utah has Kyrylo Fesenko, who played most of the season with the Utah Flash in the D-League, but Fesenko isn’t much of a shot blocker and isn’t the answer on defense for next year.
This is seriously depressing… I might have to go cry. Hopefully Fesenko can be the answer at the back-up center spot.
Speaking of the D-League, Morris Almond appears ready to help Utah on offense, which brings up another issue for the Jazz to address in the off-season: the logjam at shooting guard.
Ronnie Brewer made big strides, but the Lakers played so far off from him that the fans were closer to Brewer than Bryant. No wonder Boozer was double- and triple-teamed; no one had to guard Brewer from the outside.
Almond led the D-League in scoring with 25.6 points per game and proved he’s ready to play in the NBA on the offensive end, but Utah already has C.J. Miles and Kyle Korver.
I really like Brewer, but it’s gonna take a lot of work if he’s to be a threat as a jump-shooter. The ideal shooting guard would be a combo of him & Almond… a jump-shooter who can play some D… (like CJ a bit?)… but that’s not what the Jazz have. They have to find a happy medium between the 3 guys… something that won’t happen with both KoKo & No Knees still on the squad and taking minutes at the 2-spot. I guess we’ll have to take a wait-and-see approach during this off-season as the Jazz make minor tinkers with their more-or-less set-in-stone roster for next year.