After my 7 reasons to keep AK, this list just makes sense as being the next one. There have been many people calling for the team to dump him, for various reasons that stretch from the fact he is overpaid to the fact that the team needs cash next year (not really related, even though one causes the problems with the 2nd). So… on to the 7 reasons to trade AK.
- He’s overpaid.
The first reason that most fans turn to. The team, coming off of a 42-40 season (no playoffs) despite the loss of Stockton & Malone, was lead by AK. The Jazz didn’t want to lose him, and gave him a max contract. That contract might’ve been deserved based on his play that season… I don’t remember. And it’s not important… what happened happened. And then went out and got (in the next couple of years) Okur, Booze & Deron. All of a sudden, AK went from star to the 4th option (at best) on the offensive end. Very few teams can afford to give their 4th option a max contract, as the Jazz are doing right now. And then there is the argument that his play & numbers don’t deserve a max contract. That’s probably on the mark… but you can’t just lower his contract now.
- The Jazz will need cash next year.
The 2nd most common reason you’ll hear. The Jazz will not go over the salary cap if LHM has any say. Booze, Okur & Korver can all opt out/terminate their contract. Price, ‘Sap, Collins… they’ll all be free agents. And the team will need money to resign them (well, not Flop, but yeah). They don’t have that money… the thought is that trading AK (for expiring contracts?) will help free up some of that cash. Of course, no one notices the big hole that will be created on the defensive end. Not that it matters, of course… the Jazz don’t play D anyways.
- AK is playing out of position.
There are some out there (me included) that think AK would be better playing the 4 spot. So, if the team was able to trade AK for an actual wing… You know, someone that can hit the jumper (AK’s been improving on that). That would also make Brewer less of a liability offensively, as teams couldn’t leave 2 guys open on the perimeter to go double Booze. Of course, you would also need that player to be some sort of a presence defensively to help make up for the lack of presence of Booze (and the loss of AK).
- He can’t handle being the 4th option.
It didn’t seem to be too big of a problem last year. But we all know about the crying in Houston 2 years back, and the subsequent trade demands in the off-season. The question is… will it come back if he struggles or someone else steps up and becomes the 4th option or (god forbid) the team isn’t winning as much? If so, maybe trading him before his value starts slipping again might be a good thing. There are teams out there that could better utilize him if the Jazz don’t want too… the question is, how much are they willing to give up for him? And how much would the Jazz want? Can AK be a 1st or 2nd option on a winning team with his lack of both a jumper and an inside game? The Jazz don’t seem to think so. Is there any other team that does?
- AK isn’t a jump-shooter.
This kinda relates to the “out of position” argument. The team needs a wing that can hit a jumper… they currently have 3, but none of them start. And some might view last year’s “success” as a lucky streak… one that’ll come to an end this season (no reason to not think that, I guess, until he proves otherwise). In that case, adding a jump-shooting wing that can/will start is a good idea. The question is… do the Jazz need another jump-shooter? And how many jump-shooters out there can play semi-good D… and are available? AK just needs to work on his jumper right now and hope for the best.
AK has the ability to bring the ball up the court, he does it every now and then. In fact, occasionally he seems like a PG in a big-man’s body. He’s an alright passer. The problem is when he tries to become too fancy or what-not and starts having turnovers on no-look passes and the like. Passes that can raise the crowd when successful, but are just as likely (if not more) to stump the crowd and have them thinking “what was he thinking?” when the pass goes the other way for a fast break. In J-Slow’s ball-control style offense, that’s never a good thing. Getting a player that’s not as fancy but is able to control the ball better might benefit the Jazz, even if they lose the occasional highlight-reel play that AK provides to bring the crowd to it’s feet.
- Is AK too weak to defend the 4?
If he is in fact playing out of position, is AK strong enough to defend the 4 spot in the NBA? Some will look at his physical build and say no. Others will look at the physical build of some of the other 4s and say no. We can’t really know until/unless the team tries it out. But if the Jazz try it out (even just in practice) and decide that he isn’t, maybe it’s the right thing to move him. Semi-related are his injuries, which he seems to have occasionally (minor as of late, but still enough to hold him out for a couple of games here and there). Would guarding the league’s average 4 result in more injuries, or more serious injuries (because of the banging inside… something he doesn’t have to worry about as much when he’s on the perimeter)?
That’s how I see it. Thoughts? Comments? Questions?