Thursday, July 09, 2009

The Jazz, Millsap, and You

I've been following the ongoing Utah Jazz salary cap dilemma for a while now, and it's a wild and crazy soap opera.  Here we have Boozer, Memo, Harpring & Korver with expiring contracts, Millsap looking for a boatload of money, and AK with a near-untradeable contract.  What's an owner to do?  First, let's look at the facts:
Fact: Boozer is a better player than Millsap.  That's not to say that he puts as much effort into his game, especially on the defensive end, but the point remains that he is an all star. 
Fact: AK's contract was an act of sheer stupidity that didn't seem like it at the time.  AK seemed to be the future of the franchise, and locking him up made sense.  At the same time, once we signed Boozer and Okur, we should have looked at trading AK.  Now it's impossible because he's not nearly as valuable as he was, but Boozer came in to essentially take AK's position. 
Fact: Millsap wants too much money.  While Anderson Varejao just got way too much tossed at him by Cleveland yesterday, I can't imagine paying that to Millsap.  Yes, he's a hard worker.  Yes, he's a fan favorite.  At the same time, will he ever be a perennial all star?  I don't know that he will.  He's a good piece for a contending team, but he's never going to be the go-to guy a la Karl Malone.
Fact: Harpring's contract is an albatross.  I like Harpring.  He's tough, he's another workmanlike player, but at $6 million this year for the condition he's in, he's not worth it.  His expiring deal might be a valuable chip in a trade though.
Faced with these facts, I think we ought to do a couple of things.  One, if Millsap does head for Portland for the rumored price (5 years/$50 million or so), we let him go.  He's just not worth that amount of money, especially when he'd still be a bench player behind LaMarcus Alldridge in Portland.  If he's got a reasonable salary (around 5 years/$35 million), we match.  Then we work a trade like what Bill Simmons proposed on twitter...a 4-way with Utah, Detroit, LA Clippers, and Dallas where we get Josh Howard for Boozer and parts.  If we could send AK out for an expiring contract, maybe we do that too.  If we could trade Harpring's $6 million into an MLE style player as well, I would love to see that.  I think a little of this, a little of that, and we could end up with a very good team next year.  Again though, the last thing I would do is bring back Millsap as a bench guy.  Ultimately, that's not what he wants, his protestations to the contrary.

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