Ian Thomsen of Sports Illustrated reports:
The Jazz realized their relationship with Williams was headed toward the same cliff as LeBron, Bosh and Carmelo, and so they decided to make the best of a hopeless future. Will they next seek to move other expensive commitments to Al Jefferson (owed $29 million over the next two years), Paul Millsap ($16.7 million over the next two years) and/or Mehmet Okur ($10.9 million next year) in order to pare down the payroll and ready themselves to exploit the next collective bargaining agreement? Do they try to trade Andrei Kirilenko’s expiring $17.8 million for long-term prospects, or do they allow his contract to expire this summer for payroll relief?
First, Jerry Sloan leaves, now Williams is sent away. For two decades we knew who the Utah Jazz were and what they stood for as a franchise. Now we, and they, have no idea. They can pursue the same objectives as always, but with no certainty of replicating the discipline and excellence that defined them for so long.
All we know for sure are these two things: 1) the Jazz, who were No. 8 in the West before the Williams trade, will undoubtedly fall out of the playoffs without their leading playmaker and scorer; and 2) the owners of the mid- and small-market teams like Utah will be more galvanized than ever to create a system that can enable them to retain their best players.