Richard Jefferson on talking with Enes Kanter, "He believes that offense is more important than defense. Yes, I'm telling that to the media. Those are his own words. Not saying that he says that they're equally important. He says that in the playoffs, you need good offensive players. And I was like, you will not find a championship team that doesn't know to get stops in the last five minutes of the game."
Corbin: "You see why coaches that have been in for a long time won't put themselves in a situation where they have a young team..." "It doesn't matter how you scheme things when you have young guys. Young guys make mistakes in this league.
Something similar happened 10 years ago, when Russia-born Andrei Kirilenko’s contract year arrived. A few years later it looked as though something had been lost in translation. His role had changed so many times, neither he nor the Jazz seemed sure of it. The high salary impeded the team’s efforts to sign others.
Fast-forward a decade and you have another multi-position stat machine on the podium. Just like Kirilenko, Hayward is neither a team leader nor a pure scorer, merely a guy with many valuable skills.
They've got a lot in common in retrospect but that was AK's first year as a starter. He was an all-star and best player on a team that just missed the playoffs. It seemed to make sense at the time. Who knew he wouldn't ever be as good again?
Should the Jazz match any offer?
Up to $10-$12 million, sure.
Beyond that he’d need to be a superstar.
The Jazz keep waiting, but after four years that seems unlikely.
For all the things Hayward can be for the Jazz, what he could be for someone else is even more intriguing. Philadelphia, Dallas, Los Angeles and Phoenix are among teams with cap space to overpay Hayward. Picture him playing for a revamped Laker team. Or reminding the Jazz that Phoenix not only has its former player and assistant coach, but won 23 more games this year.
Among the goals he had last year was to increase his leadership. Although Hayward does so by example, he has made little headway as a vocal leader.
“I think I definitely made steps (in leadership),” Hayward said at locker cleanout Thursday. “I still have a ways to go, but definitely steps were made.”
Although his field goal percentage was the lowest of his career, his rebounds, assists and steals were up. The only other players in the league to average 15-plus points and 5-plus rebounds and assists were LeBron James, Michael Carter-Williams, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
Pete Maravich is the only other Jazz player ever to do so.
“I had a solid year. I didn’t shoot the ball very well, but we’ll see what the Jazz think, what other teams think when my agent and I start talking,” Hayward.
Nothing summarized his season more than late in Wednesday’s win over Minnesota. A potentially winning shot thudded off the glass without touching the rim. But Hayward followed with two impressive blocks.
There he was again, tantalizingly close to being great.
Indiana All-Star Paul George, who was selected right behind Hayward in 2010, signed a deal last fall worth up to $18 million annually. Stan Van Gundy, the former NBA coach, told 1280 The Zone last winter, “the way the game is going, a perimeter guy who is not a good shooter, not a real good shooter, I think that limits his value in today’s game."
He put Hayward’s value at $6.5 to $7 million, twice this year's salary.
But value is relative. To a team needing only one more piece, he’s worth far more.
Asked how close he and the Jazz were last fall when negotiations failed, Hayward said, “I don’t know numbers exactly, we didn’t really talk. I didn’t really think about it too much. We talked briefly, but we’ll talk about it again shortly.”
In other words, none of your business.
The problem with free agents is they’re much like New York real estate: if you don’t pay up, somebody will. Utah doled out over $12 million annually for Derrick Favors.
Anything beyond that would be risking another Kirilenko situation.
“It’s safe to say Gordon will get very significant salary, but we stand by our statement that we hope he’s a member of the Utah Jazz for the length of his career,” Lindsey said.
The Jazz have the money and it’s almost certain they’ll use it.
Half because they need him and half because someone else needs him even more.
there was an interesting tone to Corbin’s quotes, more revealing of the negative side than ever before. When asked how he felt about those who wanted him fired, he said “misery loves company” and “there’s a lot of miserable people out there.” He also spoke about the impact that the negative talk had on the players themselves, and how the coaching staff often had to respond with relentless positivity.
Gordon talked at length about being the #1 guy this season, and how that affected his season both on and off the floor. On the floor, it meant that defenses came at him relentlessly, trying to stop him and forcing him into contested jump shots that he couldn’t really make consistently. (Perhaps more worrying, though, was that he also wasn’t making the open jump shots consistently.) Off the floor, he said being the “man” to have to answer for the Jazz’s woes all season wore him down.
He did insist that the contract year speculation never got to him. I want to believe him, and he really does seem earnest, but comments from Richard Jefferson and others would seem to indicate that it weighed heavier on his mind that he let on.
On coaching, Hayward said that the entire team supported Ty Corbin throughout the season, but he felt that the Jazz should have ran more, as a team, in order to take better advantage of the Jazz’s youth’s speed and athleticism. He said departed coach Jeff Hornacek “is my guy”, but said ultimately coaching was not different with Brad Jones and Johnnie Bryant working with him throughout the year.
Not just the youth but playing at altitude it makes sense to run at home.
Marvin is a free agent this season, but said definitively that he would like to stay in Utah. That’s a big step for a veteran free agent who might like tok play on a contending team, instead, he seems like he’ll tell his agent to try to keep him here if the Jazz would like him back.
Also interesting was his talk about playing SF compared to PF. He says it’s not important to him on offense that both play really similar roles spacing the floor, but on defense, guarding the PFs of the league is “a little harder”.
Jefferson started by saying that Ty Corbin is a “veteran coach, and by that I mean a guy who coaches veterans well”. Jefferson was effusive in his praise for the job Corbin did during the season, both in managing his personal career and in the development of the young guys.
Jefferson also added that at this point in his career, he’d like to play a role on a contending team, but if that weren’t possible, that he’d prefer the rebuilding situation in Utah. He also mentioned that, while it wasn’t the case everywhere he’s been in his career, that everyone in the Jazz locker room was positive and he’d be happy to work with again.
Finally, he mentioned an ongoing debate between himself, Marvin Williams, and Enes Kanter as to which side of the ball was more important. RJ and Marvin said defense, as the veterans on the squad, but Enes Kanter said offense. Perhaps that isn’t surprising.
Jeremy said that he would like to be invited back to the dunk contest, and that he “expects to see him [Gordon Hayward] back here next year”. He also said that you can purchase any of the art he had on display by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
Derrick had a lot of good things to say about the team, saying he felt every single player on the team improved during the course of the season. As for himself, he felt he had 20-10 potential, or even 25-15 potential(!). He wasn’t sure if he was going to work with Karl Malone again this offseason, but did say he felt Hayward would be back with the Jazz next season.
They should put more work in with the Mailman! He's got potential to do what he says but will he put in the work? Haven't seen it from him yet.
Rudy spoke before his meeting with coaches and management, so he wasn’t able to shed light on how that meeting went. He did mention that it was hard at times to remain patient over the course of the lengthened 82 game schedule, especially seeing so many games from the bench. He did anticipate having a bigger role next season. He also mentioned that Richard Jefferson acted as an important mentor to him, calling him an “old man” in the NBA.
Alec, as usual, was a man of few words in his locker room cleanout media appearance. That being said, he mentioned that he thinks he can become a #1 offensive option in the league, should he mature as a player. He feels that shooting is the most important next step for him to become that player. He also feels like he needs to grow off the court, “as a man”, as he said, in order to get to that level.
Enes was interesting, maybe the most confrontational of the players thus far about his role. He says that he’s looked at the other top 5 guys in his draft class and sees them playing “major minutes”, and is disappointed when he sees that his two year average is around 18 MPG (his estimate).
You got on a team deep with bigs. This year you had your chance but you thinking offense is more important than defense blew that. Look in the mirror Enes!
He also mentioned the 3 point shot that he’s been working on, and has said that he plans to unveil it in game next season. He felt irked by the talk of him and Favors not being able to work together on the court, saying it was foolish, as they’ve worked together for 3 years now. Interestingly, he also pointed at Corbin’s experience, or lack thereof, calling him “a new coach”.
Trey is just so good at interviews, stellar as a rookie. He mentioned that he never stopped feeling like a rookie off the court, due to the various responsibilities of being a rookie given by the veterans on the squad, but that he started to feel like a veteran on the court in the last month of the season, especially as he felt comfortable in the last few minutes of the game, especially when hitting game winning shots.
I brought up his stated goal from the beginning of the season, that he feels he can become an all-star in the NBA, and asked him what he needed to do to catch up to that caliber of player. He said there was a huge difference between himself and those players. He mentioned getting to the line and finishing at the rim as important goals for him offensively. On defense, he mentioned that he had no consistency, essentially, he would let someone score on him once or twice and then get mad, deciding to stay tough on D throughout. He said he needs to watch guys like Chris Paul to understand how consistently fight on defense as a small point guard on a possession-by-possession basis.
9) Trey Burke: Burke broke his finger in the preseason and by the time he returned to the lineup, the Jazz season was essentially over. No rookie in this year’s class walked into more responsibility than Burke, who played 32 minutes a night in Utah and had the ball in his hands most of the time. He made the players around him better - averaging 5.6 assists on 1.9 turnovers as a rookie - he just needs more help on the offensive end from whoever Utah drafts this season.
Dennis Lindsey stopped short of promising the team would bring Hayward back. But Lindsey made it clear Hayward is in the plans.
"We look forward to him being a career Jazz member," Lindsey said.
Last fall, Hayward’s camp and the Jazz front office failed to reach terms on a contract extension. So in July, Hayward will be free to test his value on the open market. And the Jazz are in prime position to match.
"We’re confident in Gordon and you guys saw what we did the last few years as far as being very disciplined with our salary cap," Lindsey said, adding that the team has the funds to give Hayward a substantial raise and still sign another max-deal player if the right one were available.
Which max player can you get or even want? I wouldn't want Carmelo for example maybe Bosh.
"… We’ll stand by our statement that we hope he’s a member of the Utah Jazz for the length of his career."
Thrust into the role as the team’s top scoring option this season, Hayward struggled at times with his jump shot. But he still led the Jazz in scoring and was one of four players in the NBA to average at least 15 points, five rebounds and five assists a game.
Jazz management loves his versatile game, especially his ability to pass the ball.
One of Lindsey’s main directives for the fourth-year player: "have more fun."
"I think there are times he misses a shot and he feels like he’s got the weight of the world on his shoulders," Lindsey said. "I’m sure wins and losses weighed heavy on him. He actually shared that" in his exit interview.
Probably had more to do with the money he gave up and he watching go down the drain miss after miss.
Hayward said the year exposed some of his weaknesses and he plans to address a number of issues — starting with his jump shot (he hit just 30 percent of his attempts from 3) — in the offseason.
Asked whether he wanted to be back in Utah next year, Hayward was diplomatic and vague, saying, "Utah has been great for me. But it’s a business."
That doesn't sound like he really wants to be back. If that's the case try to do a sign and trade for him and let him go where he wants and get some people that want to be there.
But Hayward’s teammates remain convinced he’ll be back in Salt Lake City.
"I don’t think he’s going anywhere," point guard John Lucas III said. "He’s the key. He’s the future here."
"You never know how the offseason will go, but I plan on seeing him here," forward Jeremy Evans said.
For a stretch of roughly 40 games, the Jazz played nearly .500 basketball. But eventually the season caught up with them. The schedule toughened, players tired — both physically and mentally — and the Jazz struggled. Utah went 4-21 to close out the year.
And after preaching defense coming into the year, the Jazz finished the season ranked last.
The Jazz will have more than $30 million in salaries come off their books this season and have two first-round picks and one early second-round pick in a draft experts believe is the deepest in years. How the Jazz will proceed from here, however, is not set in stone.
"Do we take all three of the very good draft picks in a very good draft and get our vet and speed up the timeline? Or do we add another really good young piece to an already young base and slow-growth it? We’ll add up those value questions and see what’s best for our program going forward," Lindsey said.
For Lindsey, the season was difficult, but not necessarily surprising.
"I viewed it a little bit different relative to win-loss expectations," Lindsey said. "Reflecting on 25 [wins], certainly that’s nothing to be proud about, especially with the program here and the consistency here. But in some ways, [former GM Kevin O’Connor] and I and ownership, we were very sober going into the season with where we positioned the program."
With a quintet of key players all under the age of 24, the Jazz reiterated often that their youth would betray them before it would prove a boon.
Burke, meanwhile, is making lofty plans of his own heading into next season.
"I want to reach the playoffs," he said. "… We’ve got a young team, but we can’t keep saying that. There’s going to be a point where that young team has to start producing."
While he isn’t saying whether enough player development happened to re-sign Corbin — a decision the GM said will happen after a brief decompressing period — Lindsey isn’t about to consider the season an entire loss.
“Frankly, we hit several objectives as well,” he said, specifically mentioning Hayward’s passing and Burks’ performance.
“I think we can go through those minor wins and losses with each guy. We’ll do so. I’m very confident in our group, the character of our group, the ability to move forward. Whether it be with internal improvement or using our salary cap or using our draft picks, I expect us to be better next year.”
I would hope so even if they lose G.
Corbin admitted he isn’t sure whether he’ll be part of that future after holding his current position since taking over for Jerry Sloan in February 2011.
In the meantime, Corbin is grateful for contributions of veterans like Jefferson and Marvin Williams, for the way his mostly young players bounced back from a slew of losses and negative exterior influences in an effort to win and learn, for that 15-14 stretch in the middle of the season, and for moments like Wednesday night when his team, which beat Miami, Oklahoma City and Chicago, gutted out a 136-130 double-OT victory on the road on the final night of a rough year.
“It’s a good group of guys. They have great character,” Corbin said. “They have a chance to be pretty good if they continue to work hard.”
That, Burke said, will definitely happen this offseason after they went out on a positive note.
“Obviously with the ups and downs of the season … going out with a win (in Minnesota), it was a great feeling for all of us,” the 21-year-old rookie said. “We found a way to win. It was good to end the season that way going into the offseason. We all look forward to getting better and coming back strong.”
Maybe with a new coach and a new captain.
Maybe with a high draft pick like Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid, Julius Randle or Dante Exum.
But definitely with the idea to not have exit interviews the day after the regular season ends. In fact, Burke set his sights high for this time next season.
"I definitely plan on winning more. I want to reach the playoffs. I think that's one goal that I really have in mind," Burke said. "We've got a young team, but we can't keep saying that. It's going to be a point where that young team has to start producing and I think we're in the right direction."
Summer plans: Going to Germany next week for a couple of weeks to see a friend and return to North Carolina to work out.
Quotable: “I’ve said all year long, the way the Jazz organization has treated me, the way the community has treated me, I can’t imagine being anywhere else. I’ve made it very clear I would like to return here if possible.’’