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InsideHoops NBA [HOME] Sept 16, 2003

Jazz fail to get Jason Terry

 


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The Utah Jazz have underpaid again.

Jason Terry is one of five individuals last season to score over 17 points a game with dishing out over 7 assists. Did the Jazz really think that the Atlanta Hawks were not going to match a 3-year deal - with Terrell Brandon's contract comes off the books in February? Even with the ownership question, the Hawks would be foolish to let JT go, just like the LA Clippers would have been foolish to not match Corey Maggette's 6-year, $42 million deal.

This leaves the Jazz tied with the Hawks and Bucks for the most shallow teams in the NBA. While Carlos Arroyo has been impressive playing for Puerto Rico and Andrei Kirilenko has been dominant playing for Russia this summer, how does this translate to an NBA season? Arroyo languished as the third option behind John Stockton and Mark Jackson last year, and Andrei's sophomore season saw flashes of brilliance mixed with amnesia regarding the team playbook.

The Jazz are obviously not done, as they need about $5 million more in salary just to meet the league minimum. They have 12 players signed to guaranteed contracts (one being the thief John Amaechi who has an average of 2 points a game to show for the first two years of his 4-year, $10 million contract.) What else can Kevin O'Connor do to improve the roster?

They're still looking to get something for nothing. Keon Clark fell into their lap so Sacramento could avoid cap space. If they could convince someone to take Amaechi for another underachiever, they'd do it. It depend how desperate other teams are. Would New York want to get rid of Clarence Witherspoon and his contract bad enough, they'd take on another underachieving center? Or for short-term, does Dallas want the cap relief of a swap for Chris Mills?

The Jazz have one advantage over the Hawks and Bucks. While those two teams are cracking in rookie coaches, Jerry Sloan will be starting his 16th year as head coach of the Jazz, in the midst of a 20-year playoff-appearance streak. This will be the year the streak ends (barring a miracle trade), but they shouldn't be the worst team in the NBA.



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