Tag:Utah Jazz
Posted on: February 18, 2010 1:12 pm
Edited on: February 18, 2010 3:55 pm
 

Utah, Miami discussing Boozer (UPDATE)

Spurned in their efforts to land Amar'e Stoudemire, the Miami Heat engaged the Jazz in "serious, owner-level" discussions to land Utah power forward Carlos Boozer -- an effort that fell flat at Thursday's trade deadline, sources told CBSSports.com.

The talks brought to a head a season-long disagreement among Jazz officials as to what should be done with Boozer, in the final year of his contract at $12.7 million -- a luxury tax burden on Utah. Coach Jerry Sloan, recognizing how well the team has played with the combination of Boozer and Paul Millsap, has been lobbying to keep him. But ownership, mindful of a massive tax bill that will be due at the end of the season, has been exploring ways to shed Boozer's contract. One way to do it would've been to recruit the Wizards as a third teamin the scenario. Washington just acquired several expiring contracts in the Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison deal and was open to the possibility of accelerating its rebuilding.

One executive familiar with the talks said they emerged Thursday as a longshot possibility for a pre-deadline deal, and if not, the discussions would lay the groundwork for a possible resurrection of the scenario this summer. The executive's doubts that the talks had any traction proved accurate, and Utah was said to be not nearly as enthused about the scenario as Miami.

With no deadline deals, the Heat remain on equal footing with cap-clearing rivals heading into the critical July 1 free-agent period. The Knicks and Bulls cleared enough space to be within striking distance of adding to max free agents this summer, and the Clippers and Kings also shed money to join the field. The Nets, with no deadline moves, will have about $25 million in cap space this summer -- enough for one max player and enough flexibility to add a second through a sign-and-trade.

Miami's edge heading into the deadline centered around the fact that they already have one of the marquee potential 2010 free agents -- Dwyane Wade -- and $18-$20 million in space to add a second superstar. But the Heat have more competition in that dash for max players, and will have to convince Wade they have the ability to pair him with one of them in order to persuade him to sign a long-term deal to stay in South Beach.

Category: NBA
Posted on: March 11, 2009 2:47 pm
Edited on: March 11, 2009 10:02 pm
 

Jazz making noise with old-fashioned music UPDATE

The last time the Utah Jazz were winning like this, John Stockton was running the pick-and-roll with Karl Malone, Jerry Sloan was hoping for a third straight NBA Finals appearance, and the NBA was picking up the pieces after a damaging lockout.

With the Jazz, the names change but the song remains the same.

Utah tries for its 13th consecutive victory Wednesday night in Atlanta. Other than the fact that I surely just jinxed them, Sloan's crew is beginning to look as dangerous as any Western Conference team as we trudge into the final quarter of the NBA season.

You heard me, Lakers. Beware of the workmanlike, no-frills version of basketball artistry that is quietly getting warmed up in a big way in Salt Lake City.

UPDATE: And of course, I jinxed them. The Jazz fell in the second game of a back-to-back in Atlanta, losing 100-93 to the Hawks.

The Jazz won 11 in a row from April 1-18 in 1999. If they keep it going Wednesday night, they'll head to Florida this weekend with a shot at equaling the franchise mark of 15 straight, achieved twice during the 1996-97 season -- which ended with their first of back-to-back Finals losses to Michael Jordan's Bulls.

That night in what used to be called the Delta Center 11 years ago -- when Jordan picked Malone's pocket, dribbled the other way, and politely shoved Bryon Russell to the floor on his way to immortality -- seems like yesterday. Hard to believe it's been that long since the Jazz were in the Finals. Is it premature to start thinking they could be on their way back?

I don't think it's crazy.

I understand that as the fourth or fifth seed -- Utah is currently fourth -- the road would be exceedingly difficult. Assuming the Jazz could get past likely first-round opponent Portland, they'd be on a collision course with Kobe & the Lakers in the second round. The Jazz are 1-1 against the Lakers this season, playing both games without Carlos Boozer, who is back with a vengeance after missing 44 games with a knee injury. But Utah is 3-6 against the Lakers the past three seasons, becoming road kill for Kobe. Bryant is averaging 34.4 points per game and shooting .532 against the Jazz in the regular season since 2006-07. Kobe also scored 30 or more in five of the six games in the Lakers' 4-2 series victory in the conference semifinals last year.

If the Jazz fail to get past Kobe again, it'll feel an awful lot like their failure to get past Jordan in the Finals more than a decade ago. But sometimes a top-seeded team that seems destined for the Finals gets derailed by a hot team nobody wants to see in the early rounds of the playoffs. It happened to Dallas against Golden State a couple of years ago, and it's not farfetched to wonder if the Jazz could be that team this year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on: February 20, 2009 8:08 pm
 

We'll never see the likes of Miller again

The NBA lost a great man and a one-of-a-kind owner Friday when Utah Jazz owner Larry Miller died. He was 64.

Miller had been suffering from the ravages of Type II diabetes. The last time I saw him, Miller was confined to a wheelchair on the court during a halftime celebration honoring Jazz announcer "Hot" Rod Hundley, who was calling his 3,000th game when the Jazz played the New Orleans Hornets on Jan. 7. Two weeks later, Miller had both legs amputated six inches below the knees -- a telltale sign that the diabetes was taking over.

Miller left his mark in ways that a basketball blog would trivialize if I tried to give him a proper sendoff. The news release sent out by the Jazz mentions his entrepreneurial spirit, the college scholarships he and his wife, Gail, gave away, the charitable foundation that gave back millions to all the communities in which he did business. He lived to see 21 grandchildren born. What could be a better mark of a man?

Since this is a basketball blog, we have to talk about his basketball accomplishments, which are dwarfed by an otherwise extraordinary life. To me, Miller's mark on the game -- sadly -- already has been erased. He has employed one coach, Jerry Sloan, for 20 years. The Phoenix Suns just fired a coach, Terry Porter, after 51 games. Porter was the eighth NBA coach fired this season alone. I could look up how many head coaches have been fired since Sloan was hired, but it would make me sick.

Larry Miller understood loyalty. He understood winning. He understood people. He will be missed.

My father had Type II diabetes. Mercifully, he didn't have to experience all that the disease has to offer. We lost him three years ago to a massive heart attack, on Thanksgiving Day. There are marches and runs and telethons for every disease known to man. Diabetes is as bad as it gets, and those who are stricken with it suffer in anonymity -- and worse, with scorn and humorless jokes.

Whatever you do before you put your head on the pillow, do that for Larry Miller.

 

Category: NBA
Posted on: December 30, 2008 5:56 pm
 

Another setback for Boozer

More bad news on the injury front for the Utah Jazz and Carlos Boozer.

After undergoing a third series of MRIs on his left knee, Boozer will undergo an arthroscopic procedure to diagnose and repair the problem, the team said in a news release. Due to a cut on Boozer's knee near the scope site, the procedure will be delayed until Jan. 9.

Ouch. The team offered no timetable for Boozer's return, but you have to believe he'll be on the shelf until at least the All-Star break -- maybe longer. Boozer hasn't played since Nov. 19, missing 21 games and counting. His replacement, Paul Millsap, was productive with 15 consecutive double-doubles until spraining his left knee last Tuesday against the Bucks. Millsap has missed three games, and although Utah is 2-1 without both Boozer and Millsap, this is another huge blow to a team that has been riddled with injuries this season.

 

Category: NBA
Posted on: December 19, 2008 10:07 am
 

Jazz owner rips Boozer

Carlos Boozer was looking dapper in a nicely tailored suit Wednesday night as he stood in the bowels of the IZOD Center chatting with one of my competitors, Chris Sheridan of ESPN.com. What Boozer said during the interview has sent the already fragile Jazz into a tailspin.

What did Boozer say, you ask? That his strained left quadriceps tendon would keep him out until the All-Star break, or for the rest of the season? That Jerry Sloan was a grouchy old man? That Paul Millsap was the most overrated player in the NBA -- not the most underrated, the honor CBSSports.com bestowed upon him Thursday?

Nope. Nothing quite that controversial. Nothing even remotely surprising or combustible at all.

Boozer simply confirmed what anyone who follows professional basketball should have known: That he intends to declined his $12.7 million player option this coming summer and seek a long-term deal.

"I'm opting out. No matter what, I'm going to get a raise regardless," Boozer said. "I am going to opt out, I don't see why I wouldn't, I think it's a very good business decision for me and my family, but I'd also like to see what happens with the Jazz and stay here."

That quote rippled through the Jazz organization, all the way up to owner Larry Miller, who blistered Boozer on his weekly radio show Thursday.

 "It's one of the top 10 stupidest things I've heard an NBA player do in 20 years," Miller said.

Why would this come as such a surprise? Top-tier players like Boozer and Kobe Bryant (early termination clauses in '09), plus LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade (player options in 2010) specifically negotiated escape clauses in their current deals -- escape clauses that kick in before the current collective bargaining agreement expires. A host of others -- Dirk Nowitzki, Steve Nash, Amare Stoudemire, Michael Redd, Yao Ming, Paul Pierce, Richard Jefferson, Tyson Chandler -- have early termination clauses in 2010. What's the big deal?

All of these clauses were negotiated so marquee players would have a chance to sign long-term deals -- in many cases, the last of their careers -- under the current rules. Once the CBA expires in 2011, most players and agents believe the new agreement will be less favorable to them and more favorable to the owners. All of the above players will get more money if they opt out or terminate their contracts before the CBA expires than they would if they waited.

James has parsed his words carefully in discussing his 2010 options, but he has all but said what Boozer said the other night -- that he plans to decline his player option and become a free agent. That doesn't mean James, Boozer, Bosh, Wade and others will leave their teams; after all, their current teams can pay them more and give them longer deals. Boozer went so far as to say that in his quote, adding that he'd "like to see what happens with the Jazz and stay here."

Despite the fact that Boozer was merely being honest and essentially stating the obvious, Jazz coach Jerry Sloan expressed disappointment with his comments. Boozer went into damage control mode with local beat reporters; here is the transcript of their conference call. Boozer and the Jazz tried to blame the messenger, a standard media relations ploy when someone says something controversial. The spin was that Boozer thought he was simply chatting off the record with Sheridan, who spent a lot of time with Boozer and teammate Deron Williams while covering Team USA's gold medal run in Beijing. Boozer even invoked the old "the reporter put words in my mouth" tactic. Don't believe it.

There was nothing off-the-record or sinister about this, and nothing really surprising or controversial, either. It's just business, people. Good business, at that. Can't be mad at Boozer -- or any other player -- for that.

 

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com