Utah Jazz: Wild day as Paul Millsap, DeMarre Carroll leave; Jazz make big trade with Warriors
ORLANDO, Fla. — If it wasn't clear that the Utah Jazz are in full youth-movement mode, it certainly is now after Friday's flurry of activity.
Consider this fact that evolved on a day that included a massive Utah-Golden State trade and big free agency news:
Twenty-three-year-old Gordon Hayward is now the longest-tenured Jazz player.
More proof of a new era in Beehive State basketball on a wild day?
One day after reports surfaced about center Al Jefferson leaving for Charlotte, it came out that longtime Jazz power forward Paul Millsap is also leaving Utah after his seven-year stint.
Millsap isn't the only one heading to Atlanta — for two years and $19 million, per reports. The 28-year-old will be accompanied by ex-Jazz small forward DeMarre Carroll, who agreed to a two-year, $5 million deal with the Hawks on Friday.
That was hardly the only Jazz news to break on Friday, either.
Utah also made a big trade with Golden State to acquire center Andris Biedrins, small forward Richard Jefferson, shooting guard Brandon Rush, unprotected first-round picks in 2014 and '17, two second-round picks, and an undisclosed amount of cash, a source confirmed to the Deseret News.
In exchange, the Warriors received second-year Jazz shooting guard Kevin Murphy, a source said, along with valuable trade exceptions worth the amount of the contracts for Jefferson ($11 million) and Biedrins ($9 million), and $24 million in cap relief that will partly used to sign Denver guard Andre Iguodala, according to reports.
The Jazz will not comment on any transactions during this moratorium period (ending July 9) until everything is finalized and approved by the NBA office.
Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey wasn't kidding last week when he said, "We're a little incomplete as far as roster spots go, so we have some work to do."
Having a hard time keeping up with Jazz roster moves, which include six players being picked up in trades in the past eight days? Here's a refresher: Since draft night June 27, the Jazz have acquired point guard Trey Burke (via Minnesota), center Rudy Gobert (via Denver), point guard Raul Neto (via Atlanta) and the Warrior trio of Biedrins, Jefferson and Rush.
The only Jazz players with guaranteed contracts coming back this fall include Hayward (Utah's No. 9 pick in 2010), Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter, Alec Burks, Jeremy Evans and Marvin Williams. Guard Jerel McNeal, a late 2012-13 roster addition, is with the team in Orlando for the upcoming summer league, but he has a non-guaranteed contract.
The Jazz will certainly sign at least one more point guard — if not two — this offseason to play with and, perhaps, help mentor the 20-year-old Burke. It's also possible that the team will find a spot or two for summer-league participants, who begin action Sunday morning. It's not out of the question that former Utah guards Randy Foye, Jamaal Tinsley or Mo Williams could return, either.
Friday began with a juicy tidbit that the Jazz might pick up former University of Utah center Andrew Bogut in a trade with the Warriors.
Hours later, though, that report dissolved and evolved until facts finally pushed their way through the rumors.
The trade that surfaced helped the Warriors with financial relief they needed, but the multifaceted transaction also pushed Utah's salary closer to the league minimum that's expected to be in the neighborhood of $52.5 million.
The Jazz took on three expiring contracts from Golden State that total $24 million, boosting Utah's payroll — relatively small previously because of all of the young players — up to the $49 million mark.
Utah did pick up veterans and shooting in the deal, as Lindsey had said was a priority this offseason.
Jefferson, a 12-year veteran, has an NBA career average of 15.0 points per game, although he scored a career-low 3.1 points per game in just 10.1 minutes per contest last season for the Warriors. Utah will be his fourth NBA team.
Biedrins, a 7-footer from Latvia, is coming off a season in which he averaged career lows in nearly every significant statistical category (0.5 ppg, 2.9 rpg and 0.8 bpg). The 27-year-old's career averages are 6.4 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.1 blocks.
As for Rush, the five-year shooting guard missed nearly the entire 2012-13 season with a torn ACL. The 27-year-old (as of Sunday) has averaged 9.0 points, 3.6 rebounds and 41.3 percent shooting from 3-point range in his career with the Warriors and Pacers.
Because those three players' deals are up after next season, the Jazz will be able to be potential players in what is expected to be a mega-offseason in 2014, with a free agency class that is much more loaded than this year's offering.
If Utah chooses, it still maintains the financial flexibility to sign multiple members of its young core to long-term deals. Hayward and Favors are both eligible to negotiate extensions this summer — something Lindsey and their camps will soon begin doing.
Carroll had expressed an interest in returning after playing his high-energy form of hustle ball in Utah since 2012.
"I'm a Utah Jazz until they don't want me anymore, and I'm going to leave it at that," Carroll said.
With Millsap leaving — despite the sides expressing "mutual interest" in continuing the relationship earlier this week — the Jazz are bidding farewell to one of their cornerstones for the past seven years. Though undersized as a power forward at 6-foot-8, the Louisiana Tech product was a workhorse whose game transformed from simply being a rebounding specialist into being an all-around offensive threat.
Millsap was also a durable rarity in this modern NBA, playing in 540 of a possible 558 games while averaging 12.4 points and 7.0 rebounds in Utah since being picked 47th overall in 2006. He was so respected by Jazz brass, Lindsey made it a point to visit Millsap at his Salt Lake City home first thing Sunday night when the free-agency period began.
At locker clean out in April, Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin lauded both Millsap and Jefferson for being top notch on the court, in the locker room and in the community.
"They've been great," Corbin said. "They're two great pros for us. They helped us a lot. They carried us for the most part. They're two really, really good guys who are pros about their business."
As the NBA goes — and the key players on the Jazz grow younger — turns out they'll be somebody else's pros from here on out.
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