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Utah Jazz: Looking back at the busy offseason

Published: Monday, Aug. 3 2015 5:19 a.m. MDT

Dennis Lindsey took over as the new Jazz general manager, a move which resulted in Scott Layden leaving Utah to fill the void left by Lindsey's departure in San Antonio.    (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) Dennis Lindsey took over as the new Jazz general manager, a move which resulted in Scott Layden leaving Utah to fill the void left by Lindsey's departure in San Antonio. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Just because it's called the offseason doesn't mean the Utah Jazz took the summer off.

Far from it.

Sure, vacations were enjoyed. R&R was soaked up. But quite a bit happened in Jazzland since May, when the team was dispatched from the first round of the NBA playoffs by the San Antonio Spurs.

The traditionally stable franchise experienced more change as it bid farewell and welcomed players, coaches and, most surprisingly, management personnel.

Before training camp begins — Media Day is Monday and practices start in earnest on Tuesday — here's a recap of the Jazz's busy offseason:

JAZZ-SPURS "TRADE": It won't go down as an official trade, per se. But the Jazz and Spurs swapped key employees, with Dennis Lindsey leaving San Antonio for Utah and Scott Layden making a beeline from the Beehive State to the Alamo City.

Newest Utah Jazz member Mo Williams is introduced to the media in Salt Lake City  Tuesday, July 3, 2012. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) Newest Utah Jazz member Mo Williams is introduced to the media in Salt Lake City Tuesday, July 3, 2012. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

This movement came about after Kevin O'Connor, the NBA's second-longest tenured general manager, decided to relinquish day-to-day GM duties and focus primarily on his longer-titled job: executive vice president of basketball operations.

With O'Connor stepping down as GM after running the Jazz's show since 1999, the organization gladly raided the Spurs' front office to hire Lindsey, considered one of the bright up-and-coming minds on the NBA's player-personnel scene.

"I've got a new playmate," O'Connor joked.

Lindsey's void in San Antonio was later filled by Layden, who'd toiled as an assistant coach in Utah for seven years after previously holding GM positions with the Jazz and the Knicks.

Layden, who wasn't interviewed by the Jazz to replace O'Connor, will now be top-tier GM R.C. Buford's new playmate.

Marvin Williams of the Utah Jazz, who was recently traded from the Atlanta Hawks, is presented to the media by president Randy Rigby during a press conference at the Zions Bank Basketball Center in Salt Lake City Thursday, July 12, 2012.  (Brian Nicholson, Deseret News) Marvin Williams of the Utah Jazz, who was recently traded from the Atlanta Hawks, is presented to the media by president Randy Rigby during a press conference at the Zions Bank Basketball Center in Salt Lake City Thursday, July 12, 2012. (Brian Nicholson, Deseret News)

DRAFT RECAP

Two things prevented the Jazz from having a first-round pick. First, they traded their own first-round selection to Minnesota as part of the 2010 Al Jefferson deal. It was lottery-protected, so Utah lost it by making the playoffs.

Secondly, Golden State's second-half tank job prevented Utah from getting the Warriors' top-seven protected pick that the Jazz could've gotten to finish off the 2011 Deron Williams deal. (They can still get a first-round pick from Golden State this season, but it's protected again.)

Utah tried and failed to trade up into the supposedly deep draft, but only ended up with the No. 47 pick: Tennessee Tech shooting guard Kevin Murphy.

Time will tell if Murphy pans out like previous successful No. 47 picks, Paul Millsap and Mo Williams.

Longtime Utah Jazz GM Kevin O'Connor, right, shakes hands with the man who replaced him, Dennis Lindsey.    (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News, Ravell Call, Deseret News) Longtime Utah Jazz GM Kevin O'Connor, right, shakes hands with the man who replaced him, Dennis Lindsey. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News, Ravell Call, Deseret News)

WILLIAMS SQUARED

Speaking of Mo Williams, he became the latest former Jazz player to return to the fold. The Jazz used part of the $10.8 million traded player exception received from New Jersey for Mehmet Okur last December to participate in a multi-team swap that resulted in the point guard coming back to his original NBA home.

Soon after, the Jazz traded starting point guard Devin Harris to Atlanta in exchange for small forward Marvin Williams, the No. 2 pick of the 2005 draft.

And, no, neither Mo or Marvin Williams will sport No. 8 like that other Williams used to back in the day.

IT'S A FOYE!

The Jazz made another roster addition in July when they picked up the Clippers' Randy Foye, a guard who gives the squad another player who can defend and shoot.

On top of that, O'Connor joked, "We finally got somebody not named Williams."

For what it's worth, Gordon Hayward put a locker room photo on Twitter that showed Foye will be the new No. 8, a number Josh Howard wore last year.

Foye has experience at both guard positions, which could come in handy depending on how soon Earl Watson returns from his knee surgery.

RAJA SAGA

Disgruntled veteran Raja Bell made his intentions known the day after the Jazz were eliminated in May, saying he wanted to end his second stint in Utah a year early. A reported buyout between Bell and the Jazz has yet to happen, so this bitter relationship continues to fester without a resolution.

On Friday, the Jazz announced that they agreed with Bell's camp that the 12-year NBA veteran should not attend training camp.

Not exactly a shocking development, considering the now-36-year-old Bell claimed Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin was "unprofessional" in their dealings and described how their relationship suffered "irreparable damage."

Bell is owed $3.5 million this season, so don't count on the Jazz to pay him for doing nothing for too long.

Another familiar face who won't be around this year: C.J. Miles. The swingman was not re-signed by the Jazz after spending the first seven seasons of his NBA career in Utah. He signed with Cleveland.

SUMMER WORKOUTS

Last year, Jazz brass couldn't communicate with locked-out players from July 1 until late-November. Imagine the giddiness of Corbin and crew to be able to keep in contact with their guys as much as they wanted to for the past four-plus months.

Corbin spent part of the summer making visits and, from afar, kept tabs on players' physical fitness and personal progress.

The coaching staff got to help teach younger guys — Alec Burks, Enes Kanter, Jeremy Evans, DeMarre Carroll and Kevin Murphy, in particular — during the team's participation in the Orlando Summer League in July.

The Jazz also had 12 players work out at the Santa Barbara-based Peak Performance Project training center — from guys like Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap to Slam Dunk champion Evans — whose picture was taken while jumping to touch a 121/2-foot-high object, by the way. That's the most Jazz players to ever participate in their six-year partnership, according to P3.

"The important thing is everybody looks good," Corbin said earlier this month. "They're working hard and they understand that we have to come into camp in great shape."

OLYMPIC TASTE

Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors, both considered major pieces of the Jazz's current/future puzzle, relished their invaluable opportunity to train with the U.S. Olympic team in Las Vegas.

Favors said being on the USA Select Team showed him what he needs to do to become an elite player. Hayward hopes it helps pave way for more success and opportunities.

"It was a good experience for both me and D-Fav. We were one of the only teams that had two guys from the same team represented on that Select team," Hayward said. "Derrick Favors and I, young guys, we're trying to get better. I think we both want to eventually make the Olympic team and that's the first step."

Added Favors: "Practices were tough and competitive. It was a good experience. It was an eye-opener. I learned that I could compete with those guys, but at the same time l learned that I've got a lot of work to do to be on their level consistently."

The youngsters had different answers on their upcoming roles with the Jazz, though.

Hayward said he wants to start, adding that he isn't sure if the bulk of his minutes will be at shooting guard or small forward, (not that it matters all that much in the Jazz offense).

Favors hopes for an increased role, but the power forward said he doesn't care if he backs up Millsap or starts.

"I just want to play," Favors said during a Junior Jazz clinics trip. "I'm really not worried about starting, all that stuff right now. I just want to go out there and play."

ADDITIONAL ADDITIONS

Lindsey wasn't the only one to join the Jazz from the Spurs this summer. Brad Jones, a former Jazz scout and ex-Utah Flash coach, was added to Corbin's staff in the wake of Layden's departure. Jones had been working as the head coach of the Spurs' D-League team in Austin before accepting a role as the Jazz's player development manager/assistant coach.

Corbin also promoted Michael Sanders to be a full-time assistant coach alongside Sidney Lowe and Jeff Hornacek. This past week, the Jazz added former University of Utah standout Johnnie Bryant to be Jones' player development assistant.

On the player side, the Jazz invited four players with varying levels of professional experience to camp: center Brian Butch, forwards Trey Gilder and Darnell Jackson, and guard Chris Quinn.

On a personal side, the Jazz family added a new member this summer. Evans married his college sweetheart, Korrie Walters, in August.

Considering camp is only a day away — and the offseason is finally in the rear-view mirror — this Corbin quote from a couple of weeks ago is even more fitting:

"We're anxious to get started to see where we are individually and then we have to build a team again."

EMAIL: jody@desnews.com, TWITTER: DJJazzyJody

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