SALT LAKE CITY — From what I read, Americans are saving more than they have in a long time. Apparently they’re still worried about the economy, plus they like seeing money grow in their bank accounts.
Still, there is a never-ending temptation to buy something RIGHT NOW.
In that light, I’d like to share what limited knowledge I have regarding accumulation of wealth and acquisition of assets: Sit on it.
I don’t mean like The Fonz used to say on “Happy Days.” I mean don’t do anything for the time being. There will be plenty of opportunity for spending when the time is right.
I know the venture capitalists are smirking right now, but if I were Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey I’d tell my secretary to notify callers that I’ll get back to them this summer.
Then I’d go shopping for Boogie Boards.
I bring this up because the NBA’s trade deadline is rapidly approaching, and along with it come the usual trade rumors. Most of them say the Jazz are trying to trade Al Jefferson and/or Paul Millsap. I wouldn’t do that, unless the team can get, oh, Chris Paul in return — which isn’t likely to happen. (Side note: Trades should have a 30-day guarantee, like kitchen knives; all you pay is shipping if you want to return the item.)
Anyway, the Jazz should lay low and let the Feb. 21 deadline pass. They’re not going to do anything in the postseason this year, anyway. Then next summer they can spend away, when Jefferson’s and/or Millsap’s contracts are off the books. There are potentially nine free agents on this year’s Jazz team. That could permanently change the team’s look. But it should also give them a lot of flexibility.
This is a departure from my opinion the last time the Jazz were in serious free agent/trade mode. That was two years ago when they gave up Deron Williams to get Devin Harris and Derrick Favors. I still think that was a good move. Williams wouldn’t have stayed in Utah when he became a free agent in July of 2011. So they got Favors in return for an unhappy star.
Why is that different from now? Why not get something for Jefferson or Millsap, before they leave on their own? Because neither of the aforementioned players is as discontent as was Williams. There’s a realistic chance the Jazz will still want one of them next year, and at least one of them will reciprocate. If the Jazz don’t want either, the team can take the available salary cap money and shop the summer sales.
There’s no compelling reason to take on new contracts right now.
It’s amazing what can be accomplished if you have money, whether it’s buying a house or finding friends. The Jazz could use the $15 million they pay Jefferson, or maybe the $7 million Millsap is earning, and go find a permanent point guard. Though players like Paul, Derrick Rose, Kyrie Irving and Tony Parker have time left on their contracts, it’s nothing a little creative planning — and a lot of cash — couldn’t overcome. If needed, the Jazz could hover near the bottom of the salary scale and hoard money until a great player becomes available.
Instead of taking what another team has to offer in the way of mid-level players — reportedly Tiago Splitter, Patty Mills and Stephen Jackson for Jefferson — the Jazz should sit tight. If they have a chance to get Parker, Irving or Portland’s Damian Lillard they should think hard about it. If the Bulls offer Rose, the Jazz should triple-check his knee. If L.A. offers Paul, I’ll assume there’s a bait-and-switch going on.
In other words, if the Jazz can get an All-Star in a trade, I’m OK with it. Otherwise I’d put my money under the mattress and wait until the weather turns balmy. I wouldn’t spend my cash on pending free agent guards such as Derek Fisher, Earl Boykins, Shelvin Mack or Mike Bibby. I’d just window shop. Who knows, money could even make out-of-reach players susceptible. (Dwight Howard, are you listening?)
Kevin Durant isn’t in Oklahoma City, Kevin Love in Minnesota or Marc Gasol in Memphis for the endorsement deals. Top players still play in outposts if the money’s right.
Is getting a superstar to Utah unrealistic? Kind of. But money and winning speak loudly. Whether you’re buying houses or building teams, one rule of commerce always seems to apply: Doors open quicker when you have cash to flash.
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