SALT LAKE CITY — Hurry on over, the Jazz’s Midsummer Madness sale is happening today! They’re clearing out their inventory and making room for the 2015 models! No reasonable offer will be refused!
They have last year’s models, such as Trey Burke and Rudy Gobert, neither of whom is untouchable as the NBA draft approaches. They have some well-maintained players with low, low mileage, such as Derrick Favors, Alec Burks, Jeremy Evans and Enes Kanter.
Everything’s for sale if the deal is right — the one that will get the Jazz the No. 1 pick in the draft — and players know that. General manager Dennis Lindsey wouldn’t hesitate if the right opportunity arose. It took him all of one draft to acquire Burke to run the offense. Now he’s making news again, a regular Monty Hall when it comes to proposing deals.
Reports early this week claimed the Jazz were willing to part with any or all of the following: Burks, Favors and their No. 5 and 23 picks — all to get a top talent. That talent would be Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker, either of whom could become the Jazz’s first all-star since the Great Crash, i.e. the year Jerry Sloan quit, Deron Williams got traded and Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap began inching toward the exits.
Now the Jazz have shown nobody is off the board. Gordon Hayward is a restricted free agent whom they can re-sign, and probably will. But a sign-and-trade this summer isn’t out of the question. Burke is better than anyone thought, at a younger age. But in Lindsey’s world, who knows?
Old Jazz theme: Stability is all; don’t fix it if it isn’t broken.
New Jazz theme: Shop now for best selection!
While this philosophy is jarring for a franchise that seldom budged from its assigned slot, it’s also encouraging for fans. There’s a simple formula that says it all: Bad teams equal interesting drafts.
Who ever cared when the Jazz were picking 27th (Jacque Vaughn) or 17th (Eric Leckner)? Though some lower picks turned out to be compelling players (Andrei Kirilenko 24th, Karl Malone 13th, John Stockton 16th), it’s not like the choices set the fan base ablaze on draft night.
Because of all the successful years, the Jazz didn’t get high picks for decades. After selecting Thurl Bailey at No. 7 in 1983, a top-10 pick eluded them until 22 years later when Deron Williams was chosen at No. 3. Even that was a minor mess-up. Though Williams was a nice choice, Chris Paul turned out better and more durable.
Traditionally the Jazz did nothing edgy. They clung to their picks as though they were gems. Fans were invited to the arena on draft night to watch on the big screen, but often would arrive late, drifting in to see whom the Jazz chose before vacating the premises.
The team tried juicing things up by making the announcement to the hometown crowd a minute before the commissioner made it public, but it was still hard to fan the flames.
Thursday’s draft promises to be far more intriguing. The combination of deep talent and a high pick — plus Lindsey’s go-for-broke attitude — makes this year’s selection spellbinding. Don’t take a bathroom break. Just like last year, when they acquired Burke in a trade with Minnesota, things could get wooly when the lights go up.
Clearly the Jazz are in deal mode. They might just toss the Mormon Tabernacle Choir into the negotiations if it will improve their position. Meanwhile, free agency season is just around the corner.
The good part is Lindsey is making no secret of his aspirations. At this very moment he’s probably on the phone using a modified version of the old sales line: “What’s it gonna take to get you into this car?”
The bad part is that your favorite replica jersey could already be obsolete.
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