When the clock strikes midnight tonight on the East Coast, free agents will be able to officially sign their names on contracts with NBA teams.
Whether or not that means someone in Utah or headed this way will hit the jackpot remains to be seen.
The Utah Jazz are keeping mum on whether or not they'll receive a John Hancock or a different players' signature on the opening day of the free-agent signing period for the 2008-09 season.
The Jazz have tendered at least one offer to their only free agent a qualifying offer believed to be in the neighborhood of $1.18 million to swingman C.J. Miles, who is hoping to land with a team that will offer him more playing time than he's gotten with the two-guard-heavy Jazz. If Miles does receive another offer reports last week indicated the Detroit Pistons might be interested in the 21-year-old talent's services then Utah retains the right to match the restricted free agent's deal.
Leading up to the free-agent frenzy, which began July 1 when teams and players were allowed to talk, Utah wrapped up business with the only other two players whose contracts could have expired this summer. Backup point guard Jason Hart, 30, took his one-year player option for $2.48 million, and the Jazz exercised their option to pay reserve power forward Paul Millsap, who recently underwent thumb surgery, $797,581 to play a third year in Utah.
Other than that, the team's highest priority this offseason is coming to terms with point guard Deron Williams, whose first contract expires at the end of the 2008-09 season.
The Jazz can now extend Williams' deal for up to another five years and about $90 million or for three years and around $50 million or somewhere in between. New Orleans point guard Chris Paul, who was taken a pick after Williams in the 2005 draft, recently opted for a three-year extension with a player option for a fourth year, with the Hornets, which is a possibility for Williams as well.
Williams, who has been vacationing in between U.S. Olympic team obligations, and his agent,Bob McClaren, are expected to begin chatting with the Jazz this week on his extension. McClaren and Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor could not be reached for comment Monday about when and where discussions would be held or for how long Williams and the Jazz are hoping to secure.
The Jazz must also soon come to an agreement with rookie-to-be Kosta Koufos if, as expected to happen, he is to participate in the Rocky Mountain Revue beginning next week. The summer league, which features six NBA teams, the Iranian Olympic squad and a D-League All-Star group, runs from July 18-25 at SLCC's Lifetime Activities Center in Taylorsville.
If the 7-foot Koufos, who was the Jazz's first-round pick, and Miles sign, Utah's roster for the 2008-09 season would include 15 players under contract. That means Utah would likely have to work out a trade if it hopes to lure in a free agent such as Los Angeles Clippers swingman Corey Maggette, who is receiving attention from a handful of interested teams, reportedly including the Jazz.According to hoopsworld.com, the Jazz might be one of the teams looking at acquiring Chicago shooting guard Ben Gordon in a possible trade.
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