While talking about his own health and personal struggles from this summer, Jazz owner Larry H. Miller took time Friday to chat a bit about the summer of 2009.
"Next summer," he said, "will be one of the most important summers in our history."
Miller added at his health-update press conference that he's "very worried" about the "big challenge" ahead for next offseason, during which three of the Jazz's top players Carlos Boozer, Mehmet Okur and Kyle Korver could become free agents along with Paul Millsap and three other bench players. If that happens, Utah would likely have to go above the luxury-tax level and pay a dollar-for-dollar-fee to keep its current core intact.
But don't bank on that happening, Miller forewarned.
"We're going to have to make some very, very tough decisions next year," he said. "I do not intend us to be a luxury-tax payer, but only because we have to have an economically stable franchise regardless of anything else." That decision will ultimately be on the shoulders of newly appointed Jazz CEO Greg Miller, his oldest son who was recently given boss duties general manager Kevin O'Connor and team president Randy Rigby. The elder Miller, who was released from the hospital after a two-month stay, said he doesn't intend to be as involved in the operations of his businesses as he has been in the past.
Greg Miller, however, said he will count on his dad to play a factor in Jazz transaction discussions.
"I would like to have him involved," Greg Miller said. "He's got too much knowledge and too much expertise, and he's too good of a resource for the franchise to not include him in the process. He'll be involved."
Utah's owner said he was "involved only a little at the first" in Deron Williams' contract extension negotiations. He wasn't surprised, either, that Williams ended up with a deal that could pay the point guard about $70 million and have him in Utah for an additional four years after next.
Miller was, however, surprised when Jazz brass told him they intended to match Oklahoma's four-year, nearly $15-million contract offer for backup swingman C.J. Miles.
"In fact, I had to actually bite my tongue from saying, 'We're paying him too much.' I restrained myself," Miller said. "After it was explained to me, it was probably a good decision. Time will tell."I had no input at all on that one at all. As a matter of fact, I tried to give input and they told me to shut up."