Utah Jazz Rumors

Western Notes: Jefferson, Lakers, Jackson

April 19 at 8:34pm CDT By Cray Allred

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com thinks that the modern NBA is marked by owners who unnecessarily intrude on basketball affairs, citing the pressure Warriors owner Joe Lacob has put on coach Mark Jackson. More from the Western Conference:

  • Richard Jefferson tells Mike Sorenson of Deseret News that he will be looking to join a playoff team when the Jazz veteran becomes a free agent this summer. “When you get to be almost 34 years old, you do want to play in the playoffs,” Jefferson said. “If that opportunity doesn’t present itself, then being here in Utah with a great group of guys and a quality coaching staff and the amazing fans…that would be something that would be high on my list.’’
  • Lakers executive vice president of basketball operations Jim Buss tells Mike Bresnahan of The Los Angeles Times [subscription-only] that his family faces a crucial time in running the storied franchise. “If we’re not back on the top — and the definition of top means contending for the Western Conference, contending for a championship — then I will step down because that means I have failed,” said Buss. “I don’t know if you can fire yourself if you own the team … but what I would say is I’d walk away and [let the Buss family] figure out who’s going to run basketball operations because I obviously couldn’t do the job.”
  • Despite the strong words, Buss reiterated that his family has no plans to sell the team. “There’s no question in my mind we will accomplish success.” said Buss. “We’re not selling the team. It’s not what we were raised to do. My dad groomed us for basically 20 years to do what we’re doing.”

And-Ones: Cap, Jackson, Rockets, Jazz

April 19 at 4:54pm CDT By Charlie Adams

The NBA has informed teams that next season’s salary cap will increase by close to $5MM, sources tell Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Stein references this piece by Larry Coon, which breaks down the changes. The news comes much to the delight of teams around the league, especially the Bulls and Rockets, who are expected to make a run at Carmelo Anthony. Let’s round up more from around the Association:

  • Phil Jackson promised change would be coming to the Knicks’ roster this offseason, reports Frank Isola of the New York Daily News. Jackson didn’t address the job status of coach Mike Woodsonbut one player tells Isola that Jackson said the team should be “grateful” for the work Woodson has put in for them over the past two seasons.
  • The Rockets have assigned Robert Covington and Isaiah Canaan to their D-League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, for tonight’s playoff game, tweets Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle.
  • Four veterans might be on their way out of Utah, writes Mike Sorensen of the Deseret NewsRichard Jefferson, Marvin Williams, Brandon Rush and John Lucas are four Jazz players without guaranteed deals in 2014/15 who will more than likely find themselves in a new uniform next year, suggests Sorensen.
  • Turkish basketball coach Zeljko Obradovic has drawn interest from three NBA teams whose offseasons have already begun. Djordje Matic initially tweeted the news, and a source verified the report to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando.

Cray Allred contributed to this post.

Western Notes: Calathes, Jackson, D’Antoni

April 19 at 12:52pm CDT By Cray Allred

Grizzlies point guard Nick Calathes has issued a statement to Sam Amick of USA Today on his suspension“I deeply regret my actions and apologize to my teammates and the organization for my poor judgment,” says Calathes. “Let me be clear: I never took any medication whatsoever for a performance-enhancing reason. I don’t agree with this outcome, and I will come back a better player and person when I return.” Here’s more from out West:

  • Tim Kawakami of Bay Area News Group says that it has been emphasized to him that no decision on Mark Jackson‘s future with the Warriors has been made (via Twitter). That would support the perception that Golden State’s performance in the playoffs could largely determine whether he is the coach beyond this year.
  • Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss are expected to meet with Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni within the next two weeks to discuss his future with the team, per Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Daily News.
  • Tyrone Corbin‘s agent has joined the Jazz in refuting the report that a decision had already been made to let him go, per Jody Genessy of Deseret News
  • The Clippers are poised to make a deep playoff run, and Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune credits Doc Rivers, who has improved the roster through acquisitions and development as both head coach and senior vice president of basketball operations.

Jazz To Fire Tyrone Corbin?

April 18 at 8:18pm CDT By Chuck Myron

8:18pm: Genessy is reporting that the team has denied the rumors that Corbin will be fired. “Not accurate,” Jazz president Randy Rigby said.

6:00pm: Jody Genessy of the Deseret News (Twitter link) reports that while it’s still very possible the team will part ways with Corbin, no decision has been made yet.

4:17pm: The Jazz have decided to fire coach Tyrone Corbin, a team executive tells Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News (Twitter links). Rumors of his cloudy future with the team have swirled all season after the Jazz decided to embark on a rebuilding project this past summer. Utah went 25-57, finishing in last place in the Western Conference this year.

Corbin took over in the middle of the 2010/11 season after longtime coach Jerry Sloan stepped down. The team went 8-20 the rest of the way that year, but Corbin guided the team to winning records the following two seasons. Utah appeared in the playoffs only once during Corbin’s tenure, and they were swept by the Spurs in the opening round in 2012.

Jazz small forward Gordon Hayward, a restricted free agent this summer, praised the job Corbin did this season, after a summer in which the team let Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Mo Williams and others sign elsewhere. The Jazz sacrificed their cap flexibility this past offseason to acquire draft picks attached to player-friendly contracts in a trade with Golden State, leaving the team with a mix of untested young players and mediocre veterans.

Center Enes Kanter, up for a rookie scale extension this summer, made a public call for the team to feature more of its young players on the floor together. Richard Jefferson, at 33, started 78 games and received the third-most minutes on the team this season, and Marvin Williams saw significant playing time, too.

Corbin’s contract is set to expire at the end of June, but it appears Utah is ready to cut ties and start looking for a new coach well in advance of the draft and free agency. The Jazz were reportedly going to take a “decompression period” of a few days before deciding Corbin’s fate, but it seems they’ve already made up their minds.

Eddie Scarito contributed to this post.

Western Notes: Leonard, Jazz, Bledsoe, Nash

April 18 at 4:03pm CDT By Chuck Myron

Kawhi Leonard is up for a rookie scale extension this summer, but it appears he envisions a long-term future with the Spurs, based in his comments to Jon Krawczynski of The Associated Press. Gregg Popovich believes the small forward will become the face of the franchise once Tim Duncan retires.

“I’ve been working hard to be one of the focal points in the NBA, one of the top guys. For him to say that and see that I could be the face, it just brings joy to me,” Leonard said. “I’m just happy that someone else sees it other than myself.”

Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin is on shaky ground in Utah, but soon-to-be free agent Gordon Hayward said Corbin did a “tremendous job” considering the circumstances this year, observes Steve Luhm of The Salt Lake Tribune.
  • Eric Bledsoe has been non-committal in his public statements about the notion of re-signing with the Suns this summer, though teammate and neighbor Ish Smith is confident Bledsoe will return, observes Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic. The Suns have said they intend to match any offer for Bledsoe, a restricted free agent.
  • Steve Nash is fine with a reduced role on the Lakers next season, one he expects will be his last in the NBA, notes Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports“They can’t rely on me, frankly,” Nash said. “Hopefully, I come back and play 82 games next year and the sky is the limit. But they can’t rely on me if they don’t know what I’m going to bring, so they got to evaluate those guys for next season.”
  • There’s a “strong possibility” the Jazz will have a one-to-one affiliation with the D-League’s Idaho Stampede next season, reports Gino Pilato of D-League Digest (on Twitter). The Jazz shared the Bakersfield Jam with four other NBA teams this season.
  • The Warriors recalled Ognjen Kuzmic from the D-League today, the team announced. Golden State has been shuttling him back and forth to help the Santa Cruz Warriors in the playoffs, and Kuzmic had 23 points and 18 rebounds in Thursday’s win.
  • Santa Cruz beat the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, who announced Thursday that the Rockets had assigned Isaiah Canaan and Robert Covington to play in the game (Twitter link). Houston brought them back to the big club today, the Rockets announced via Twitter.

Projected 2014 First-Round Draft Order

April 18 at 1:54pm CDT By Chuck Myron

The NBA has announced the winners of random drawings that broke ties in the draft order among teams that finished with the same records. Only one of those drawings involved lottery teams, and the Jazz were the beneficiaries, snagging the fourth-most lottery combinations instead of the Celtics. It’s only a slight advantage, since the Jazz will have a 10.4% chance at the top pick, while the Celtics will have a 10.3% chance, but perhaps most importantly, Utah will pick ahead of Boston if neither move up on May 20th, when the lottery is held.

Here’s the complete order, with places determined by drawing in bold:

  1. Bucks
  2. Sixers
  3. Magic
  4. Jazz — won drawing against Celtics
  5. Celtics — lost drawing against Jazz
  6. Lakers
  7. Kings
  8. Pistons — will send pick to Bobcats if the fall to ninth or lower in lottery
  9. Cavaliers
  10. Pelicans — will send pick to Sixers unless they win one of top three picks in lottery
  11. Nuggets — will send least favorable of own pick and Knicks’ pick to Magic
  12. Knicks — will send pick to Nuggets
  13. Timberwolves — will send pick to Suns if Phoenix passes them in the lottery
  14. Suns
  15. Hawks
  16. Bulls — from Bobcats
  17. Celtics — from Nets; won drawing against Suns
  18. Suns — from Wizards; lost drawing against Celtics
  19. Bulls — won drawing against Raptors
  20. Raptors — lost drawing against Bulls
  21. Thunder — from Mavs
  22. Grizzlies
  23. Jazz — from Warriors
  24. Bobcats — from Trail Blazers; won three-way drawing against Rockets and Heat
  25. Rockets — finished second in three-way drawing against Bobcats and Heat
  26. Heat — finished third in three-way drawing against Bobcats and Rockets
  27. Suns — from Pacers
  28. Clippers
  29. Thunder
  30. Spurs

Northwest Rumors: Hayward, Rubio, Saunders

April 18 at 11:29am CDT By Chuck Myron

Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey isn’t promising that restricted free agent Gordon Hayward will be back with the team, but Lindsey said Thursday that he wants to have Hayward remain in Utah for the rest of his career, observes Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune. Hayward’s teammates are confident he’ll stay with the Jazz, though Hayward didn’t offer much in the way of hints.

“Utah has been great for me,” Hayward said. “But it’s a business.”

Hayward and the Jazz have nonetheless indicated plenty of mutual interest, as I detailed when I examined the small forward’s free agent stock. Here’s more from around the Northwest Division:

  • Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune expects Ricky Rubio and agent Dan Fegan to ask for an extension that’s closer to the maximum, with an average annual value probably in the neighborhood of $15.5MM, than to Stephen Curry‘s four-year, $44MM deal.
  • The sale of the Bucks will likely be a boon to Wolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders, as Zgoda writes in the same piece. Saunders’ share of the Wolves will be 6% by the end of his five-year contract, and if the $550MM price of the Bucks dictates the value of the Minnesota franchise, Saunders’ stake will be worth about $33MM.
  • The NBA has approved the sale of a minority stake in the Thunder to Tulsa energy company executive George B. Kaiser, the team announced in a press release. It’s the portion of the team that fellow energy executive Tom L. Ward had owned. Kaiser’s net worth is $10.1 billion, according to Forbes.com. Minority owner G. Jeffrey Records also transferred some, but not all, of his share to others within the ownership group.

Jazz To Explore Extensions With Kanter, Burks

April 18 at 9:22am CDT By Chuck Myron

Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey acknowledged Thursday that the team needs stability after last summer’s whirlwind of changes, and he told reporters, including Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune, that the team will consider rookie scale extensions for Enes Kanter and Alec Burks. Both will be eligible to receive the extensions between July and the end of October.

“It’s definitely something we’ll explore,” Lindsey said. “Whether we get a deal done, I don’t know. But we’ll sit down and talk to both of their representatives when the time comes.”

The team signed Derrick Favors to a four-year, $48MM extension this past offseason, but it didn’t come to terms on an extension with Gordon Hayward, who’ll be a restricted free agent this summer. Kanter, a Max Ergul client, and Burks, who’s represented by ASM Sports, would hit restricted free agency in 2015 if the Jazz don’t extend their contracts this year. Both saw about twice as many minutes this season than in 2012/13 as they established themselves as integral members of the team’s rotation.

Kanter nonetheless said Wednesday that he wanted to see the Jazz use more lineups that put him together with the team’s younger players. Hayward, 24, is the oldest of a group that includes Kanter, Burks, Favors and rookie Trey Burke, all of whom were lottery picks. The groundwork for long-term stability appears to be there if the Jazz want to keep them together.

The Jazz’s only commitment beyond next season is to Favors, leaving the team with plenty of cap flexibility. Neither Kanter nor Burks is likely to approach the kind of deal that Favors got, and while rookie scale extensions are mostly the purview of potential stars in the making, role players occasionally wind up with rookie scale extensions, too. Quincy Pondexter, who scored a four-year, $14MM extension with the Grizzlies this past fall, but Kanter and Burks can probably command more than that, given their youth and upside as lottery picks.

Western Notes: Lakers, Faried, Corbin, Wolves

April 17 at 9:43pm CDT By Alex Lee

It is certainly no surprise that, after we rounded up the Lakers’ exit interviews earlier tonight, there is already more buzz coming out of Los Angeles. This is the Lakers, after all. Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports is reporting that Pau Gasol would consider reuniting with former coach Phil Jackson, now running things with the Knicks. Citing a source, Spears hears that the interest is mutual.

Meanwhile, Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report mentions both Van Gundys, Stan and Jeff, as names that stand out to him should the Lakers part ways with Mike D’Antoni. Within the same story, Ding breaks down the team’s draft lottery odds as well as maps out the complicated status of their draft picks beyond this season. Here is what else is going on in the Western Conference:

  • Earlier this month it was Nuggets general manager Tim Connelly that had some kind words to say about Kenneth Faried. On Thursday, it was Brian Shaw’s turn. As Chris Dempsey of the Denver Post writes, the head coach wants and expects to have Faried in a Nuggets uniform next season. Faried was frequently mentioned in trade rumors this season.
  • The fate of Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin will hang in the balance just a little longer, according to Steve Luhm of the Salt Lake Tribune, who writes that the team will take a “decompression period” before making a decision on whether or not to bring the coach back. Luhm reports that a decision could come down as soon as this weekend.
  • With Rick Adelman’s departure imminent, the Wolves head coaching wish list includes Tom Izzo, Fred Hoiberg and Stan Van Gundy, reports Spears in his final power rankings column.
  • It’s a small silver lining in an otherwise ugly season in Minnesota, but ESPN’s Marc Stein tweets that the Wolves can take solace in the fact that they refused to deal rookie Gorgui Dieng at the trade deadline before they knew what they had (Twitter links). The Louisville product was a bright spot in Minnesota down the stretch and figures to be a key contributor in his second season.

Northwest Rumors: Adelman, Corbin, Karl, Stotts

April 16 at 10:43pm CDT By Charlie Adams

In wake of the speculation that Rick Adelman will step away from coaching next season, Andy Greder of the Pioneer Press looks at how the longtime coach’s legacy and examines the influence he’s had on the likes of Doc Rivers, Gregg Popovich, and Tom Thibodeau. Here is tonight’s rundown on the rumors out of the Northwest Division:

  • Adelman will meet with Wolves president Flip Saunders and owner Glen Taylor within the next 24 hours and make a decision about next season “fast,” tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500ESPN.com. Greder adds that the decision might surface as soon as this week (Twitter link).
  • Former Nuggets coach George Karl wouldn’t be interested in taking on a coaching role for a rebuilding team like the Wolves, reveals Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune.
  • Jazz players, including Trey Burke and Derrick Favors, have advocated for Tyrone Corbin‘s return next year, but Aaron Falk of the Salt Lake Tribune doesn’t think it’s a certainty that the first-year coach will remain in Utah beyond this season. The Jazz concluded their season with a double overtime victory over Minnesota tonight.
  • John Canzano of the Oregonian thinks the Blazers would be wise to lock up Terry Stotts to a long-term extension in Portland. Waiting too long to show that the team has faith in Stotts might have a negative impact on the franchise, Canzano argues.