With a new general manager in place in Utah, executive VP of basketball operations Kevin O'Connor isn't speaking as frequently with the media, letting Dennis Lindsey handle that part of the job. However, O'Connor did talk to reporters on Wednesday, and while he declined comment on the Raja Bell situation, he addressed a few other Jazz-related topics. Jody Genessy of the Deseret News has the quotes, so let's check them out….
On whether the trade market will be active as the deadline approaches:
"I think it will be. And I think the reason it will be is because people will be concerned going into next year… with the extra luxury tax, the punitive tax, the repeater's luxury tax. I think some teams are going to be cognizant of that. Hopefully, we put ourselves in a pretty good position. We had planned on this from four years ago. Now I'm not smart enough to write all the numbers down, but [Jazz CFO] Bob Hyde did. He planned it and looked at it and said, 'Here's what we should look like.' We thought it'd be two years before the implementation before the tax would come in and we guessed right, and hopefully we can be the beneficiaries of making some moves."
On the importance of expiring contracts:
"I don't think you want to go with expiring contracts as king, because that means you're not dealing with players and you've gotta have players to win. But I think what you might see is a pretty good player at a price you might like that another team can't afford."
On whether the Jazz can contend for a title without a superstar:
"The only thing that I equate everything to is wins…. If I go back and look at Detroit when they went to five straight Eastern Conference Finals, one [NBA] Final and won one in those five years, I don't think you would have said that they had a first- or second-team team All-NBA player or superstar…. That’s a model that certainly has worked a great deal."
On whether this year's Jazz team is better than last year's:
"We haven't proven it yet. You can do all the paperwork that you want. You can put everything on paper that you say that we should be better at this position, we should be better at that position. We've got to go out and prove it. I like the fact that we've added pieces that I think will make us better, but I don't want to say to you that we're absolutely better. What I want to say to you is that I believe that we've improved ourselves. Now we've got to prove it."