Northwest Notes: Jazz, Timberwolves, Nuggets

The sale agreement that will transfer controlling interest of the Jazz from the Miller family to Ryan Smith is a “seismic change” for the franchise, writes Tony Jones of The Athletic. However, it remains to be seen whether the average fan will notice the impact of the change in team ownership.

As Jones points out, the coming offseason will be a good early test to see how Smith intends to run the team. Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert are both eligible for extensions, while Jordan Clarkson is a free agent and the Jazz would also like to fortify their roster with another solid rotation player, if possible.

Re-signing Clarkson and using the mid-level exception on an outside free agent may put Utah into tax territory, which is something the Miller family generally avoided — but if the Jazz are willing to go into the tax in Smith’s first year at the helm, it would bode well for his willingness to spend going forward.

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • The sale price for the Jazz ($1.66 billion) should be encouraging to Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor, who is exploring the sale of his own franchise. However, as ESPN’s Brian Windhorst observes in an appearance on Darren Wolfson The Scoop podcast (audio clip), Taylor hasn’t wavered from his stance that any buyer must keep the team in Minnesota, which will limit his ability to maximize the value of the team in any sale.
  • The Timberwolves finished the 2019/20 season just slightly over the tax line as a result of their deadline trade, a source confirms to Dane Moore of News Talk 830 WCCO (Twitter link). However, as Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic tweets, president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas is confident the team will stay out of the tax in 2020/21, reducing the likelihood of repeater penalties down the road.
  • The Nuggets are fairly set at point guard with Jamal Murray and Monte Morris under contract, but they shouldn’t rule out the possibility of drafting another one at No. 22 if certain prospect – such as Cole Anthony – are still on the board, writes Mike Singer of The Denver Post.
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