Jazz Rumors

2020/21 Salary Cap Preview: Utah Jazz

Hoops Rumors is looking ahead at the 2020/21 salary cap situations for all 30 NBA teams. Due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the NBA, it’s impossible to know yet where the cap for 2020/21 will land. Given the league’s lost revenue, we’re assuming for now that it will stay the same as the ’19/20 cap, but it’s entirely possible it will end up higher or lower than that.

After acquiring Mike Conley and Bojan Bogdanovic during the 2019 offseason, the Jazz were viewed as a strong candidate to join the likes of the Lakers and Clippers in the top tier of the Western Conference. Utah flashed that potential at times, but some prolonged slumps raised doubts about whether the team is a true contender.

At 41-23 and fourth in the West, the Jazz are theoretically well positioned to win a playoff series this summer, but Bogdanovic’s season-ending wrist injury limits their upside. Utah should get another opportunity to reach its ceiling next season, however, as nearly all its key contributors remain under contract.

Here’s where things stand for the Jazz financially in 2020/21, as we continue our Salary Cap Preview series:

Guaranteed Salary

Player Options

  • Mike Conley ($34,502,132)

    • Note: Early termination option
  • Total: $34,502,132

Team Options

  • None

Non-Guaranteed Salary

Restricted Free Agents

Unrestricted Free Agents / Other Cap Holds

Offseason Cap Outlook

It’s a safe bet Conley won’t be passing on the opportunity to earn $34.5MM next season, so we’ll assume he waives his ETO (ie. opts in). If we add his salary to Utah’s guaranteed contracts, along with Niang and the team’s first-round pick, we’re up to $116MM for 10 roster spots. As such, there’s virtually no doubt the Jazz will be operating as an over-the-cap team.

The Jazz’s ability to make use of their full mid-level exception will depend in part on whether they re-sign Clarkson. Committing mid-level-type money to Clarkson could put Utah right up against the tax and take the full MLE off the table. But if Clarkson walks, the organization should have a bit of flexibility.

Cap Exceptions Available

  • Mid-level exception: $9,258,000 3
  • Bi-annual exception: $3,623,000 3

Footnotes

  1. Tucker’s salary becomes fully guaranteed after July 22.
  2. Niang’s salary becomes fully guaranteed after July 9.
  3. These are projected values. If the Jazz’s team salary continues to increase, they may be limited to the taxpayer mid-level exception ($5,718,000).

Note: Minimum-salary and rookie-scale cap holds are based on the salary cap and could increase or decrease depending on where the cap lands.

Salary information from Basketball Insiders and Early Bird Rights was used in the creation of this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Pistons Notes: GM Search, Kennard, Bone

The Pistons will focus on external candidates in their search for a new general manager, according to James L. Edwards III of The Athletic. The new GM will work alongside senior advisor Ed Stefanski to chart a course for the future of the franchise, while Malik Rose and Pat Garrity will be retained as assistant GMs.

Edwards identifies several potential candidates for the position: Pelicans assistant GM Bryson Graham, former Hawks GM Wes Wilcox, Jazz GM Justin Zanik, Clippers assistant GM Mark Hughes, who was considered for the GM job in Chicago, and Thunder VP of basketball operations Troy Weaver. Edwards also suggests that University of Memphis assistant coach Mike Miller, who had Pistons vice chairman Arn Tellem as an agent during his playing career, could be brought in as another assistant GM.

There’s more from Detroit:

  • Rod Beard of The Detroit News agrees on Hughes and Weaver and offers a few other candidates who might be in play. Shane Battier grew up in the Detroit area and serves as VP of basketball development and analytics with the Heat, but Beard believes it would be difficult to talk him into leaving Miami. Chauncey Billups is a Pistons hero from his playing days and has been considered for other front office openings. Tayshaun Prince, who teamed with Billups on the 2004 championship team, became VP of basketball operations for the Grizzlies last year. Celtics assistant GM Michael Zarren has spent 14 years with the organization and has turned down other opportunities, but Beard believes the Pistons should contact him.
  • Working Luke Kennard back into the rotation would have been a priority if the season had continued, writes Keith Langlois of NBA.com. Kennard, who had been battling tendinitis in both knees since December, was set to return in the Pistons’ next game when the hiatus was imposed. With Kennard about to enter the final year of his rookie contract, Detroit will have to decide soon whether to make a long-term commitment or try to trade him, and Langlois sees his shooting skills as an important element for a rebuilding team.
  • The Pistons may have other priorities at point guard that will prevent Jordan Bone from earning a roster spot next season, Langlois adds in the same piece. Derrick Rose has another year on his contract, and Langlois expects the team to find a veteran to complement him. Also, there will also be plenty of opportunity to fill the position in a draft that’s heavy on point guards. Bone saw limited time in 10 NBA games as a two-way player this season, but averaged 19.9 points per 36 minutes and shot 38% from 3-point range in the G League.

Knicks Officially Hire Perrin, Extend Perry

The Knicks have officially hired Walt Perrin as their assistant GM for college scouting and given GM Scott Perry a one-year extension through next season, the team announced in a press release.

Perrin’s decision to leave the Jazz and join the Knicks’ front office came to light on May 18. Perrin spent nearly two decades in Utah. He was initially hired as the team’s director player personnel before eventually being promoted to vice president of player personnel. Prior to joining the Jazz in 2001, he was a scout in Minnesota and Detroit, holding the title of director of college scouting with the Pistons.

News of Perry’s extension was reported nearly a month ago and confirmed today by team president Leon Rose.

The Knicks have also hired Brock Aller as VP of basketball and strategic planning and Frank Zanin as an assistant GM for pro scouting.

“We have assembled a diverse front office comprised of highly regarded and experienced basketball executives who have influenced some of the most successful players and organizations in the league,” Rose said in the press release. “These additions will complement the structure we already have in place and assist us in acquiring talent and developing strategies to build a team our fans can be proud of.”

Aller spent the last seven seasons with the Cavaliers in various roles. He has been their senior director of basketball operations since July 2017. He was also in the Pistons organization for nine years.

Zanin joins the Knicks after three years as a pro scout with the  Thunder. He previously held the title of assistant GM with the Nets.

Ingles Changes Tone On Possible League Return

  • Following up on March comments that suggested Jazz forward Joe Ingles might avoid a return to league play this season due to safety concerns, Ingles clarified his stance on the matter in a recent tweet“When it’s safe to go back and play, I will not let my teammates down!” he said, in part.

Former Jazz Coach Jerry Sloan Passes Away

Former Jazz coach Jerry Sloan has passed away due to complications from Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia, the team announced today in a press release. Sloan was 78 years old.

“Jerry Sloan will always be synonymous with the Utah Jazz,” the club said in a statement. “He will forever be a part of the Utah Jazz organization and we join his family, friends and fans in mourning his loss. We are so thankful for what he accomplished here in Utah and the decades of dedication, loyalty and tenacity he brought to our franchise.”

After a two-and-a-half-year stint coaching the Bulls from 1979-82, Sloan took over as Utah’s head coach during the 1988/89 season. He remained in that role for 23 years, compiling a 1,127-682 (.623) regular season record with the franchise during that time. He also won 96 postseason contests with the Jazz, leading the club to two NBA Finals appearances against Michael Jordan‘s Bulls in 1997 and 1998.

Sloan’s 1,221 wins as an NBA head coach place him fourth in league history, behind only Don Nelson, Lenny Wilkens, and Gregg Popovich. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009.

Prior to becoming an NBA coach, Sloan was a standout player, having been drafted fourth overall by the Baltimore Bullets in 1965. He spent most of his playing career in Chicago, earning a pair of All-Star berths and six All-Defensive nods for the Bulls.

We at Hoops Rumors send our condolences to Sloan’s family and friends.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jazz Notes: Bogdanovic, Perrin, Booker

Bojan Bogdanovic originally injured his right wrist in a late November game, Tony Jones of The Athletic tweets. The Jazz swingman will undergo wrist surgery on Tuesday and won’t return if the season resumes. Bogdanovic had an MRI after the original injury and tried to play through the pain but aggravated it at various times throughout the season, Jones adds.

We have more on the Jazz:

  • The team won’t immediately seek a replacement for vice president of player personnel Walt Perrin, Jones reports in a separate tweet. Instead, the current staff will divide up his responsibilities. Perrin is joining the Knicks as an assistant GM after being in Utah’s front office since 2001.
  • Recently retired forward Trevor Booker has become a fan favorite in Utah despite only playing two years with the Jazz, as Sarah Todd of the Deseret News details. Booker was playing in the Chinese Basketball Association but returned to the U.S. to undergo foot surgery. He decided to retire after the pandemic. When Booker announced his retirement on social media, he received an outpouring of well wishes from Jazz fans.
  • Georges Niang provided details about the precautions being taken at the team’s training facility. Get the details here.

Bojan Bogdanovic Undergoing Season-Ending Wrist Surgery

1:24pm: Confirming that Bogdanovic will undergo season-ending surgery on Tuesday in New York, the Jazz announced in a press release that the procedure will repair a ruptured scapholunate ligament. According to the club, Bogdanovic actually first injured his right wrist “sometime in 2019.”

12:40pm: Jazz forward Bojan Bogdanovic will undergo a surgical procedure on his right wrist, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who reports (via Twitter) that the surgery will end Bogdanovic’s season. He’s expected to be fully recovered for the start of the 2020/21 campaign.

With the remainder of the ’19/20 season and the start date for next season still very much up in the air, we don’t know exactly what Bogdanovic’s recovery timeline will look like. Still, based on Woj’s report, it sounds like it’ll be a multi-month process, extending through the summer.

As Wojnarowski explains (via Twitter), Bogdanovic injured his right wrist in January and played through it for the rest of the season. Sources tell ESPN that his discomfort re-emerged during the NBA’s hiatus, prompting the team to decide to shut him down and have him undergo surgery. The Jazz have an eye toward the long term, since the forward is in the first season of a four-year deal.

Bogdanovic, who is under contract through 2023, will earn $18.7MM annually for the next three years. The 31-year-old enjoyed a career year in his first season with the Jazz, averaging 20.2 PPG, 4.1 RPG, and 2.1 APG with a .447/.414/.903 shooting line in 63 games (33.1 MPG).

Assuming the ’19/20 season can be completed, Bogdanovic’s injury will put a serious dent in Utah’s chances of making a deep playoff run. He was a key part of the club’s success this season — the Jazz had a 113.5 offensive rating when Bogdanovic played, compared to just 105.0 when he sat.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Knicks To Hire Walt Perrin As Assistant GM

The Knicks are finalizing the hiring of Jazz executive Walt Perrin, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports (via Twitter) that Perrin will be an assistant general manager in New York.

Perrin, who has spent nearly the last two decades in Utah, was initially hired as the team’s director player personnel before eventually being promoted to vice president of player personnel. Prior to joining the Jazz in 2001, he was a scout in Minnesota and Detroit, holding the title of director of college scouting with the Pistons.

John Hollinger of The Athletic, formerly a Grizzlies executive, praised the hiring for the Knicks, referring to Perrin as someone who’s a “fixture at every event with an even remotely relevant prospect” (Twitter link).

Perrin will be the second noteworthy addition to the Knicks’ front office since Leon Rose assumed president of basketball operations duties in March. The organization previously hired away capologist Brock Aller from the Cavaliers to be the Knicks’ VP of strategy. Rose also elected to retain GM Scott Perry for at least one more year.

Georges Niang Provides Insight Into First Workout Back

  • Jazz forward Georges Niang gave insight into his first workout at Utah’s practice facility, which was recently reopened amidst the coronavirus pandemic, as relayed by Eric Walden of the Salt Lake Tribune. “The guy that is on our training staff has to be in full [personal protective equipment] — whether that’s a mask, gloves; I know he’s carrying around a spray bottle and a towel,” Niang said. “So, basically every step that I take or wherever I go, that place is getting sprayed down.”

Draft Notes: Jones, Stanley, Oturu, Reed, Nnaji, Combine

A pair of early entrants out of Duke have signed with agents who aren’t NCAA-certified, officially signaling that they’ll go pro and remain in the 2020 NBA draft. Tre Jones has signed with BDA Sports, according to the agency’s Instagram account, while Cassius Stanley has joined ISE Basketball (Twitter link).

Both Blue Devils prospects had been expected to keep their names in the draft, so their moves to secure representation don’t come as a surprise. Both players are ranked in the top 50 on ESPN’s big board for 2020, with Jones coming in at No. 33 and Stanley at No. 50.

Here’s more on the 2020 draft:

  • A couple more players on this year’s early entrants list have signed with agents and will remain in the draft. Minnesota big man Daniel Oturu has joined BDA Sports, per the agency (Instagram link). Meanwhile, DePaul’s Paul Reed has opted for Ron Shade of Octagon, tweets Evan Daniels of 247Sports.com. Oturu and Reed place 36th and 51st respectively on ESPN’s list of 2020’s top prospects.
  • Arizona forward Zeke Nnaji has had virtual meetings with the Pelicans, Wizards, and Hornets so far, and has one lined up with the Jazz later this week, says Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News (Twitter link). A possible first-round pick, Nnaji is ranked 34th overall on ESPN’s big board.
  • The NBA has sent teams ballots to vote on prospects they’d like to see participate in the 2020 draft combine, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). The combine, originally scheduled to take place next week, has been postponed indefinitely, but the league still hopes to hold it in some revamped form, either in-person or virtually.