Utah Jazz: Oklahoma is OK by C.J. Miles
There won't be anybody questioning C.J. Miles' decision to skip the Rocky Mountain Revue any longer. Now the Jazz's biggest concern is whether Miles will be playing for another team entirely this season.
Miles signed a four-year, $15 million contract Friday with Oklahoma City, according to sources. Utah will have seven days to decide about matching the offer sheet and keeping the restricted free-agent guard.
"We received an offer sheet but we really haven't had a chance to analyze the contract," Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor said. "So we'll wait and see what we've got and make a decision based on what's the best thing for the Jazz."
The Jazz will have to take into account the luxury-tax implications of matching the offer, especially with young guards Ronnie Brewer and Morris Almond already on their roster. Miles averaged 5.0 points and played in 60 games last season.
Miles would be able to compete for a starting job with the newly relocated Oklahoma City team, which went 20-62 last season in Seattle but is building around top draft picks Kevin Durant, Jeff Green and Russell Westbrook.
"I'd be excited for C.J.," Deron Williams said. "I want him back here in the baddest way. I think he can be a great player for us if he gets the opportunity. I don't think he's ever been really given an opportunity to come in and prove himself."
Troy Weaver, who spent four years as the Jazz's director of player personnel and head scout, left in May to become Oklahoma City's assistant general manager. Although Weaver liked Miles, Oklahoma City general manager Sam Presti was said to have driven the deal.
Even though he has played three seasons, Miles was the 14th youngest player in the NBA last season. The 21-year-old was a second-round pick by the Jazz in 2005, part of the last class of high school players able to enter the draft.
He showed flashes of his potential during a 10-game stretch at the end of December and beginning of January. With Gordan Giricek banished by Jazz coach Jerry Sloan, Miles stepped in and averaged 10.5 points on 55.6 percent shooting.
But Miles found himself the odd man out of the rotation after Kyle Korver's arrival in a trade with Philadelphia. He bounced game to game from the end of the bench to the starting lineup as an injury replacement for Brewer or Andrei Kirilenko.
The Jazz and Miles also were at odds over his decision to skip the Revue both this summer and last. Miles' camp saw it as an injury risk with potentially millions at stake as a free agent; Sloan saw it as the wrong decision for a young player trying to develop.
This week, Sloan described Miles as having been "way, way behind" at the start of training camp last year. Miles' representatives believed he was punished for the decision and questioned why it was still being revisited months into last season.
Williams said he thought Sloan "held it against [Miles] a little bit last year" that he didn't play in the Revue while adding that Miles "put himself in a position to get a lot of money in this league, and I think a lot of people speak highly of him."
"I think people think that C.J. was just not going to get any offers or he's just sitting at home, but he works out hard every day," Williams said. "I talk to him once a week and he's always working out, always getting better."
When he was in New York as part of a USA Basketball promotional trip, Williams said "a lot of guys, LeBron [James] and some of those other guys, were saying how impressed they were with C.J."
What was missing was evidence that some team was prepared to make Miles a serious offer. He returned to the Jazz last season on a $945,610 qualifying offer. But that all changed Friday.
Miles' offer from Oklahoma City is on par with what Detroit's Amir Johnson (three years, $11 million) and Washington's Andray Blatche (five years, $15 million) signed for last summer.
The two were fellow high school players and second-round picks in 2005 along with Miles.
The offer to Miles is guaranteed for three years with a fourth-year team option. It is said to dwarf previous multiyear contracts the Jazz had talked about with Miles, believed to be worth no more than $4 million for two years.
C.J. Miles regular season statistics with Utah Jazz since being drafted:
Year G MPG PPG
05-06 23 8.8 3.4
06-07 37 10.1 2.7
07-08 60 11.5 5.0
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