The Utah Jazz said their goodbyes and parted ways for the summer this past week. They’ll spread out in every direction, leaving Salt Lake City for the likes of California and France, Texas and Turkey.
As for the franchise itself, the direction it will take this summer is somewhat less certain.
— Jazz player contract status
» Derrick Favors
» Trey Burke
» Rudy Gobert
» Jeremy Evans
» Erik Murphy
Eligible for extensions
» Enes Kanter
» Alec Burks
» Malcolm Thomas
» Ian Clark
» Diante Garrett
» John Lucas III
Unrestricted free agents
» Richard Jefferson
» Marvin Williams
» Brandon Rush
» Andris Biedrins
Restricted free agent
» Gordon Hayward
Utah Jazz 2013-14 season
Record » 25-57
Offensive ranking » 25th
Defensive ranking » 30th
Scoring leader » Gordon Hayward (right), 16.2 ppg
Assists leader » Trey Burke (far left), 5.7 apg
Rebounding leader » Derrick Favors (left), 8.7 rpg
After the team’s locker room at EnergySolutions Arena had been emptied Thursday, Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey, the man entrusted with remaking this community’s most beloved franchise, spent the better part of an hour discussing his plans for setting aside one of the worst seasons in the team’s history. A full season after pressing reboot on the roster, letting veteran free agents walk to make way for a youth movement he believes could one day turn the team into a title contender, Lindsey described a hopeful, albeit fluid, course going forward.
"It’s tough to sit here today with the record we have," Lindsey said. "But the plan we enacted, I think we’re really on some stable ground. And if we can get the right things to happen, we can move toward an exciting territory that could really rally our group and community for something greater."
In a one-backward-for-two-forward plan, the Jazz seemingly mastered the first step this season. The team won 25 games, the second fewest since moving to Utah in 1979. But from Lindsey down, those around the organization believe this was rock bottom and better days lie ahead.
Though Lindsey won’t promise how long it might take to create a bona fide winner.
"I really don’t think, ‘Hey, I’ve got a year or two to show some improvement,’ " Lindsey said. "We have a real opportunity here to get it right for the Utah Jazz. If we were to set it up and the next management group was to reap the benefits of a lot of seeds sown, then so be it.
"We’ll just continue to try to do the right thing."
There are, however, timelines for plenty of things in a summer marked by several key decisions.
First things first: What to do with Ty Corbin?
Corbin, in his fourth season since taking over for Jerry Sloan, is out of a contract come July. But Lindsey said management, ownership and the coach will deal with the issue "in short order" now that the season is over.
Corbin is a former player and is thought well of by players and members of the Jazz organization. But he’s amassed a record of 112-143 and saw his team’s play drop sharply during the last 25 games of the season.
What happens with the coaching situation will no doubt impact things down the line.
Losses piled up all season long for the Jazz, though it hardly bothered some fans. Each defeat simply meant the team was one step closer toward a high draft pick in a year when the talent pool is said to be as good and deep as any in recent memory. After winning a tiebreaker Friday with the Boston Celtics, the Jazz have a 33.7 percent shot at top-three pick and a 10.4-percent chance of landing No. 1 overall. The are guaranteed no worse than the seventh choice.
The team also owns Golden State’s first-round pick, which comes in at No. 23, thanks to a deal made last offseason to take on Richard Jefferson, Andris Biedrins and Brandon Rush. And if the draft is truly as good as advertised, the team’s early second round pick could also yield fruit.
The June 20 draft should be key in the franchise’s turnaround.
"Do we take all three of the very good draft picks in a very good draft and get our vet and speed up the timeline? Or do we add another really good young piece to an already young base and slow-growth it? We’ll add up those value questions and see what’s best for our program going forward," Lindsey said.Next Page >
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