Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
(Scott Sommerdorf | The Salt Lake Tribune) Al Jefferson answers questions for a swarm of reporters in teh Jazz locker room. After losing in Memphis, and missing the playoffs, the Utah Jazz cleaned out their lockers and met with the press, Thursday, April 18, 2013.
Utah Jazz: Players leave team for summer, some for good (with video)

Offseason figures to bring big change for Jazz, who have up to 10 free agents.

First Published Apr 18 2013 09:08 pm • Last Updated Apr 19 2013 12:03 pm

The Utah Jazz gathered for a final time, literally picking up the remaining pieces of a broken season, tossing them into boxes to be shipped home.

Thursday marked the last official step of an early ending season. Hours after eliminating themselves from playoff contention with a loss in Memphis, the Jazz were back at EnergySolutions Arena, cleaning out their lockers, meeting with coaches and management for exit interview and then, well, exiting.

At a glance

A closer look

» The Jazz left EnergySolutions Arena for the final time Thursday, cleaning their lockers to mark the end of the season.

» As many as 10 players could be free agents in the offseason.

» GM Dennis Lindsey says coach Tyrone Corbin has “full support” of the franchise.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

It closed a season that left the Jazz out of the playoffs for the second time in three years. All that remained were players reflecting on the games that got away in a 43-39 season and the team’s general manager establishing a standard for an offseason in which as many as 10 players will be free agents.

"We’re not going to avoid our realities," Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey said. "We’re going to have tough conversations and we’ll call a spade a spade."

Not included in those conversations, though, will be a change in leadership on the bench. Tyrone Corbin, who has one year remaining on his contract, doesn’t appear to be going anywhere.

"Ty’s our coach and has the Miller family’s full support," Lindsey said. "You guys know how we do it around here. It’s the blame-the-coach culture in sports. We subscribe to a little different philosophy."

Assuming Corbin is locked into a fourth year at the front of the bench, after going 87-89 in the first three, the questions turn to who his players will be.

Lindsey addressed an offseason in which the Jazz essentially have two options: to make a splash in free agency or trades with upwards of $40 million they’ll have in cap space, or to hand over the future of the franchise to Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter and Gordon Hayward.

"If we’re able to do something bold," Lindsey said, "then we’ll say, ‘Hey, we’re all in for [next year].’ If we went strategic and young, if that’s the right thing, we’ll tell the fans that. Hopefully, they can get excited around a young, hungry group that has its challenges."

Can that group carry the Jazz back to the Western Conference’s elite if surrounded by the right players? One teammate — maybe soon to be former teammate — said yes.


story continues below
story continues below

"They’ve got a great group of young guys," Jefferson said. "I really believe if they can stay together it’s going to be trouble."

Jefferson headlines the group of Jazz free agents, which also includes Mo Williams, Paul Millsap, Randy Foye, Earl Watson and Jamaal Tinsley. Lindsey declined to talk specifically about the team’s interest in re-signing any of the players, although a scenario in which both Jefferson and Millsap return is almost unthinkable.

"They’re going to have a ton of options because there’s a lot of money on the market," Lindsey said. "They both fully have earned the right to their unrestricted free agency. I do think they both appreciate the situation that they had here."

Tinsley and Foye both said they wanted to return to the Jazz, while Watson said, "I don’t know," when asked if he could see a future back with the Jazz.

The key point of Thursday was that it was April 18, the playoffs had not yet begun and the Jazz were finished.

"The standards here are that we’ve been a perennial playoff team," Lindsey said, "and even though we’ve had a winning record, I think we fell short of one of our goals, namely being in the playoffs."

The Jazz season was derailed by a lopsided losing road record, one devastated by the team’s inability to win consecutive games away from EnergySolutions Arena until April. The Jazz were swept in nine straight road games, including road trips of four and three in March.

"Some of those losses on the road," Corbin said, "we didn’t perform as we wanted to. Those can be disappointing."

Jerel McNeal, the Jazz’s least tenured player having only signed weeks earlier, was the last to meet with coaches and management and therefore the last to leave the arena.

When he was gone, all that was left were scattered shoe boxes, and on the rolling chair in front of Jefferson’s locker, a mess of playing cards featuring Jefferson in Boston, Minnesota and Utah.

The disappointment lingered.

Next Page >


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.