Saturday, July 19, 2008

"We should be woo'd and were not made to woo"

Yes, more Shakespeare means more Ceejay news. Apparently C.J. has signed an offer sheet to play with the Oklahoma Jerkoffs or whatever they are calling themselves.

"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.

"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 drive the deal." (Siler, Salt Lake Tribune, 2008)

Essentially the Jazz control his destiny as a Restricted Free Agent because the team threw him a very small bone a few weeks ago:

"The Jazz, who tendered the three-year veteran a one-year qualifying offer this offseason for $1.2 million, will have seven days to match the restricted free agent's agreement with the newly relocated franchise from Seattle." (Genessy and Buckley, Deseret News, 2008)

While I wasn't a fan of his single cut "Whip Game", which he recorded last summer at Dee Brown's studio, I was a fan of C.J.'s potential as a basketball player. (Btw, Whip Game has been removed from YouTube) As such, locking up this guy (who very well could become exactly what the Jazz want at SG) for 4 years at the low-low rate of $3.75 million per season is a steal of a deal. After all, this is the same franchise that's paying Jason Hart nearly as much, and paying Matt Harpring almost twice as much per season.

C.J. elevates over Rip Hamilton All indications as of Friday night suggest that the Jazz brass do not know what they are going to do about C.J. (Buckley, ESPN, 2008; Genessy and Buckley, Deseret News, 2008; Siler, Salt Lake Tribune, 2008) -- but the point of keeping 14 guys on roster (what the Jazz currently have) as opposed to 15 for 'roster flexibility' is a pretty weak reason. Utah doesn't usually make many roster moves anyway. Hiring a 70 year old grandmother to teach yoga would improve our roster flexibility.

I'm not alone in wanting him back in a Jazz uniform next season. Deron Williams, formerly of The Colony, has a certain affinity for C.J., who went to Skyline High -- both Greater Dallas Area high schools. They were both products of the storied 2005 NBA Draft, and Deron looks out for C.J:
Photo credit Getty Images/NBAE  

"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." (Deron Williams, via The Salt Lake Tribune, 2008)

Morris Almond, fresh from a 16 point drubbing by the Spurs, feels as though

"[the free agency] is the league, a constant change . . . I don't worry too much about things I can't control . . . I'm proud of him, and I'm going to call him tonight." (Almond, via, 2008)

Almond does recognize that if the Utah Jazz do not match the offer put forth by Oklahoma that there may be more opportunity for him here, for him to "capitalize on" (Almond, via, 2008). It goes without saying that Morris stands to benefit the most from Ceejay's departure from our team.

Over the past few offseasons C.J. has pissed the Jazz front office off, and his on court production has been entirely less than convincing. That said, this is a relatively cheap contract for 4 years; and when his number has been called, C.J. has done his best. (successfully defending Carmelo Anthony last season when Ronnie Brewer was injured, for example) For the majority of the season he was shooting above 40% from three, and has the uncanny ability to be one of those "stealth dunkers". Other teams don't appreciate his hops, dribbling ability, and finishing strength -- and hence, guys like Amare get crammed on by 6'5 benchwarmers.

The Jazz have also made a bad habit of letting some talent slip away because of money grubbing . . . this is the same team that drafted Raul Lopez (with the intention of stashing him in Europe and thus, not paying him) instead of Tony Parker (former MVP of the NBA Finals); that also let Maurice (Mo) Williams go for nothing; and basically decides to "not" show people "the money".

Kevin O'Connor and the rest of the Jazz brass need to really look at the pros and cons of this move.

"We received an offer sheet, but we really haven't had a chance to analyze the contract," Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor said. "Se we'll wait and see what we've got and make a decision based on what's the best thing for the Jazz." (Kevin O'Connor, via The Salt Lake Tribune. 2008)

This is a very cheap move for insurance, and if nothing else, helps to keep Deron happy. When your max player and face of the franchise goes on record to say (paraphrasing, here) "I want this guy on my team" it's probably not a good idea to piss him off -- on the same day he signs a $70 million contract with you.