The front office of the Utah Jazz is continuing its diligent work through this tumultuous yet optimistic 2014 off-season. The marketing team is hard at work trying to renew season tickets after this past season, the scouts are fervently watching game tape and analysis of the players that could potentially fall in the Jazz’s lap in the draft and GM Dennis Lindsey is remaining relatively mute on the head coaching search. One facet of the off-season that Lindsey doesn’t have to worry about, quite on the contrary in fact, is the Jazz’s salary cap situation.
The summer of 2014 is brimming with opportunity for the Jazz with over 31.5 million dollars now off of the payroll. The Jazz also own five non-guaranteed contracts that could make room for further cap space flexibility.
Here is what the Jazz 2014-15 payroll looks like as of now:
Player 2014-15 Salary
Trey Burke $2,548,560
Alec Burks $3,034,356
Ian Clarke $816,482 (Non-guaranteed)
Jeremy Evans $1,794,871
Derrick Favors $12,950,000
Diante Garrett $719,266 (Non-guaranteed)
Rudy Gobert $1,127,400
Gordon Hayward $4,677,708 (Restricted Free Agent)
Enes Kanter $5,694,674
John Lucas III $1,600,000 (Non-guaranteed)
Erik Murphy $816,402 (Non-guaranteed)
Malcolm Thomas $948,163 (Non-guaranteed)
The projected NBA 2014-15 salary cap (which will be officially released in July) has been raised to $63.2 million, nearly $26.3 million more than the Jazz have spent on next year’s roster.
The only fly in the ointment for the Jazz will be Gordon Hayward’s potential contract extension. While Hayward didn’t necessarily play like a max contract player this year, there might be some team’s willing to throw that big offer sheet at him during the free agency period.
If those offers do rear their ugly heads, the Jazz will have some serious pondering to do about whether to keep Hayward and try to build with more youth around him, or let him go and find another stretch guard/forward with his allotted money. However, if those offers don’t come in force, the Jazz will hopefully be able to keep Hayward for less than they had anticipated after last summer and still have the money to lure that big name free agent that the front office so desperately craves.
While it may seem separate, all this cap space talk is connected with the Jazz’s other primary needs of a head coach and a decent draft. Although the Jazz’s draft hopes took a hit after drawing the fifth pick in the NBA lottery on Tuesday, there is still hopes of trading up or getting a franchise changing player with that fifth pick. Players seem to want to stay when they are promised that a talented up and coming star will join their locker room. Similarly, hiring an experienced head coach will also raise the chances of some players, namely Hayward, perhaps taking a minor pay-cut to increase their team’s chances of adding more talent to their roster. While Lionel Hollins would fit this mold nicely, some Jazz players (namely Hayward) have expressed their desire to see former Jazz point guard Earl Watson considered for the head coaching vacancy.
With the lottery in the books and the draft less than a month away, the Jazz still have a lot of work to do to turn this sinking ship around. But with all that cap space to work with, Dennis Lindsey can surely make some big moves in July.
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