The only team with a higher payroll this season is the Los Angeles Lakers.
The difference between the two teams? One is coming off a championship season and is currently 7-1.
The other is 3-5 and in danger of not even making the playoffs this season.
Know what this means? Time to throw in the towel, Utah. You already own the Knicks' first-round pick next summer, and as New York is sitting at a pretty 1-8 at the moment, an excellent lottery pick is all but assured.
But you know what's better than one excellent lottery pick? Two excellent lottery picks.
There is nothing to be gained by winning just enough games to squeak into the playoffs and get steamrolled by the Lakers (again). There is everything to be gained by getting great draft picks next summer. Next summer Boozer (and his contract) are gone. Korver and Harpring's salaries come off the books. 2010 is the last year of Andrei and Okur's contracts.
Here's what I propose: tank. Tank hard. You took a good step today by having Deron sit out for tonight's game due to "personal reasons." Now shelve him. Say his back trouble is keeping him out and don't let him near the court. And to be honest, that's all we need to make the lottery. This team can't win more than half its games without him, as no one else can run the offense or even create their own shot.
Next summer, take a talented big man who can fill the lane, adjust shots, rebound and score about 15 a game. He doesn't have to be the next Tim Duncan, but that would be nice. Then take a guard who can hit 3-pointers and penetrate, like the Clippers' Eric Gordon. These are the pieces the Jazz need.
Then, and this is important, let the kids start and play a lot during the 2010-2011 season. Who cares if they make mistakes? Let them learn from them. After Andrei's contract comes off the books in the summer of 2011, the Jazz will have a lot of cap space to work with (hopefully this can be used to lure a good free agent or two to Utah), a good, young nucleus of players and a veteran point guard in Deron Williams. I like that scenario.
Even if one of the picks from the 2010 draft is a major bust, hopefully the other will pan out, and that cap space in 2011 can be used to compensate for the player that didn't work out.
But knowing Utah, they'll let Deron run ragged on an injured back for the season, barely squeak into the playoffs and get rolled by LA in the first round. Then they'll sign Okur to a ridiculous contract extension and give Korver way more money than he's worth. This would be bad.
I'm a graduate from BYU-Idaho with a degree in Communications with a print journalism emphasis. I currently work as a test engineer for a software company. I've been married for seven years and have three kids.