Is This the Secret to Success in the NBA?
This is a guest feature from Basketball John, the man responsible for the web’s finest Utah Jazz coverage. For more Utah Jazz features, check out BasketballJohn.com.
In this week’s weekly conversation with Larry H Miller, local sports jockey David Locke was talking to the Jazz owner about the trade that landed Shaq in Phoenix. As you may know, there was a lot of talk before the beginning of the season to swap Andrei Kirilenko for Shawn Marion.
Miller revealed that Steve Kerr offered the same players, Marcus Banks and Marion for Kirilenko. Miller’s reason for the Jazz declining the trade surprised me a bit. Obviously, having to take on Banks and his twenty million didn’t make sense for a team that already had three point guards.
Miller stated that Kerr used the argument that they would be taking Kirilenko, and his huge contract, off their hands. In return, they’d get Marion who only had two years left on his with the second being a player option. The Matrix would likely opt out with one year left, leaving the Jazz with cap space for Deron Williams’, Carlos Boozer’s, and Paul Millsap’s renewals.
LHM’s reasoning was that why would they want Marion for one year when they’ve already got Kirilenko for four? In today’s NBA of salary dumps, golden expiring contracts, and trade demands, the Jazz stayed put. Why? Because above all, Miller values stability the most.
He stated that had Marion signed an extension, the Jazz likely would have traded for him. Shawn would have been roaming the streets of the SLC. Instead, he’s off to Miami and Kirilenko is having a good time again.
It’s arguable that the Jazz have been the most consistently successful franchise in the NBA in the last twenty years. Of course it doesn’t hurt to have had two Hall of Famers for most of those or having now two potential replacements for the famous Utah 1-2 punch. How many players of Stockton and Malone’s caliber stayed with their franchises for as long as they did (seventeen and sixteen years respectively)?
And of course for those twenty years, you have the most tenured coach in all of professional sports, Jerry Sloan. Love him, or hate him, Sloan’s record speaks for itself. In an earlier interview, Miller spoke about stability again when he said it was important that the coach doesn’t feel like his job is on the line every day. When he doesn’t have to worry about his job, he can worry about basketball and winning.
This is why Miller & Co. will do what it takes to sign Williams and Boozer to long extensions. And this is why you likely won’t see any more trades for the Jazz this year. Because while other teams panic and make rash decisions, the Jazz will be the calm in the eye of the storm.