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Passing Grade

Now that the dust has settled and the decision has been made, it is a good time to look back at the free agency period. The Utah Jazz started off shaky losing three key parts to a team that finished second in the Northwest division. The Chicago Bulls were looking more and more like the Jazz as free agency moved along.

Once things began to move for the Jazz, GM Kevin O'Connor couldn't be stopped. Jazz owner Greg Miller should also be applauded for the willingness to pay the much feared luxury tax.

Losing forward Carlos Boozer seemed inevitable but it was still tough seeing the leading scorer from last year's team walk away. Replacing Boozer with Al Jefferson may turn out for the better. Jefferson has had similar numbers to Boozer but the biggest factor may be Jefferson's positive attitude toward playing in Utah.

Losing guard Wesley Matthews was hard to swallow, but understandable given the price on the offer sheet he signed with the Portland Trailblazers. In the short term, the Jazz found a decent replacement in Raja Bell. Bell does everything just as well as Matthews if not better. Bell is a great perimeter defender and a better shooter. Bell comes at a must lower cost than it would have taken to keep Matthews and he also brings veteran experience.

Kyle Korver's shooting will be missed, yet there is hope that rookie Gordan Hayward can step in and take those minutes occupied by Korver last year. Hayward is not quite the shooter Korver was, yet from his summer league play, Hayward looks like a scorer. If he can play solid defense, then the Jazz will have come out on top in this swap.

The Jazz still might make some smaller moves in the upcoming weeks mainly trying to resign center Kyrylo Fesenko. But the Jazz front office should be given a passing grade when looking at the moves made this summer.If nothing else, they gave the Jazz fans hope after a summer that could have gone in the other direction.

-Jake Ipson


  1. Hey Jake, nice article. I cover the Denver Nuggets. How do you think the Jazz shape against Denver? Nuggets added Al Harrington but not much else. OK City looks to be the favorite in the Northwest - Dave Bruning

  2. Jake ... good article ... it is amzaing to me that a small market team like Utah can remain competive over the years/decades like the Jazz have -- Look at the other major sport leagues (MLB/NFL)... they may have a surprise team for a season or two and then they slide back into the pack ...the Jazz continue to compete year in and year out. This winning attitude and consistency is a direct reflection of a solid coach and an organization that wants to give back to the local community ... I think Jazz reflect as much about its fan base as any team in the NBA ... a fan from Monterey, CA