Posted by: Adam Mason on July 7th, 2010The author's views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of the Utah Jazz.
With Boozer now signing with the Bulls, does AK become even more important? He’s due to make $17.8 million next year and we all know that his contract was a huge reason, if not the reason, Booze did re-sign. So what should we do with AK’s contract? He was already a very important part of the offense with knowing how to run it and his abililty to pass. With Booze gone and no one likely to come via free agency he might just play a…gulp…more pivotal part of the offense.
The Jazz organization apparently wants Andrei back because they don’t want him to play in the World Championships to rest his injuries. Now whether that is because they want a good full season out of him or have him come back to build his stock in order to get better pieces in a trade, I really don’t know. His expiring contract becomes very attractive to some suitors.
Trading AK would be harder than some might think. Remember if you move a player you have be within 20% of the contract. So if you trade someone player for player you can only be over or under by that much. The only way to really just dump money or a contract is to add a third team into your trade. So AK is due to make $17.8 million next year, which means if we would trade AK straight up for another player to shed salary we would need to take on a contract(s) that is $14.2 million. So, in all honesty, we’re really not saving much, unless that third team is involved.
Still having said that though last year when the Jazz started turning their season around it was because of the emergence of AK. Dating back to his first starting job against Miami on January 11 all the way to March 10 against the Pistons Andrei played in a total of 24 games. He averaged 13.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.9 steals, and 1.3 blocks per game. I know, not great numbers and definitely not a max contract type player, but a good MLE type player. Most importantly we had a 20-4 record in that span. When he didn’t play, after he won his starting job back, the Jazz went 12-7. There’s no doubt he is the ultimate X-Factor for us. Deron even said the Jazz needed AK because not even he “can do what Andrei does on the floor.”
Are the Jazz content to just let AK’s contract expire after this season in hopes of signing him to a full MLE or something of that nature? Some may wonder as to what AK will think when he realizes that he won’t be worth that much again, because I have heard this from people. AK already realizes he’s not worth that much money and won’t get that much again. Check out this article that was written on him in January, where he says he knows his money will come down. http://nba.fanhouse.com/2010/01/19/money-not-an-issue-as-kirilenko-wants-to-remain-with-jazz
He even says that re-signing with the Jazz will be his top priority. Now I’m not saying that AK is our answer and he’s going to save our season now that Boozer is gone. I’m really not even sure I would care if he was traded just so his contract could come off the books. However, you will NOT find a player like AK in free agency. So what should the Jazz do with his contract? They have some reasons to keep it, but they also have some reasons to trade it.
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