I love that:
1) Mike Brown identifies himself as having played for Utah even though he played for a bunch of teams;
2) He is recognized/remembered for having played with Karl Malone.
** Randy Rigby on the Jazz’s schedule to start the season, Unintentional Dirty Quote Machine: Does it feel like one wave after the other, after the other?
Rigby, unintentionally(?) revealing how he thinks the season will go
There’s some great ga–there’s some great basketball that’s going to be coming to Salt Lake City, and our young players, they’re gonna have to be ready for it. And they’re not, we’re not gonna feel sorry for ourself. As soon as we’re done with one game, we’ve gotta pick ourselves up, depending on the outcome, and be ready for the next night.
How much control do teams have over the schedule?
We really have no, you know, in fairness to the league, to keep parity, and to keep a balance, it, that is handled by [NBA Senior Vice President of Scheduling and Game Operations] Matt Winick, who has done it for, it feels like 100 years. It probably does for him as well, but he’s been doing it for, ever since I’ve been in the league, so it’s been over 28 years. Does a great job of it.
Now, you can appreciate trying to deal with the schedules of those 30 teams and all of those buildings they’re dealing with. At, they try to really give fair, a real fairness to it. Our only input that we get to have is, is we sit down–[Miller Sports Properties Chief Operating Officer] Jim Olson, myself, [Vice President of Events] Mark Powell’s now involved in it, Dennis Lindsey–and we have an opportunity to actually identify certain times that, night, games that we definitely want to have a game at our building.
And there’s a computated formula that goes with how many dates that you can, you want to set, but then how many dates that we, are left open, and, so that we can give them the flexibility of, then, scheduling those games. And then it’s a matter of, you know, I know they sit down and look at the TV–meet with the TV people, they’re, comes into play on certain big games, where and when, and to put that whole schedule together.
Does it bother you that the Jazz only have one ESPN game and two NBA TV games?
I have to tell you, this morning when I looked at that schedule and went through those number of games, that did bother me.
And you know what? It’s bothered me to the point that I’ve said, “Okay. Fine. Everyone knows that this is a young, starting team. I, a growing team. You know what? Now’s our time, we gotta start really proving some people and earning our right to be seen more nationally, on both ESPN, NBA TV, and really, and TNT and ABC, eventually.”
But we’re, you know what, that’s still, that’s part of this rebuilding process, that, you know what, it’s, I don’t, angered me enough that, you know what, it’s got my juices going that, you know what, we’re gonna st–I’m gonna prove them, that they should be having the Jazz on more national games, because these guys are gonna be very fun and exciting young players. So I think not only locally, but nationally, people are gonna wanna start watching them.
* Personally speaking, if the Jazz never have another national appearance (i.e. late games), I’d be ecstatic.
How do you feel about the longer All-Star break?
I do, I will say this. We’ve done a lot of work recently, and doing, starting doing even more. And there’s been work done on analytics, on literally looking at the impact of a long, arduous schedule has on the body of these players.
And I think there’s something to be said of truly giving our players, all of the players, but particularly those that are asked to be participating at All-Star Weekend, giving the body a chance to get in a little rest, and you know, repair and getting ready for the next, then, big, final stretch going down the back half of the season.
So, I actually am in favor of seeing a little bit more of a break during that All-Star Weekend. There, I think we’re looking at it as well, of potentially some future opportunities that we maybe can tie in with those little longer breaks. That’s something that Adam Silver is looking at. So, I think there’s more to be seen as we, in the future as well, on that issue.
Will the Jazz continue to have a pre-Christmas road trip or will that change under Quin Snyder?
Well, that’s, I, as we have explained, you know, as Dennis came on board, and Kevin [O'Connor] and I sat down and explained the logic and thinking behind it, Dennis sat and has been very supportive of it.
And we’ve done that for a reason, not only just team-wise, we felt that it’s a very good move for our team, to not be distracted by, as we move into the ear–Christmas, you know, those last couple weeks before Christmas, for ‘em to really stay focused, to then be able to get home, and be able to be home for Christmas, and then after Christmas.
And we’ve had great reception from our fan base, of coming in and seeing games between kinda that Christmas and New Year time period. So it’s worked out for us from a business standpoint, as well as from a team standpoint.
And you know, as we’ve explained things to Quin, I think he has seen that wisdom in that. Now, once he goes through that, we’re going to, you know, invite him to give a better weigh-in on his impressions on it as well. But right now, it continues to make sense for us.
How good is it for the Jazz that the Clippers just sold for US$2 billion?
Steve Ballmer is no idiot. This man has made a lotta money, not just by chance. He’s a very smart businessman, a very wise individual, and I think for him to see the value of not only that franchise, but the NBA, I think it speaks to him of the upside of where this league is going, not only nationally, but internationally.
And the, and we feel that same upside, all of us, as, that we’re excited about what the future is looking like for this league. And so, and the numbers reflect that, you know, as the n–those time the numbers come in.
Does the Dean Cooper hire as the coach of the Idaho Stampede mean more now to the Jazz than it would have 10 years ago?
You know what? It does, in two fronts. Number one, Dean is a very accomplished individual and had been very engaged in the NBA. And for him to want to be involved with the Utah Jazz, and with our coaching staff, I think speaks volumes, that he believes in this system, believes in, in wanting to be with us and grow with us, in wanting to take a role–I, you know, you’re seeing more and more pl–coaches in this league who have, their roots, have been deeply entrenched with D-League programs.
We have on our own staff, three of our coaches with Alex [Jensen], with Brad [Jones], and with Quin now, all D-League coaches, or with D-League experience.
And I think you’re going to see more and more, the role that the D-League is playing in the development of your, not only your players, and potential players, or, helping yourself to identify those players that unfortunately we realize don’t have NBA capabilities. It’s gonna be a great tool for that.
So we’re using it, also, in the development of our coaching staff, and how we, and looking at what we start, in considering, in implementing in the NBA, as our team, but using the D-League as a way that we can explore and test certain philosophies, certain approaches, and try it up there, and see if it’s worth its merit to, then, bring them down and incorporate ‘em in, and then, our style with the Utah Jazz.
On Paul George’s injury
You know, I think those things we need to continue to analyze, and study, and minimize the risks, and identify what could’ve potentially caused those things, and make sure we’re helping to protect these athletes, and minimize those problems, so that this comes with, you know, unfortunately their bodies.
Some of it could be just y–timing thing and just a unlucky luck of the draw. You can’t stop living, and we can’t stop playing this game, and we can’t stop letting and wanting our players to excel and be on the top opportunities in the national and international game of basketball.
On Gordon Hayward’s participation in the USA Basketball program
I still see this as a real opportunity for Gordon Hayward. We’ve wanted Gordon to continue to develop. There’s an opportunity here, playing with that caliber of team, and playing against other teams, that’s gonna give him more of that experience that we hope will help increase his basketball skills and his maturity as an NBA player. And I think that’s a very valuable tool and benefit for us, for Gordon to have that.
I’m hoping that he’ll see how other players are using that and how they are leading, and their attitude about leading their teams, and I’m hoping that Gordon comes and wants to be more of a leader on our team as well, and develop more of his leadership skills.
You have rural roots. How do you fence $12,000’s worth of bees?
Wow. $12,000, of bees? … I have never heard of that much bees, and like you say, that’s, someone’s gonna pay for that one, I think. (1280)
How do you think Raul Neto played against the U.S. team?
Raul’s really put a lot of time into his body. It came through from the TV, if you hadn’t seen Raul since last year, he’s moved from a young man to a man with just his physical maturation, and really pointed work, so we were really pleased.
Raul came in, prior to the draft, came into Salt Lake for a few weeks to work out with our coaches and work in altitude to prep for trying out for the Brazilian national team. He played well in several friendlies before the Brazilian starting point guard was back, and so he’ll back up [Marcelo] Huertas, who’s the starter.
And against Team USA, he did very well. He got beat off the dribble a couple times, and he was able to beat some of the USA players off the dribble a few times. And I thought that he played very unselfishly, and I know it’s something that this market appreciates, and we’re really excited about his development, about his character and about the future prospects of him being on the Jazz.
As it worked out this year with Trey [Burke] just being 21 and us drafting Dante [Exum], it, from a contract and a stage-of-their-career standpoint, it didn’t make a lotta sense to line three young point guards up all on top of each other. So we wanna stagger that, but it’s safe to say we’re, our future planning has Raul in it, and we’re really excited about his development.
He and Johnnie Bryant really, besides the conditioning element, really worked on his 3-point shooting, his range shooting, and they made quite a bit of gains during his time here. And so we were glad to see that, not only in the USA game, but other games, he’s been able to knock down some shots.
Tell us about Dee Bost and Jack Cooley.
Yeah, so, guys that, again, will compete for those last few roster spots. We’ll have, I think, a very interesting training camp in a lotta different ways. And we’ll try to hold at least one roster spot open for competition, and will someone grab that or will we keep it open, or we, will we do it with a partial guarantee?
Again, the relationship of moving players back and forth to Boise, Idaho logistically, since it’s a single flight, and from a system standpoint, with Dean [Cooper] running what Quin [Snyder] wants to run with the Jazz, and then developmentally, it’s just going to be much more seamless.
So, I don’t know how much we’ll use Boise this year in regards to that and roster players because many of our roster players are currently at least rotation players if not more. But we can foresee in the future that there be, there’ll be a very aggressive platform for us to sign players and move players back and forth.
What are you hearing about the off-season development of your players?
Well, so, I’m, we’re working hard. Now, time will tell if we’re working smart, and directed, and are we going to be able to connect all the individual work? That’s something that Quin and I have talked about a great deal, actually yesterday when we were walking in the gym together, at our practice facility, is making sure that what we’re working on on an individual basis connects to what Quin wants from a scheme and tactic standpoint.
So, all of that is very dynamic. It has to be very well planned, communicated. There’s a lotta things in player development that you would think would be good. “More is better.” That’s not necessarily so. There’s things where–expanding a player’s game. Well, if you expand it outside of the scope of what you’re doing, that may not be a great thing and sometimes a player trying to expand his game can lead to some entitlement and it puts the head coach in a very difficult position. So because of that, coming from the programs that we’ve come from before, we wanna make sure the development is very specific, very well communicated.
And specifically, look, Derrick [Favors] has had a great summer. P3, Salt Lake City, Atlanta, plugging in with our coaches, plugging in in summer league training camp, going to Salt Lake, or excuse me, to Las Vegas for the first couple games of summer league, video sessions. He’s really made a concerted effort.
We think Gordon [Hayward]‘s had a great summer, just in a much different way. He got married, his diet’s better, he was working out three days–three times a day in Indianapolis. He’s gained 10 pounds of good weight. He’s plugged in with USA Basketball.
So Rudy Gorbert*, same thing, French national team. We think with Dante, the national team effort, playing against men on an everyday basis, whether he plays a bunch with Team Australia or has the ball, all those interactions just in practice and shootaround hopefully will expedite his transition to playing in the NBA, and, versus men.
So, Alec Burks has just had a continuance of finding him in the gym on an everyday basis. Our coaching staff has really plugged in individually and connected with guys. Enes [Kanter] has had a very good summer. It’s just been a little more rehab and here, recently, basketball. But we’ve had at least three coaches touch him this summer.**
So, we’re planning on a big trip out to P3 and then we’ll hit our open gym phase in September. And so from my standpoint, everything’s been very well coordinated. Now we just gotta piece it all together.
* People calling Rudy Gobert “Rudy Gorbert”: Dennis Lindsey.
What can Gordon Hayward take away from his experience with the Team USA coaching staff?
Yeah, so, so many things. Tom Thibodeau’s individual greatness, as far as creating a defensive accountability and identity, and being around him. And coach [Mike] K[rzyzewski] and his presence [and] leadership.
There’s one thing that we wanted Gordon to do, is to plug in with the [Stephen] Currys and the [Kyle] Korvers of the world in pre- and post-practice shooting routines. And so, Gordon’s done that.
He, Gordon’s played a lotta practice minutes and some scrimmage minutes at the “four,” so he’s, their schemes are a big man with four smalls, with Gordon being the biggest of the small perimeter players to play fast and more skilled basketball. We’ll see how that take hold, takes hold with us, and if that’s a good alternative and lineup choice for us…There’s, I could go on and on.
What rule change would you like to see implemented?
Let me just, I would say this. And it’s already an NBA rule in place, that Euroleague’s adopted, and youth leagues in Europe. But I think for the health and continuity of basketball, if everybody could move to a 24-second shot clock, in, the, when there’s a longer shot clock, it becomes more of a coach’s game. And to help young players dribble, pass, shoot, on, immediately and make good decisions on a short clock, it’s just really, really key.
And it makes a more watchable game for the average basketball fan, so you won’t get the high school games where it’s, a team’s facing a superior team and they let the air out of the clock. I’m not sure that’s what competition is meant to be, but if you’re a coach in that situation, look, there’s always selfish strategy. What may be bad for fans to watch and players to play in may be best for you to win that particular game.
So, I think to have rules where young players on a shot clock have to be able to dribble, pass, shoot, read quickly is a good thing, and it would be a neat thing for high school basketball, college basketball to mirror Euroleague and NBA basketball.
And the thing that I would say is, don’t underestimate the players…I’ve been to Serbia before, and before a, the l–the game that I’m watching or the practice that I’m watching, there’s a youth league that’s going on, and these young kids are playing on a 24-second shot clock, and it’s such a, it’s a more dynamic game, in it, that actually increases the basketball players’ IQ, ’cause they have to do everything with more urgency, and skill level has been raised because of that. (1280)
Has Gordon Hayward bought you lunch yet?
No, I haven’t spoken to him too much. You know, I told him that he’s probably got a little big time on me, but hopefully by the time I see him again, he buys lunch and dinner.
First impression of Quin Snyder?
Mainly, you know, he had us on the court and all I can remember right now is, you know, we were running. So, he’s not playing games.
Are you excited about your role on this team?
Yeah, I’m always excited…Just, you know, whatever coach asks me to do, I’m always, you know, ready to do it and I think that shows the young guys that, you know, if you ask this guy to do this and he does it, you know, that shows me that, you know, I can do it too. So, when we have a whole team of guys doing that, I think we’ll be, it’ll be great.
What’s the most fun part about being an NBA player?
I would have to say, probably just seeing the fans and reacting with ‘em. Course, like I said, I always like doing Junior Jazz stuff and not only this…I see so many kids I see from these trips up there in the arenas, and you know, just happy to see their faces and you know, feel like they know one of the players.
What’s the most common thing you’re asked by the kids?
The most common thing I’ve been asked by the kids would probably be…Is [Jazz Youth Programs Coordinator] Nate [Martinez] my bodyguard?
What are you working on, art-wise?
I’m doing a couple of NBA players that I think are gonna be pretty good. They’re pretty big pieces, but I think I have LeBron [James], Kobe [Bryant] and then [Michael] Jordan…I think I’ll end up probably doing a [John] Stockton. (1280)
Is there one thing about the NBA that makes it preferable to coaching in college basketball?
I think honestly, in, n–with no disrespect to college basketball at all, that there’s a few things that agree with me a little bit more. I think the obvious stuff that people talk about is the, you know, it’s “just basketball.” There’s part of the “it’s just basketball” that makes me miss college, really. The, some of the mentorship component that you get with the students and the players.
And I think, to be honest, I think that’s becoming, you know, less impactful as kids are even more focused on the basketball side. I don’t know that kids are going to school right now saying, “Gosh, I’m, you know, I’m gonna go get a great education. Thank goodness I get basketball to help me get there.” I think people are really focused on the NBA.
So when you’re in the NBA, you get players that really, really wanna be there. And to have their attention, to have them kinda in the present like that, for a coach, you have a willing pupil, so to speak. And that part of it’s really fun. It’s a challenge.
And then, really, the players are just so good. I mean, it’s crazy. You think about these guys, they’re the elite of the elite. And if you can do something as a coach to help ‘em, you really can see the impact of what you work on in your profession.
How do you get players to buy into your system?
I’ve been a part of a new staff every year for, like, three, four years now, and this is the first time I’ve been part, really since the D-League, this is the first time I’ve been the head coach of that team, of that new staff…
I think the biggest thing is not to try to force it. That’s not really a great plan. You essentially do nothing. It, but it’s not, you know, it’s not nothing, obviously. It’s being, you know, being real, and understanding that, this, I’m gonna show you who I am, and then in time, you know, you can ask for them having some faith. You know, give me an opportunity here and see where it goes.
And I think more often that not, players are inclined to do that in the beginning anyway. But then it’s up to you, really, to do the things you’re gonna say and coach them with integrity. And if you make a mistake, ’cause you will, “Hey, I was wrong.” And by the same token, and when they make a mistake, you, you know, “Hey, you were wrong.” And I think it gradually just builds.
The other thing, I think, is credibility. You know, players, I think players, and especially players in the NBA, they know if you’re working, and they know if you’re prepared. So the sooner you get an opportunity to show them that and for them to see that, I think that some respect seeps in there and it’s easier to begin to try and have that belief and trust when there’s respect too.
So, that would be a little formula that, in my mind, co–you know, comes to the surface.
What did you take most from Larry Brown and Mike Krzyzewski?
I’ll throw coach [Gregg] Pop[ovich] in there too. When I got the job, those are three guys that I talked to, and really talked to coach Brown a lot more recently about putting a staff together. I think that, and talked to coach K and coach Pop about the same thing.
When you really boil down, right, you hear about coach K’s coming and being with Paul George in the, you know, the sympathy there that is very real. And you see the things that coach Pop is with his players. Just visibly, you know, the connections that they have.
And you see someone like me who, you know, [Indiana Pacers GM] Kevin Pritchard and I were laughing in the stands the other night about when we were working summer camp for coach Brown at Kansas, like, 20-some years ago.
I think those people all value those relationships in the business maybe more than they should, more than the wins and the losses. That they’d be content to just have that and you know, forgo maybe some of the success.
The irony, of course, is that with those, the success comes. And they’re all not doing it just ’cause they’re the nicest, sweetest men either. You know, they’re saying the hard things and doing tough things and driving people. And to be able to have that and have those relationships endure even when you’re, you know, you’re not just being somebody’s pal, it’s a pretty special thing. And clearly, those guys being great coaches, they have it.
First impressions of Dante Exum?
Well, he’s very, very good. You know, I think, it’s, the first time I saw Dante Exum play, I was in the airport getting a burger, waiting for a flight, and I looked up and Serbia was playing Australia in the Under-19s, and I was like, “Okay, this guy’s fast.”
And then the next time I saw him was on tape and he was still fast, and getting faster. And you know, that speed, that gear and kind of the ease with which he accelerates and plays the game is really, really unique.
And then you meet him, he’s just a quality young man. He’s, you know, the accent kind of adds a little mystique to his persona. And he’s, I think he’s a special kid. And he’s 18. You know, it’s, and you keep saying that almost to remind yourself, you know, as much as anything, not to have unrealistic expectations.
The interview ends with…
You’re gonna have me back? … I’ll be the regular if you need me. If you want me. I’m serious…If you put me on, we gotta monitor my time [so] I don’t talk too long. Dennis Lindsey, my GM, got pissed at me the other night. I was talking too long at a banquet or something, so you gotta help me with that. (CBS Sports)
Does Paul George’s injury give you pause?
You’re always worried. You’re always trying to anticipate what could happen. So we, really, when we’re trying to do our jobs, we research courts and basketball stanchions and we have a partnership with some students that do, that does injury tracking for us.
And who gets injured, and what month, and what type of player, and at what age, and all those drill-downs to try to mitigate things. But a good dose of luck on your side is always a good thing.
What’s happening with players between now and training camp?
The French team actually plays the Australian team, so we’ll be able to kill two birds with one stone. We have Isaiah Wright, our assistant strength and conditioning coach, that will soon go over and join Dante [Exum] and Rudy [Gobert] on that segment of the trip, kinda the friendly games, if you will, before the World Cup actually starts.
And, so, we’re just anxious, really, to track all of our guys. …
We’ve had individual coaches go out and touch players.* Enes Kanter does a lot of his preparations in Chicago, so Brad Jones and Alex Jensen had separate trips out there to work with Enes, with where he’s at in his rehab and basketball. We have, Antonio Lang has been in the south, and so he touched Derrick Favors today and Rodney Hood a couple days previous to that.*
And then we’ll take, eventually take a trip to P3. A lot of our guys have gone out in small groups, or individually, out to P3. Usually our strength and conditioning staff accompanies those guys…
And then we’ll get, after Labor Day, we’ll hit, what we call an open gym phase, where we start to invite our players back and we’ll also invite some non-Jazz contract players to see if those guys we wanna invite to training camp or future mini-camps or now, with Boise, the Idaho franchise, maybe they’re invitees for our club in Boise.
So, we’re trying to have multiple objectives, but the main thing is [to] get ‘em in shape, organize ‘em a little bit, and allow the relationships–many times us in management wanna get out of the way so the player-to-player and coach-to-player relationships can affor–form appropriately.
Are you looking to make any more roster moves?
Yeah, so we’ll look to do quite a few things at the end of the roster, whether it’s to add a third point guard, and at what level of guarantee would we wanna add a third point guard, and we’ll, we’re talking about all those candidates and different contract structures that gives us some certainty at the third point guard position, but maybe is a team-friendly contract, if you will.
So, we want to be very aggressive looking at, again, open gym candidates that could make for good training camp invitees…
We’re just trying to put our eggs together and see where we can best use our resources, and if it, it may work out where we’ll play underneath the salary cap, and the advantage in that is, is that there’s, the roles, the trade roles are very advantageous to us, and we can be in a position to, whether it’s add a good young player or accumulate assets by taking on a contra–an unwanted contract and picking up a [draft] pick, we’re in position to do both of those things, really.
On playing “connected” basketball
Look, it’s what we learned, what our parents taught us in the sandbox. You know, share your toys and you’ll make good friends. And if you don’t share, you’ll live a lonely existence. And it’s much like that in basketball.
We really wanna share, and how you do that, how you connect a team offensively, is really through the pass. It’s something that Quin [Snyder] believes, that I believe. And the programs that we were at before, sharing’s a big part of making a great team.
And then defensively, I think w–through communication, through effort, through stance, through body position, we wanna connect our effort. And Quin and I were just on a walk today, and we were talking about screens and getting screened. And if you really are disciplined and have great energy, you can avoid getting screened [on the] pick and roll.
And if you, once you get hit, ’cause you’re always going to get hit in this sport, if you then compete after the screen, and fight, then that allows, again, a defense to connect its effort.
And you don’t wanna have efforts on an island. You want to, really, the way the defense expands and contracts, really looks like a heartbeat. And if you have a really good, connected effort, it can mean a lot of good things for a group.
On playing with the pass
Playing with the pass is really something that Quin, as he teaches that, sells that, makes that a non-negotiable for our group, he’ll be the one that leads us in that direction.
And I’ll say this: It’s a hard way, what we’re asking guys to do is not the easiest way to teach, to coach, to quickly hit the ground running, if you will. But we believe in it. It’s gonna be ugly.
There’s gonna be some ugly pre-season games where you wish you would’ve just taken the first open [shot], to, instead of passing two or three times and having someone shoot the gap on the wrong read and go lay it up. So, there will be ugly moments within our teaching, you know, our flow offense.
But I would think as things start to take hold, the product will be something in February that our fans can really see some tangible growth in a way that fans wanna see basketball be played.
If Derrick Favors is your understated leader-by-example, who do you see growing into the vocal leader on the team?
I think Gordon [Hayward], it’s something that we’ve talked a great deal about with him. I think, there’s, he’s gonna have to get himself uncomfortable in some areas and really work at being present and being a leader, but I think he has some natural attributes.
I think Trey [Burke] has the ambition to want to lead. He’s gotta channel it in the right directions, and look, as a 21-year-old, that’s tough.
I think Rodney Hood, Rodney Hood was the first ever Duke transfer, in his first year named team captain by coach [Mike] K[rzyzewski]. I wouldn’t take that lightly. I think it speaks to his character and the way he goes about his approach to basketball.
I think Dante, in time, has some natural qualities in how he was raised and his ability to find words. Now, will he find that he’s a good spokesman for the club and he needs to, you know, follow that up with actions? Absolutely. I think he’s got strong character, but those, with Dante, are many years away. He’s going to have to prove himself to a group first. (1280)
In light of what happened with Paul George, how does it make you feel that Gordon Hayward is on that roster?
Well, it continues, that, you know, in sports, in life, unfortunately, you have to take the good, the bad with the good, and there’s a lotta good that comes from USA Basketball. And for Gordon to really have an opportunity to play with that caliber of ath–of basketball player and athletes, and to cut, to work on and be motivated to take his game up is a, really, a positive thing.*
The negative part of it is the potential impact that you could have in accidents like, unfortunately, it happened to Paul George. I mean, it just, a, that’s a tragic thing and you know, there’s insurance that’s taken out that helps those things, but still, you don’t replace a player like Paul George on your roster. It will have a direct impact on Indiana and their team, and it’s too bad, but you know, we hope that, you deal with those.
You know that it c–it’s a possibility, but you don’t also want to deprive your athletes with an opportunity for them to excel and to have an experience, a personal experience, to grow, and to compete on the international level like this. So you know, we have to plan for it and deal with it.
* Guess the Jazz aren’t worried about Hayward making friends with other players on Team USA and then wanting to play with his new friends after he’s gotten all of the Jazz’s money.
NBA franchises are the ones taking the risk when players play for their national teams…
They really are. I mean, the teams are the ones that take the ultimate risk on this, and it’s something I think that we will continue to talk about in the Board of Governors meetings, on how do you try to at least mitigate some of those risks, and create a little more of fairness and balance in that very process. …
If [Hayward]‘s worked hard, if he’s earned that spot, and has played, has present, prepared himself to that degree, he deserves the opportunity to go and be a part of that team. Now, it doesn’t say that, not, we’re not going to, as [Mark] Cuban is doing, is trying to say, “Let’s talk about, then, how we correct it in the future.”
Which activities are players contractually barred from taking part in?
Well, there’s some definite, per contract, in, that’s written into their contract, those things, and you can only, almost imagine some of ‘em. Anything that’s, could be perceived as a high-risk type of activity.
Just, parachuting. Hang gliding. Scuba diving. You know, getting in race cars and high-speed racing.* Anything that increases their odds and chances of, you know, and of course, anyone could be walking down the street and be hit by a car, or in a car accident.
But those things that have higher probabilities of accidents, and the impact of those accidents in, meaning, serious injury to their lifes** if not the life they’re threatening as well, are things that are put into the contract so that, again, we are putting in such a high investment into these players. Not only the team, but the community, the investment they’re all putting in. And so, we really try to manage that, and protect ourselve,** as much as possible.
* Unless the owner of the team is driving the race car and he invites you to get into the race car. From “Driven,” Larry H. Miller’s autobiography:
Larry and Karl reminisced during their daily visits [at the hospital after LHM's heart attack]. They recalled the time Miller took Malone for a ride in one of his Cobras. Miller placed a $100 bill on the dashboard and told Malone it was his if he could pick it up. Every time Malone reached for the money, Miller accelerated, slamming Malone back into his seat. “Never did get that money,” says Malone. “He knew what he was doing. Everytime [sic] he accelerated, I was hanging onto that grab bar he had in there. I had white knuckles. We were going 100 miles per hour on a one-lane road. The more he saw me cringe, the faster he drove. He loved it. He had this smile on his face. He always wanted to one-up me. It was as if he were saying, ‘Now you know I’m better than you at driving.’ He loved this Cobras.”
** Not typos.
Have you ever had to scold any of your players on this front?
It’s really communicating with our players, and making sure they understand our goals and objectives. That helps and starts the process. We also are careful of the players that we select, so that, again, that they think and act much like we do. And those steps help to try to really prevent, prevention is as much an important part of it.
The other thing that we’re doing, which I’m really excited about, with, the work that’s going on, is our coaching staff, under Quin [Snyder]‘s direction, is we’ve literally got a schedule put together, and our coaching staff is out visiting every one of our players under contract. During the month of August, we’re gonna have an open gym in September, but in July and August, they’ve been out visiting these players, observing their workouts.
And if a player is really spending the time, that, during the off-season, and building and improving his game, he really has very little time to do things that could be perceived as a little bit stupid.
Which areas of the roster do you still need to address?
Well, I think one of the areas, I think that, also, as, is obvious, is that, you know, we have two good point guards between Dante [Exum] and Trey [Burke]. And I think we’ll still look at that area. That’s gonna be an area that I think Dennis [Lindsey and] Justin [Zanik] have had discussions and mentioned to me on.
We talked to Greg [Miller] as well about it a little this week, in saying that we’ll continue to assess that, and at some point we may look at what we’re doing to just fortify that and bring in maybe a third point guard. (1280)