[Note: Some of this was originally part of the last "Odds and Ends" post, but it really should be its own post.]
There’s been a lot of talk about the professionalism (or lack of) of Sap’s uncleagent (Simmons) and “professional” agent (Vartanian). Both have spent the past 2+ weeks making borderline ridiculous statements about Sap’s game and/or levying accusations against the Jazz management. Now that Sap has officially spoken about staying in Utah, let’s take a look at the BEFORE/AFTER world as told by Simmons/Vartanian:
–“Paul Millsap has got more game than anyone knows. People just haven’t seen it because he played in a structured offense (in Utah). But he can shoot, and I’m talking (range from) NBA three.” …[Vartanian] says he can play three positions – small forward, power forward and center – and has an outside shot that was rarely, if ever seen in Utah because coach Jerry Sloan wanted him to anchor the paint. (Ara Vartanian; source)
–“And he thinks he is a great fit [in Portland]*. I think he is the missing piece for them. He could have really helped in that (playoff) series against Houston.” (Vartanian; source)
First Jerry is holding Sap back by not allowing him to shoot 3s or show off his full arsenal of skillz; now he fits in well with the way Jerry coaches.
–[Vartarian] said Millsap and McMillan have already engaged in lengthy conversations about his role…”They discussed at length at how to use Paul,” Vartanian said. “I think they already have a good relationship.” (source)
–When speaking to the media on Saturday, “Millsap revealed that he never talked with Blazers general manager Kevin Pritchard or coach Nate McMillan as part of the process.”
–“He still has a little despair*, still is a little bit disappointed about the situation. Because (the Jazz) really played hardball, and he wasn’t paid attention to. To not set a value on their player and let someone else do it is questionable.” (DeAngelo Simmons; source)
–“And I know there are people who want to say this is all about the money, but it isn’t. Paul wants to win.” (Vartanian; source)
–“Shawn Marion never rebounded for you. Varejao never sprawled on the floor for you. They never took a charge for you. Why let those guys set the market for you?” (Simmons; source)
–“…so we’re excited about [Utah matching].” (Vartanian; source)
Here we have the two agents contradicting each other. One says Sap wants the money; the other says he wants to win. / First Sap is filled with despair* + thinks he’s “a great fit” with Portland; now he’s excited about staying in Utah.
*For the record Part 1: Sap himself told reporters at DWill’s charity golf fundraiser, “I would love to be here.” After the Jazz matched, it came out that he “never managed to picture himself playing for the Trail Blazers” and he “went to great lengths to distance himself from [his agents'] remarks.” Sap also said, 1. “Everything about Utah is a better situation for me and this ball club. I’m right where I want to be, back in Utah. I love it here and I can’t wait to get back on the court”; 2.“a lot of things were said that are not true.” Seriously, how often do you hear players calling out their agents?!
Given my questions about the professionalism/experience of Sap’s reps**, I was curious about who else they represent. According to Draft Express, Simmons’ only other client is Nikoloz Tskitishvili, who currently plays in Spain, and Vartanian’s only other clients are the aforementioned Tskitishvili, and (former?) D-League player Mike Efevberha.
For the record Part 2: I think KOC did exactly the right thing–offering a reasonable contract (reportedly around 7.5 mill per, which I think is right on the money), and not getting into a bidding war with themselves. I know it’s stupid and irrational, but every time Sap’s agents opened their mouths, my opinion of Sap dropped a little. Good thing that’s all over.
**”[The process] was more stressful for me than it was for [Millsap]. He kept me calm a lot of times, so that was a good thing.”–Simmons