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Offseason Odds and Ends

August 27, 2017

One. Dennis Lindsey, asked how confident is he that Donovan Mitchell will be ready to play right away: How does he gain instant credibility with his coaches and teammates? It’s really even beyond his play. How does he get their trust? So, show great humility. Defend. Defer…

I think he’s off to a really good start. I think fundamentally, he’s in a good place with his character, with his humility, with his competitiveness. Usually if you have those three things, that’s a good place to start.

And then you start looking at his, you know, his physical characteristic — package, with his length relative to his height,* and his lift, and his strength, and power, and mindset to defend. I think Quin [Snyder] has already seen that.

So, look, could he get full of himself and you know, lose himself a little bit on truly who he is and what he needs to be in the context of his first year? I would say that there’s a decent chance that could happen for a stretch, but that’s what development coaches are for, and bench coach, and a head coach, and we’ll give him some honesty and some real feedback based upon what he needs to do individual, but what he needs to do in the context of the team.

And I would suspect — because he was raised the right way, he’s already been a good teammate in high school and in Louisville and the early stages of summer league, so I would suspect that he is quite ready to play, and we’re gonna need him to play.


Two. There simply aren’t enough heart emojis in the world. (H/T @JazzNationNews)

Three. Jarron Collins shares a Utah Jazz locker room story:

My very first year, I’m playing, very first exhibition game. It’s in Boise. We’re playing against the Sacramento Kings…There’s Vlade Divac, Chris Webber, Bobby Jack[son], [Mike] Bibby’s on that team. I mean, they were like the No. 1 seed, I think, the year before. They had a really good team.

And now, it’s, you know, it’s ou–my team that I’m playing with, it’s like, these guys, I j–I was just a, you know, playing these guys as a video game, you know, the other, like, just like, just a couple months ago. Now they’re my teammates and now they’re my opponents. So, I’m like through the roof.

I got my NBA uniform on. I’m ready to go up. And it’s the very first preseason game, so — at Stanford, we had this thing where we’d go around the room, like, “Hey, you ready?” Like, try to get everybody pumped up. “You ready? Let’s go! Let’s go! You ready?”

So, I’m trying to do that in the locker room as a rookie, and I go around to, like, Donyell [Marshall] and [Greg] Ostertag. They’re, like, laughing at me. I see Stock[ton], John, in the corner and I go over to him like a little kid, like, “You ready John? You ready John?” And he just looks me up and down, and he’s like, “Get away from me.”

And then, so then, and then I go over to Karl [Malone], and again, perspective is always important, but you know, for Karl, it’s like his 17th year, and he’s, this is the very first preseason game of his 17th year. He could care less about this game.

But I go up to Karl, and he’s sitting down. I’m like, “Karl, you ready?” Turns around and he looks me up and down, and he goes, “Got my fucking uniform on, don’t I?” And I just turn around and was like, “He says he’s ready, guys! He says he’s good to go!”

Four. Troll Jingles is the best Jingles.

Five. [Aug. 25] Dennis Lindsey, asked if he has talked to Gordon Hayward at all: No. I have not.

Unintentional Dirty Quote Machines (UDQM)
** Dennis Lindsey on the way the Spurs’ MO: It’s talk softly and carry a big stick.
** Lindsey on Mayweather vs. McGregor and aging: The ability to recover, you know, after a strenuous, um, game, or workout, to me’s a lot different when you age. But can you be as good once inside, the ring, as you were five or six years ago, or, you know, how much reactivity?…Usually, experience and technical skill wins out nine times out of ten.

RIP Pink Grandma :(

August 19, 2017

You were one of the best parts of being a Jazz fan and you will be dearly missed.

Offseason Odds and Ends

August 5, 2017

One. Ricky Rubio on being traded to Utah: I remember being so excited that, the moment that I find out I was going to Utah, because I like the way, the style, the coach plays, and it’s a player’s coach, and you can see on the court.

And then, playing with names like Rudy Gobert, that actually I never play in NBA yet with a poi–with a center that can really jump that high, and I can throw lobs and it fits my game really well because I can play the pick and roll at best, with him. And a lot of good shooters in the team. I mean, I’m a big fan of Rodney Hood. I think he can be an all-star, and it’s gonna be great playing with him…

Joe [Ingles] was my roommate in Barcelona, and as soon as I got traded I talked to him and I was so excited. He wasn’t in his deal yet. He wasn’t sure if he was gonna come back, but I told him now that I’m going, you have to sign. And he say he love Utah. He talk great about the organization, the city, the fans, and I was really excited. …

[Derrick] Favors, I’m really excited to play with him. I think he’s one of the most talented players in the league, and he can, like, he can play in a high level and he’s one of the guys that I’m gonna feed a lot on the pick and pop.

Two. So, the Tyrone Corbin years were pretty much the way we observed them to be from our screens (read from the bottom up):

Three. Rubio, asked if he can improve his shooting: Yes. I mean, of course I know my weaknesses and my strengths, and I know what kin–what type of player I wanna be, and what areas I gotta improve and of course shooting is one of them. But I’m not worried about, at all.

I know I can do a lot of things and I have to do what I do best and then improve, keep improving the other things. I know nowadays a point guard in the NBA is becoming more a scoring than a real point guard, but I gotta stay true on my game…

I don’t wanna lose what I bring on the table, that it’s, being a real point guard; being a true leader out there and trying to ba–make my teammates better.

** Transcribed this quote simply for “real point guard.”

Four. Posting for posterity:

Five. Rubio, asked if he plans to live in Utah year-round or just during the season, if he plans to stay for one year or longer, and if he will plant roots in the community: I expect a lot from Utah, or, for the team, the organization, but I haven’t been there yet so I can’t really answer that.

I mean, if I feel comfortable and they feel comfortable, I mean, it has to be both ways, you know? It can’t be just one way when I feel comfortable and they don’t feel comfortable with me, or the opposite.

So, I’m waiting to see. I’m really excited, like I said. I really like everything. It seems like it’s gonna work out, but first I gotta be there to really feel what it’s gonna be.

Did you feel comfortable in Minnesota?

Yeah, I did. I mean, the fans there were great. The organization, I mean, at the end, with so many rumors, I wasn’t feeling that comfortable because when your name is out there in the media and knowing that you can be [traded at] any place at any time, it doesn’t feel good.

But I know this is part of the business. We have to keep going, and I gave my all every time I step on the court for the team, because I was involved with a project, and at the end, it seems like they want to trade me and they did.

So, but, I have no regrets. I mean, I have great time on Minnesota and I have a special place in my heart because the fans over there were great since Day One and they always, I always felt they loved me.

Six. Posted for posterity, Part 2:

Seven. Rubio on John Stockton’s assist record: Every time I go out there in Salt Lake and I see the banner up there in the gym and see 15,000-plus assists…I say “Damn.” It should be playing, like, 40 years to get to that number.

Flashback to 2012:

Eight. Why on earth would the Jazz decide to cover this instead of getting rid of it? Seriously, why? (Tweet has since been deleted.)

Bits from Steve Starks Interview, 8/2

August 3, 2017

On the release of the new uniforms
We’ll release the first two of [four new jerseys] soon. Not this week, but soon. And then over the coming weeks and months, we’ll release the other two as well.

On the uniform design process
It’s been a collaborative process. Nike actually sent a team of people to our market and did market research on us, and they studied what fans were talking about and they studied things that were unique to our city and to our state, and then they brought back a series of proposals and we were able to say, hey, you know, “We wanna be different here” or “We really like that element. Let’s explore that further.”

And one of the things we’ve told them [with] at least one of our jerseys is, hey, let’s push the envelope a little bit. Let’s — we challenged them to say, that we wanna have one of the hippest and, in a lot of ways, coolest uniforms in the NBA, and so, there’s a concept that we’ll be able to show at the right time that people, I think, will absolutely love.

And it will be different. It’ll be very unique, and Nike has told us, “Hey, look. This, like, we’re seeing all the jerseys. This one is gonna be very cool and your fans are gonna love it.” And we agree. …

We are actually planning out five to seven years’ worth of jerseys right now.

Steve Starks, continuing to sound an awful lot like Randy Rigby
I was talking to a veteran NBA person. You would know his name if I said it. All our fans would too. And he said, “Steve, between the Miller family and Dennis Lindsey and Quin Snyder, you guys have an elite front office.”

And I won’t tell you where he ranked us in his mind, and I don’t say that to be egotistical, but we, I agree. I take pride in the fact that not only do we have really competent people at their craft, but they’re just fundamentally good people too.

And, we like what we’re building, and we’re glad that people want to be a part of it. And our fans. Our fans. Y–we’ve not had a single season-ticket holder cancel their order in the last 30 days. We’ve not had a single person call up and cancel their order, or, you know, there have been some that have expl–like, hey, you know, that was difficult. But, u–we’re actually seeing it–w–our season tickets are up double digits over last year.

On messing with Joe Ingles after he injured Gail Miller while diving for a loose ball last season
It was either that game or the game after — we had won. We were sitting in Quin’s conference room and Gail happened to have walked back and Greg Miller and Steve Miller, they were all in the back.

And w–and I said, “Hey, we’ve gotta mess with Joe on this.”

And so, Dennis was like, “Absolutely.”

And Gail was like, “No, no, no, don’t do that.”

But Dennis goes and gets Joe, and brings him back. And it’s just abnormal to bring a player back to the coach’s office after a game like that. And so, Joe walks in and he sees who’s in the room, and he’s clearly like, ok, what’s going on?

And Dennis just, with a perfectly straight face, “Hey Joe, remember when you dove on the ground for the loose ball? Do you remember who you hit?”

And Joe’s just like, “Oh, I’m so sorry” and he goes and gives Gail a hug.

And Dennis just, with a straight face, “Hey Joe, she’s gonna have to get a knee replacement, and we’re gonna have to talk to you about, of some form of compensation for how you’re gonna make this right.”

And it was the funniest thing to watch Joe’s reaction to this. And he said, “I don’t know what I can do, but I’ll come and make you breakfast, Gail.”* And then she lost it, and she started laughing.

And that’s, he is, Joe is as good as you think he is as a fan when you talk to him in person. And he’s just down-to-earth. He’s fun-loving. He’s a really good basketball player, but he’s also somebody who’s just a connector off the court as well.

* Alternative punctuation for UDQMness: “I don’t know what I can do, but I’ll come, and make you breakfast, Gail.”

Steve Starks, Unintentional Dirty Quote Machine Hall of Fame (#UDQMHOF)
On office gossip Gail Miller’s injury at the hands of Joe Ingles: Somebody told me, hey, Gail tweaked her knee when Joe slid into her. (1280)

Bits from Joe Ingles Interview

July 28, 2017

On re-signing with Utah
I’ve said it, obviously, many, many times. I love Utah. I love the city. I love the state. I obviously love the organization…It’s kind of a perfect fit for me, and to be able to improve the way I have is a credit to coach Quin [Snyder] and Zach Guthrie, who I work a bit more day-to-day basis with.

And just the, for them to believe in me and to keep pushing me to get better and — I wasn’t enjoying my time in Europe toward the end of my career, so it was, kind of in a bit of a rut with what I was gonna do, and coach Quin has just brought out, brought that, the love and how much fun I have.

On what the loss of Gordon Hayward means for the team
I think it’s exciting. I think when Gordon announced what he was gonna do, I think Utah and the Jazz fans saw the sun rise up, come up the next day, that we all, we’re all still here and it’s still really exciting for our [team]. More opportunity for other guys. There’s gonna be obviously different situations. Guys might get more shots, more minutes…

A lot of opportunities are out there for other guys, and I think obviously the loss of Gordon is, has happened. He’s gone. He’s not coming back, and I think Dennis [Lindsey] and Quin and the staff have done a great job to kinda remodel our team, I guess, around what we already had, and I think it’s really exciting.

I think defensively we’re gonna be really, really good, and we’ll figure out offensively what the best way our team to score is…Really excited to see [the core group] step up and kinda take control of the team.

On what Ricky Rubio brings
I played with him seven or eight years ago in Barcelona. We, my first year in Barcelona was his last year before he came over to the NBA, and he’s a pass-first guy. He’s gonna get guys involved. That’s what he likes to do.

He likes to get guys easy baskets. He’ll get Rudy [Gobert] dunks. He’ll get [Derrick] Fav[ors] dunks. He’ll get Rodney [Hood] wide-open shots. He’s gonna get guys shots they want, in good positions.

Defensively, he’s just one of those annoying little guards that’s always seems to be there, and always seems to h–he obviously [has] a pretty big wingspan. Always seems to have his arms and hands deflecting the ball or tipping it and obviously being able to get it being however s–I don’t know how tall he is, 6-4, maybe?

Being able to rebound and push the ball, and I think that’s a way we can get some easy baskets this next season, is by pushing the ball a bit more than we have in the past. And I mean, Utah and Jazz fans should be excited by him coming in.

On hat-wearing Gordon Hayward
Disgusting…I will not be purchasing any of them.

Bits from Gordon Hayward Interview (The Woj Pod)

July 27, 2017
tags: ,

On how the acquisition of Ricky Rubio impacted his decision
Yeah, I mean, it kind of was a difficult situation because I don’t want to be somebody that says, you know, you go get this player, and you know, I’m 100 percent in…Like, I didn’t want to make demands because I didn’t know if I was gonna end up there, and it wasn’t a sure thing. I wanted to — I had told them, you know, I wanted to go check out these other teams.

And you know, that being said, they asked me, you know, what do you, how do you feel about these guys, and you know, I would tell them. And you know, Ricky was a guy that was high on my list…

It was, you know, I think a step in the right direction for the Jazz, ’cause they had, we have had so many point guards, and just, unlucky with a lot of the situations that we had as far as injuries and everything. But you know, that was a bold step by them. I think he’s gonna help their team next year for sure.

On how he continued working out with Jazz coaches up until he decided to sign with Boston
The summer that I had last year with Johnnie Bryant and Isaiah Wright, the guys that I trained with — Johnnie and I have a tremendous relationship, and will continue to have that relationship even though he’s with the Jazz and I’m with the Celtics.

But I trusted him and wanted to continue to get better, and he came out to San Diego [this summer] to train me. And same with Isaiah Wright. He’s actually the strength coach of the Jazz, and we had a good thing going, and I appreciate those guys so much for what they did, because they for sure didn’t have to do it.

I was a free agent, and — it was kind of a tricky situation because, I’m sure if you were to ask the Celtics guys or the Heat guys, they wouldn’t have liked that I was training with Jazz personnel and Jazz people. But I think for me, it was something where I had a relationship that was beyond just the Jazz, beyond basketball…

I don’t think that they thought I was leading them on.

On Pat Riley and his Miami visit
My wife Robyn had no clue who he was. And I’m sure that’s refreshing to him.

On his relationship with Brad Stevens
I think the relationship between Brad and I has been completely overstated and overhyped from everybody.*


Did you have a preexisting relationship with Isaiah Thomas?
So, I had said what’s up to him at the All-Star break. And we were both in the, what was it, the challenge that we did? The Skills Challenge. And, like, that was pretty much the only time I’d talked to him. There wasn’t anything said there that would’ve been like, hey, come to Boston. (nervous laugh)

On his meeting with the Jazz
I didn’t know exactly who was gonna show up. Actually, when I answered the door, it was Gail and Greg Miller, the owners. And you have Dennis [Lindsey], and Quin [Snyder], and Steve Starks…

It’s kind of, initially a little bit awkward, because it’s something where, like I said, you’re just, like, on their side, and now you’re kinda like, removed, like, I don’t know if I’m gonna be on your side again next time. …

At the end of the presentation, that’s when Rudy [Gobert] and Ricky [Rubio] and Joe [Ingles] and Rodney Hood came in…I think somebody must’ve let them in. Oh, Johnnie Bryant was here and he let them in. And, they came in at the end of the presentation, as, like, a surprise.

On his time with the Jazz
I’ve been there and have been through the process of the rebuild, and going through 25 wins, and you know, 30-point blowout losses each and every night, to where we were last year, where we’re, you know, winning a playoff series.

On how much Golden State and the strength of the Western Conference impacted his decision
When we’re going through this process and you keep seeing some of the big-name guys [moving west] and it’s like the West is loading up more and more and more, it’s not something where — it’s not like, I’m gonna go east just so I don’t have to play them, ’cause you don’t wanna run from competition at all. That’s not how I am.

But, there is a sense that it’s probably the smarter thing, as far as, you don’t have to have the sam–like, you’re not gonna have to battle it out with all these l–teams just to make it to the second round, make it to the third r–you know, giving yourself a better chance against a Golden State. So, it definitely crosses your mind. A hundred percent.

On whether better odds of being an All-Star in the Eastern Conference impacted his decision
Yeah, and I think that, you look at the division that the Jazz are in, and that’s, that is a tough division. Oklahoma City, Minnesota, Portland, Denver. Like, that’s gonna be a really, really tough division, four — you’re playing those teams four times a year.

The All-Star thing is, it’s gonna be hard no matter what division you’re in, but certainly with the amount of stars that are in the Western Conference now, especially at the forward position too, it’s loaded and you know, you better have a really good first half of the season if you want to get in.

And a lot of that, to me, always comes down to how your team does. If your team is winning, then it’s gonna be a lot easier for you. So that, like I said, that for sure crosses your mind.

On when exactly Boston started separating itself from Utah and Miami
There was still doubt in my mind when I went to sleep, and so, I was for sure leaning there… [In the morning], ended up j-kinda just talking it out more than anything with [Mark Bartelstein], and that’s kind of where we, we were in the process of doing that, and that’s kind of when the leak* happened.

And you know, I’m talking with Mark, and like I said, for sure leaning towards Boston but not made up my mind at all, and now my phone’s blowing up…So, he took at least, what, like, an hour or two to let that all f–settle down**, and I guess, just, I didn’t wanna make — felt like, now I felt like there was a lot of pressure because everyone’s already saying the decision’s been made, and I still wasn’t for sure thinking Boston’s the way to go, so wanted to then think about it for a little bit longer, and didn’t wanna make my decision based off of the pressure that everyone else is putting on me that, you know what I mean, like, Twitter and everything just blowing up. And so, you know, we took a couple more hours, and then I finally, like, made up my mind.

* Interesting word choice. “Leak,” not “rumors.”
** i.e. to deny the leak to anyone who would listen.

On when exactly Boston started separating itself from Utah and Miami, Take 2
It was a different feeling in Boston that I had. It’s really, it was like a gut feeling, and felt like with everything that we broke down — the city, the coaching staff, the players, just the feeling of putting on a Boston Celtics uniform and competing for a title — outweighed everything else for me.

And in the end, it was kind of that s–that gut feeling that I had, like, this is the place that I think I should be and that I feel like I belong, that’s what won it over for me.

On how much he dreaded the phone call to Utah
Yeah, it was, I am, first off, terrible at doing that stuff.* It’s a hard thing to do, and I would’ve dreaded the call no matter what. It was, and so, it was, I called Quin, and just, you know, you gotta have to tell him. And he was great about it…It didn’t last too long, the phone call…

And then after that, I called Johnnie Bryant, who’s, like, my guy, and told him too, and it was the same thing.

* Lol, you don’t say.

On what Quin Snyder has meant to his career
He helped me turn myself into an all-star. He, feel like, saved me from a dark place where I was at. You know, we went, we won 25 games and I hate losing more than anything, and kinda helped turn that ship around and changed the culture in Utah a little bit. And, you know, helped me grow as a player, as a person, and you know, he was tremendous for me.

Utah Jazz Introduce Jonas Jerebko and Thabo Sefolosha

July 19, 2017
tags: , ,

On signing with the Jazz
Coach [Quin] Snyder called me and you know, obviously expressed interest, and the interest was very mutual. And just his playing phis–philosophy and just the roster that they had here and guy that they brought in and obviously Rudy [Gobert] in the middle, and just all-around great guys, unselfish guys, it made this decision easy, to be honest.

Especially with the roster being international, playing with Thabo [Sefolosha], Ricky [Rubio], you know, Rudy, and Joe [Ingles] and Dante [Exum], and you know, just everybody, it’s, I’m really looking forward to coming here to Salt Lake and just keep building on what they did last year.

On growing up a Jazz fan
It started every other summer growing up. My dad is American. He’s from Buffalo, New York, so every other summer I used to go play, just random basketball camps all over Buffalo. And went in the [Champion] store and Karl Malone jersey was there. Picked it up and wore it proudly for the next few years, and that’s what made me a Jazz fan. Always picked them when I played my video games.

You know, you, in Sweden, you don’t get, you can’t watch the games. So, I tried to just keep up there on the video games and obviously I’ve seen the great runs they have. So, that’s what made me a fan, really.

Do you know any Jazz players?
Joe and I was at the Euro camp, so I know him from there. Ricky, obviously, European, and you know, I’ve played in the NBA for eight years, so a lot of these guys I’ve, I know off the court and on the court. Thabo obviously played in Italy a year before me, so we kinda got history together. So, I followed him to Italy and I followed him here to Utah.

On Rudy Gobert
I’ve been on the wrong side of things, and you know, when you trying to get to the hole and you see a guy like Rudy under the basket, he’s gonna make you think, and he’s most likely gonna make you pass.

So I mean, it’s gonna be a great thing for everybody on this team to just know that you have Rudy back there. It’s kind of like an insurance, you know, to play around that, and to be able to have a shotblocker and somebody that can tec–can contest shot like he can, not a lot of teams in the league are lucky like we are.

Jerebko’s first tweet as a Jazzman

On Andrei Kirilenko
AK-47 was one of my player–favorite players growing up. And you know, just watching him play, I tried to simulate my game to his. …

Karl Malone made me into a Jazz fan. Bought a jersey growing up, and then obviously being a huge fan of AK-47, and you know, just admiring his game growing up, I’ve always been a Jazz fan.

On Boston
I am not gonna miss it. I’m excited about the future and what we have going here, so I’m definitely not gonna miss it. We had a great run, but I’m excited for the future.

On Jazz fans looking forward to games against Boston this year
So am I. I can’t wait. So am I.

** Languages: Swedish (native tongue), English and a little Italian.
** Grew up playing hockey, soccer, floorball, handball and golf, but parents and sister played basketball so he fell into it naturally.
** Hobbies: golf, fishing, being outside, mountain biking, gaming.
** Golf handicap: Used to be 6, probably 12 right now.

Why Utah?
I had a great conversation with the coach. Great conversation with the GM, Dennis [Lindsey], and you know, the way they explained it to me was that, you know, they needed somebody on the defensive end that’s gonna come and show the young guys also how it’s supposed to be done. Be a veteran leader. And so, you know, conversation with the coach and the GM, that’s what made me come here to Utah. …

The conversation [with Snyder] so far has been really open and honest, so you know, it’s a great way to start.

On how the Jazz’s style fits his game
Defensively, you know, it’s a team that really pride itself with Rudy and everybody, you know, at being tough on the defensive end, and that’s what I, that’s what my game, you know, it’s a lot about. Other than that, you know, I think moving the ball, playing that European style of basketball, you know, will fit my game.

Are you close with anyone on the team?
I know Rudy already. We spoke, you know, in Atlan–before I came here. I know Jonas pretty well, so — we played in the same team in Europe.* Not at the same time, but with the same team, so that’s some similarity there. Other than that, you know, I just, for the rest of the guy, I just know them, you know, playing against them.

* Pallacanestro Biella in Italy

On Jazz fans
I used to hate playing, you know, here against the team, so I’m excited, you know, being here and hearing those fan cheering for us, you know, for a change. It’s gonna be great.

** Languages: French (native tongue), English and a little Italian
** Favorite food: Rice and chicken, provided the chicken is grilled the right way.
** Hobbies: spending time with his children, watching soccer, Call of Duty, biking.
** Wearing No. 22 because 25, 2 and 5 were all taken. Next choice would have been 18. (Birthday is 2 May.)
** Idol growing up: Michael Jordan
** Favorite teammate(s) of all time: Kevin Durant and Joakim Noah
** Biggest influence(s): Mom and dad. Both artists who taught him at a young age to believe in himself and follow his dreams.
** Thabo Sefolosha, unintentional dirty quote machine: It’s exciting to think about, you know, Gobert being in the back. I can be a little bit more loose and be more aggressive on my man knowing that, you know, Gobert is there in the back taking care of things.

P.S. Congrats to Joe Ingles on this great troll job with his Paul George shoes:

Where Are They Now: Bobby Hansen

July 18, 2017
tags: , , ,

** Currently a color commentator for the Iowa Hawkeyes. “I just enjoy life. I’m a grandfather three times over. My wife Mary and I, we’ve been married 30 years and our children are grown. Two of them are in Chicago, one in Des Moines.”

On who inspired him to get into color commentating
[When I come back], I think about Hot Rod Hundley. You know, we lost Hot Rod and he’s the reason I got into radio, was Hot Rod seemed to have fun at what he was doing and I’m like, “Hmm, maybe I’ll try this when I get done and have as fun as Hot Rod had.”

What was the transition from All-Stars Adrian Dantley and Rickey Green to Karl Malone and John Stockton like?
Amazing time led by an amazing man in Frank Layden, who had a vision as president, general manager, coach. Frank was everything. You know, and he saw, I think, the draft and tha–they didn’t get lucky. They just had an incredible scouting department that saw the talent…

They drafted John, and I think it took them about a week in training camp to realize he was not gonna be the backup, that he was probably gonna be the starter. And then they moved Rickey Green to Charlotte. And there was only room for one on the low block, so Adrian Dantley was the odd man out. Karl assumed that, and the rest is history. Those guys are hall of famers.

On Larry H. Miller and how the Jazz became rooted in the community
I think where it kinda all came together was in, I think in 1988, maybe, when we took the Lakers to seven games. That’s when it really became, like, unified. Th–it was Salt Lake against the rest of the NBA, and to be on the verge of knocking off the world champions at that time, the Laker–it was just an incredible time…

[The organization] found stability in the Miller family. Larry Miller, Toyota dealer in town, and he was real involved. I mean, Larry was in the locker room. Larry was encouraging. He was, you know, challenging you.

And then, he’s the main reason — the Miller family is the reason why the team is here and will remain here probably forever, I would think, with — I mean, the guy bought it for $20 million. I mean, what’s it worth now? Yeah, close to a billion dollars…

You move forward [from losing Gordon Hayward]. You move on, because this franchise has survived many, many things over the years, and because of that loyal fan base, it will thrive in the future.

You’ve played for Frank Layden, Jerry Sloan, Phil Jackson, Lute Olsen, and Dick Motta. Who was the best?
Frank Layden. Yeah, just because of everything that he is. He wasn’t a guy that would go up there and draw plays up, you know, and — he hated that, to be honest with you. He was more about motivating you, playing together as a team, taking care of each other, and competing. Just giving it everything you got every time you’re out there. And he really cared about you; you knew that…

If you ask me who my favorite, who the best coach that I — it’s Frank Layden, as a professional…He took the heat off his players and he put it on himself. He shouldered a lot of that burden, and as a player, it was great.

On Jerry Sloan
Jerry just got the best out of you. Jerry challenged you every single day to, you know, never take a moment off. Just to be the ultimate competitor, and that really elevated my game. …

[Michael Jordan] was a great teammate. If you knew that anything broke out on the court, he was a lot like Jerry Sloan. I always knew if you got into a fight on the court or something, Jerry was gonna probably be the first one on the court. With the Bulls, Michael was gonna be that type guy. They had that similar type of personality.

Summer League Gleanings
Paid a lot of attention to Donovan Mitchell. Sitting over there with Coach Sloan and Phil Johnson and Kevin O’Connor and the scouting staff. Just kinda, just, you know, picking their brain a little bit. I really like that kid. He reminds me of an NBA player right now.

I mean, people talking about Damon* Lillard; you know, Marcus Smart. He’s got that man’s body. He’s a willing defender. He made one play — I was sitting behind the bench behind Alex Jensen over there — and he stole the ball, and right in front of their bench, he saved it, flipped it behind his back for a layup. It was a phenomenal play, and I said, “That’s an NBA play right there.”

So, I think the Jazz are in great shape. You got great young players. Jerry was talking about Rodney Hood. He likes him to pick up the scoring slack. I thought Dante Exum was better last night than he’s been in the past. Phil Johnson talked about when he first got here, he wouldn’t take the ball to the basket. Now he’s going to the basket hard, getting to the free throw line.

So, you’re in great shape. And yeah, it’s always tough to lose a — your star, your all-star, but the cupboard is not bare here with the Utah Jazz. (1280)

* Not a typo.

Bonus reading: Here’s a Bobby Hansen story Frank Layden told a year ago.

Michael Jordan told me when Bobby Hansen went to Chicago the last year of his career, he said to me, “Coach, thanks for giving us Bobby.” He says, “He used to give me fits.”

You know? He was — yeah, I used to say, “Bobby, when you come into the huddle, I wanna see blood on your uniform. I want to see Michael Jordan’s blood.” And so one day I come in and see [that he has] blood down, running down the front of his uniform. I said, “That’s it. I love that. I love seeing blood.”

He goes, “Coach, it’s my blood.” He said, “Michael–” he says, “Michael’s beating the shit out of me.”

Bits on Gordon Hayward from Rudy Gobert and Dennis Lindsey Interviews and Gordon Hayward Celtics Introductory Presser

July 15, 2017
tags: , ,

One. Rudy Gobert on what he likes most about the post-Gordon Hayward team of players that do want to be a part of the organization: You got guys that are not scared. You know, guys that are competitors, and that want to keep getting better, and that’s what we need. You know, that’s why I’m not worried. We gonna keep getting better, and we gonna keep — we gonna show people that, you know, we’re a very good team.

Two. Gobert on playing in Salt Lake City: I mean, first of all it’s probably the best or one of the best organization in the NBA. You know, we really put the player first. We try to — right now, we, I mean, remodeling all the arena, the practice facility. We invest a lot in all that. And you know, maybe it’s not the best city to party. Maybe, you know, it’s not the best city to have fun, but I think to win and to get better, to improve, to develop, I think it’s the best — I think it’s one of the top cities, top in the NBA.

** “We.” “We.” “We.”

Three. Dennis Lindsey on how the Jazz move on from Hayward: With a dose of enthusiasm and a level of competitiveness where we set our jaw and make no excuses and have an unbelievable culture and do that with what we stand for, what we wanna stand for, which is great defense, tough play, unselfish play, growing players in their larger roles.

I think if we, you know, move back to who we are, how, what we have to be, how we have to do it here, there’s gonna be a real fundamental resolve top to bottom.

Four. Lindsey’s vision for the next iteration of the Utah Jazz: I’d love for every team to come to Salt Lake City and feel like they’re going to the dentist, who is the biggest hack, and who’s — it w–it takes an hour operation, and he moves it to four hours, it, where it’s gonna be long and painful. So, I’m OK with [a final score of] 71 to 69.

Five. And with this, Joe Ingles’ ascension on everyone’s Favorite All-Time Jazzmen lists continues. The best part about this is the We(s)t Willy happened two years before Ingles joined the Jazz.

Six. Gordon Hayward on his decision to sign with the Boston Celtics: There was just something different about Boston, and different about being a Celtic, and it was just a special feeling when talking about, you know, being a Boston Celtic and that ultimately, you know, won me over and, decided to join the Boston Celtics.

Seven. Hayward, asked if he was surprised by the reaction to his decision in Utah: I can definitely see where these fans are coming from. You know, I think the, it’s disappointing to see some of the threats and some of the violent responses, especially towards my family, and things of that nature.

Eight. Hayward on Brad Stevens: We get to Boston and it’s late at night, and we’re greeted at the terminal with, by, my wife and I are greeted by Brad and [former Butler assistant and current Celtics assistant] coach [Micah] Shrews[berry] and, you know, it’s immediate, immediate familiarity, and comfort. And it brought back memories of when I was being recruited in high school by coach Brad, and so it started out like that and that was just a really cool feeling to kind of be doing it over again, this time at the next level. …

Brad has talked a lot about [players playing multiple positions and me playing with the ball and without the ball] and using a lot of guys that we have on the roster in different ways, and I know he’s a genius when it comes to that stuff, both offensively and defensively. …

As soon as, you know, you get off the terminal, you know, it’s just instant familiarity. Just a comfort level with Brad, and what he does, and how he goes about things. And you know, it was easy. It was really easy. …

He’s a great, great coach, great guy, and you know, just was a friend to me during those times when he wasn’t my coach. I mean, he came to my wedding. Any time I needed anything, he was there for me. And this is when he’s busy, you know, getting ready for his second national championship run; when he, you know, finally decides to go to the Celtics [and] he’s got a whole agenda on his plate. …

Then, to be reunited, and like I said, just the familiarity and the comfort when he’s, finally is allowed, without, you know, tampering with rules or anything, he’s finally allowed to just talk to me and recruit to me, recruit me, it was kinda like deja vu.

Nine. Hayward on his new teammates who traveled domestically to meet with him: [At Fenway Park], they had the real cool video and Isaiah [Thomas] was there. Al Horford was there. And that meant a lot to me that, you know, they showed up, took time out of their schedule. You know, the offseason for us guys is precious time; precious, precious moments. So, for them to show up was really cool for me. …

I’m thrilled to get a chance to play with those guys. You know, they did a hell of a job last year and you know, got to the Eastern Conference Finals, No. 1 seed in the East, and so I’m, you know, a huge fan of their ga–their basketball games…

And so, I’m more than ecstatic to play with those guys. I think it’s gonna be a great fit. I think we can complement each other extremely well. Really, really looking forward to playing with those guys.

Ten. Hayward, asked if he’s talked to Gail Miller yet: (pause) Yeah, so, Gail actually sent me a text after the decision was made. A very, very nice text. And, sent it to me first, and so, and also sent one to my wife as well, Robyn. And we both replied to her…And so, you know, I think that’s all that we’ve said and done.

** “And we both replied to her.”

Bits from Dennis Lindsey, Sam Amick, Rodney Hood and Gordie Chiesa Interviews

July 11, 2017
tags: , ,

On the impact of the time it took Gordon Hayward to “write his blog”
As it did drag out, were there things that were moving real quick? Absolutely. But we had gone as far, this far, so we wanted to, you know, get to the very end. And, you know, right or wrong, you know, I’ll be judged on that and then we’ll move forward. …

We were really concerned when he decided that he was gonna take visits, really on two matters. One, you know, there’s a ceremonial thing, a parade thing that we weren’t going to be able to have just ’cause Gordon and, was familiar with our situation.

So, if we show him the practice facility renovation or the renovation that’s going over at Vivint Smart Home Arena, it’s like, well, you’re not showing me a lot that [I haven’t] seen a thousand times. Or, even the plans on the renovation. So, there was a little bit of that.

But the overriding point is, in life timing means a lot. And so, just the fact that that, that it took time to go visit cities — and again, I don’t begrudge anybody who’s making an occupational decision to go and see the actual city and where they’re working and who they’re working with. It only stands to reason.

But we knew when — originally we were told they were gonna take meetings, and then it shifted to traveling to a couple cities. We knew that those 72 hours were gonna be really, really critical and that we could be letting a few things go off the board because of it.

On Rodney Hood’s role going forward
We have to lift him as a primary wing now. When Rodney Hood was out without Gordon Hayward on the court, his usage went up and in an odd way — and I don’t know if this is anecdotal evidence or not — his efficiency went up.

It was quite impressive to actually look at Rodney and Rodney’s performance, moreso because Rodney needs the ball to contribute. He’s a good pick and roll player. He’s a good player off the dribble.

And so, our talk to Rodney is, is reliability [and] availability will be the two best abilities regarding Rodney Hood. It’s not basketball skills. It’s not character. It’s not intelligence. It’s not knowing how to play. It’s just now he’s moving into a primary role, and we think he’ll be able to handle it. But he’s gotta be able to prove that.

When did Hayward first decide he was going to Boston?
I’ll say this much. The, you know, the idea that he was really torn and the Jazz pulled at the heartstrings and had him really considering Utah the night before, that, you know, I’d be, I have not heard that from Gordon’s mouth personally.

So, the stuff that you have, you know, that I had heard firsthand that, you know, was supposedly coming from Gordon, was a lot of noise about Boston. The whole day before, a lot of teams, a lot of rival agents definitely thought it was Boston. Like, 100 percent.

You know, you — beyond that, I don’t know. I think, the other stuff I’d hear that I don’t have total clarity on is the George Hill factor, and the fact that they — there was a lot of noise that once George was clearly not coming back [to Utah], that Gordon was out of there.

And that was, you know, that intel was kind of hard to decipher, because I know a lot of folks said that the [Ricky] Rubio deal was, you know, was good enough for Gordon, and that that was gonna get the job done. But it was puzzling, because George was under the impression that Gordon was out of there if he wasn’t back. I, you know, that much I know. And next thing you know, you know, they’re doing Rubio and then he’s, Gordon’s going to Boston. …

Gordon is also a guy, I mean, there was a ton of noise obviously about his wife and what she wanted. And so, that part, you know, everybody’s who’s married kinda gets the fact that, you know, it’s a 50-50 deal and everybody weighs in with their opinion. And so, you know, maybe it’s true that she was looking for a change of pace.

On what happened the day of the announcement
What I know is this, that Gordon was telling a lot of people around him that it was Boston. And obviously that got out, and you know — and even more specifically, there was a lot of noise that when the story had been first broken by Chris Haynes of ESPN, that the announcement was coming, you know, within 20 or 30 minutes of that story having broken.

And then at that point — here’s where it gets complicated and here’s where I can’t provide all the answers, and it’s a longer conversation, but the Players’ Tribune component has really complicated things when it comes to breaking news, not only because the players are trying to break it themselves, but because you have a business relationship between the website and the athlete…

Next thing you know, we’ve got ourselves a delay, of hours. …

The article itself, it really seemed like, “OK, you know, y–now we’ve got the piece ready for Boston, and let’s add in a couple of graphs, throw in a few slights at the media” — which I thought was unnecessary.

And you know, listen, I don’t think anybody’s reputations were negatively impacted by this. I think if anything, it just doesn’t make, you know, kinda his camp look very good. Only they know why they played it the way they did.

Did you have a sense in San Diego that Gordon Hayward was going to Boston?
I didn’t know. You know, we had a really good conversation, you know, after he met with the Millers and Dennis Lindsey and coach. And you know, it was a good conversation. We didn’t know. He did a pretty good job of hiding it.

Do you feel you’re the guy now and have to up your scoring average to 20, 22 points a game?
Yeah, I mean, I gotta get a lot better, you know, and I’ve been doing that this summer. You know, I’ve been gearing towards that, and you know, I think everybody has to improve. You know, once you miss a guy like that, everybody has to get better and help with that…

I mean, I need to [up my scoring]. I know it’s easy to point towards me, but like I said, everybody needs to, you know, up their play. You know, e–from me, myself, Rudy [Gobert], to you know, Ricky coming in, Joe Ingles; everybody has to do more than we were expected to do last year.

On how the Gordon Hayward situation was handled
Troubling. Yeah, I wish he would’ve told the Jazz what he was thinking much sooner, so the Jazz could quickly pivot.

By “sooner,” do you mean on Tuesday when he made the announcement, or Monday when the Jazz were visiting him?

Monday. Sunday…From the Jazz point of view, they did everything possible they could to have their best foot forward, including Gail Miller, God bless her, go down to San Diego for one more “sales pitch.”

I mean, I have a hard time [with] after seven years being there that you have, the owner has to go down and give you one more sales pitch. That’s troubling to me…[The Jazz] found out where they really stand, and that’s, again, that is very alarming.

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