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Bits from Randy Rigby Interview, 1/8

January 9, 2014
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On the Utah Jazz
As we said at the very beginning of the season, this is a year that we wanted to build a, and give our young players to build, and grow. And now, I’ll say this. I think the start of our season, we were a little worse than what we anticipated we would be.

I think injuries had a big effect on that now that Trey has been able to come back, and get Marvin back as well, and get Jeremy Evans, has been a contributor. Getting our team all back and all healthy, and we’re now playing, and you know, of course we’re 11-11 in the last 22 games.

We’re seeing some signs of us being, and playing very well. And I think that’s a tribute to, also, our coaching staff is working very hard, working with our team. But our goal is to see that we develop this young core of players, and to see us make them become as good as we can make them.

Does Enes Kanter need to play more?
I think [his injury] played a little bit of mind games to him. And then Enes has gone through some, I think some personal, kind of, adjustments in his car–in his basketball career. I think in the last couple of games you’ve noticed, he’s been working through those. And I’ve seen a different energy, a different life. We’ve had some good conversations.

I had a good conversation with Karl Malone, who also told me that he’s had some various, recently, conversations with Enes. And I think Enes is now responding and has made some adjustments to his game and to some of his workouts, that we’re seeing the results now.

And I think those results are going to entitle, I, not entitle, are gonna earn him the right to be able to see more playing time, and we’ll see some more results. I thought his energy and his activity and his aggressiveness on the court last night was very positive.

How much does character matter when it comes to personnel?
We’ve always stood for being an organization that believes in having very strong character. When we analyze a coaching change, when we look at coaches, when we look at players, we really spend a lot of time in analyzing and finding out what makes that player tick, what kind of individual they are off the court as well as on the court. And that’s very important for us. …

We expect a high-quality and we expect high character. And I, ’cause I think it bleeds into the results not only on the floor, but also in their lives, it can come back and then bite you. And when it bites, it bites not you, but bites them, and you. And it bites, then, the team.

The obvious follow-up question of how Sidney Lowe has bitten the Jazz was not asked.

On Gordon Hayward’s contract situation
We jointly, as we went through the process during the off-season, that, we didn’t come to an agreement. And it became apparent for both of us that, okay, let’s take a season, and let’s see, it, what, if, in fact, those numbers could come closer together for both of us, of what, where his performance and numbers reflect what, then, the dollars should be, in the contract. …

In the last three games, Gordon has performed extremely well. We’ve all joked that he should’ve maybe gotten engaged a long time ago,* to, if that’s was going to be the result of seeing these kind of numbers. So, which, by the way, we’re happy and excited for the announcement for Gordon, with his engagement.

But you know, I think over this season, and it’s gonna be very interesting, to see over this seadon, season, if, how his numbers can hold up, and, it, based on what happens then, we will, we’ll make the appropriate decisions. …

When I visited with his father, you know, I told him, “Hey, our goal is to see us be involved with Gordon and Gordon be involved with the Jazz hopefully his whole career.” And so we’ll, but we’ll make sure that it’s right. We’re not gonna make wrong decisions, and bad decisions. But we’re gonna do the best, because our goal is to build a championship-caliber team.

And to do it, you have to manage your payroll properly. And you can’t overpay, to, and put too much pressure on one player, and then it hurts what your ability to do. And it also overly over-pressures them to over-perform of, to their abilities.

Um…if Hayward had gotten engaged any earlier he would be engaged to a minor.

ZOMG So awful Andrei Kirilenko was on the books when the economy took a dive in 2008
That’s a classic example. And sometimes people don’t realize is, what’s, sometimes Andrei’s money, that, what it was doing, at putting us, and then there was some interesting timing, and that’s where you never know and that’s why you gotta be careful on these things.

His payroll, that, the pay that we had to do with him, and then at the same time, when all of a sudden the economy took the dive that it did in 2008 and 2009, and players were opting in because teams were not being as aggressive as they were, had been in the past. And so, you had [Carlos] Boozer opting in, [Mehmet Okur] opting in, [Kyle] Korver opting in, and then you had Andrei’s contract still there.

Those, the com–the combination of all those things happening, and then you have a great player like Wes Matthews, that all of a sudden is wanting a little more money, and is offered it from Portland. We couldn’t, because of where, putting it, as over into that luxury tax area, any dollars you’re putting are offering him a $5 million contract really meant a $10 million tax impact on us.

Unfortunately, that, because of Andrei’s contract, it put us in a bad situation, that we couldn’t offer what we wanted to with Wes Matthews. (1280)

7 Comments leave one →
  1. January 10, 2014 12:18 am

    Deron made huge money that year. Al made huge money and played poorly. Memo made huge money and didn’t play at all.

    But none of that matters. Only AK’s was the difference maker in signing and letting Wesley go.

  2. Diana permalink
    January 10, 2014 1:31 am

    I don’t get Randy’s need to lie about AK. We all know that he lied about the number of games AK missed with the Jazz and now he is lying about AK’s financial impact. Jon touched on it above but I really want to share a few of his comments yesterday on SLC Dunk that goes into more details.

    The first about AK’s contract

    “They were slightly over luxury tax in his 2nd to last year
    2009-10. But team was, overall, financially just fine. Making it to the 2nd round of the playoffs made a huge difference to the team’s bank account.

    2010-11 turned out to be a train wreck. But was it AK’s contract? Or Al’s? Or Memo’s? In terms of team quality, the biggest bugaboos were (a) Al playing quite poorly those first few months with Deron and (b) lack of depth that snowballed as a result of Memo’s injury … with a healthy Memo the team likely doesn’t trade for Al and keeps Wesley Matthews. Boom. You have a C that plays well with Sap/AK/Deron, and the team suddenly has better depth (seriously, Wesley instead of Raja). And it’s not over the luxury tax line.

    As for earlier years:

    To say AK’s contract hurt the team implies a couple things: (a) it hurt the team financially and/or (b) without AK getting paid that much, they could have built a better team with that extra money.

    Well, in regards to (a) the team was financially fine until the 2010-11 disaster. So that didn’t matter.

    Regarding (b) … what could the team have done differently? Get a better defensive C? Nope … we already had a starting Center. We had an All-Star PF. We had an All-NBA PG. None of these guys were getting replaced by a hypothetical new guy to have on the roster. So the only thing the team could have done with the money instead was get a different wing player to be the 4th or 5th most prolific shot-taker and then fill in the gaps with defense, rebounding, steals, and blocks. What guy would do those things better than AK?

    Seriously, that team was incredibly well-put together (on the offensive side, which is pretty much all KOC cared about anyway). Great PG. High scoring. All-Stars in the front court. Korver/Brewer killing it in their respective roles. Sap off the bench. Unless you completely change the philosophy behind building a team, I’m not sure you can find a more well-put together top eight guys. I don’t think the Stockton/Malone/Hornacek teams were as well-put together from top guy down to 8th man.

    The team ultimately fell short because of its defensive problems (an institutional problem that was miraculously saved by … you got it … Andrei Kirilenko), injuries, and a guy who let personal problems kill the team’s chance to make to the NBA finals.

    Nowhere in those years did paying AK a max contract hurt the team.”

    And how the Jazz weren’t going to change the team anyways by Yucca:
    “HOW could it have made a difference?
    Extra money doesn’t matter unless it’s actually used to improve the team. So how could they have improved the team?

    (a) That team was an offensive juggernaut. Easily one of the best offenses in the NBA. I’m not sure there was anything that could be done to improve the offense, considering how well it was put together and how well the different players fit.

    (b) To improve the defense, the team would need some radically different players. Like a defensive C instead of Memo. Or a strong defensive PF instead of Boozer (these would the be the most obvious areas to improve the team’s D). But we are talking about two of the four highest paid players on the team here. It’s not like we were stuck with the dead body of Raef LaFrentz and “if only we could have more money to get a good player”. Boozer was making nearly $12. Memo nearly $9. We were spending big money on those spots already … AK’s contract made no difference whatsoever in the team’s ability to go out and get expensive guys.

    Had AK made less money, would the team have been able to trade Boozer for Kevin Garnett? Or Memo for Marcus Camby? Because it’s this kind of radical, major changes to that front court that would have made real difference in the Jazz’s defensive performance.

    Basically, I don’t see any way that extra money would have made a difference to those teams. Not when Boozer and Memo were entrenched as the starting C and PF. And that frontcourt combo didn’t come as a result of penny pinching … it came from spending a lot of money.

    IMO, the real problem of that team was KOC’s indifference to defense when filling out a roster. Nothing could have made the team better as long as KOC based decisions on only offensive fit. And it wasn’t AK’s contract that made KOC undervalue defense.”

    And lastly the impact AK’s contract had on not resigning Wesley. (It wasnt’ just AK’s money)

    “As for the latter year
    When the Jazz let both Kyle and Wesley go, obviously the financial aspect was the driving cause. And yes, AK made the most money on that team.

    But he also actually contributed. Memo made over $10 million and never played a game. THAT’s a bigger issue than AK’s paycheck. Al made $14 million and was a disaster those first few months. That matters. Signing Al made the team sign Raja for $3 million. That matters.

    What could the team have done with that $27 million represented by Al/Raja/Memo (I loved the guy, but the contract was a bad idea when extended even before the injury)?

    There are lots of alternate ways the team could have gone, and when I look at all of them I don’t think AK’s contract was even close to the major stumbling block.”

    So Yucca shares why AK wasn’t an albatross to the Jazz. The Jazz are at fault and mishandled not only AK but other contracts.

  3. Diana permalink
    January 10, 2014 1:45 am

    So Randy recognizes the goal this season is to “But our goal is to see that we develop this young core of players, and to see us make them become as good as we can make them.”

    I’m sorry but if even Randy Rigby is admitting that’s the goal, can someone tell Ty? How is playing Williams and RJ major minutes at the expense of Kanter and Burks, accomplishing that goal?

    That hard working coaching staff obviously needs to work smarter!

  4. Diana permalink
    January 10, 2014 1:47 am

    Nice that Karl had to have a talk with Enes, heaven forbid Ty do his job. I am glad Karl is part of the organization again, the Jazz were disgraceful for blacklisting him for all the years they did. They still are too weary though of letting him have a major role or talk publically, cause you know can’t upstage Ty…

    I’m sorry but Ty has every crutch in the world and still doesn’t know what he is doing.

    I am glad though that Karl can help Enes.

  5. Diana permalink
    January 10, 2014 1:49 am

    I do like that we tend to have high character guys on the team. But lets not pretend all past players were saints. And lets not pretend that all these players are saints. And its not their jobs to live the perfect Utah life. There job is to win basketball games.

    I am all about high character, I think its very important but again what about Sidney Lowe, that is a federal offense what he did (or didn’t do… pay his taxes) if a player did that, it would be the end of the world. Imagine if Burks didn’t pay his taxes….

  6. January 10, 2014 4:49 am

    Nobody gonna throw Greg Miller under the Bus? Ok, I’ll do it…

    Nobody seems willing to acknowlege the effect that the passing of Larry Miller, and subsequent management of Greg Miller, had on the Jazz. Basically as soon as Larry Miller passed away the Jazz started the slow death of attrition by attempting to replace players with cheap alternatives. Brewer, Korver, Boozer, Matthews…replaced on the roster by Bell, Jefferson, and Rookie Gordon Hayward.

    As was eluded to by Jon, but not fully elaborated on, the real lynchpin for all the saddness of the 2010-2011 season was the Al Jefferson trade. Jefferson was the closest analogue in the entire league to Carlos Boozer, for better and worse, and trading for him was a move that screamed “were not trying to be better, just good enough, and cheaper”. He cost the Jazz 2 first round draft picks and Kosta Koufos, only cost about 2 million a year less than Boozer, and it was that trade that made retaining Matthews and/or Korver difficult and ultimately led to the decision to let Matthews go and sign Bell instead.

    I just don’t see Larry Miller buying in to that kind of thinking, it was the EXACT OPPOSITE of everything he ever did as owner of the Jazz.

    I like Jefferson as a person, and I even like a lot of his game as a player, but he was a terrible fit in Jerry Sloans offense (which should have been obvious going in and was evidenced by the way his numbers cratered at the start of that season) and he and Corbin formed a perfect storm that pretty much made me hate watching Jazz Basketball for the first time in my life.

    That’s why I’ve stopped blaming Corbin for anything that happens this season, I am 100% convinced that the Jazz Front Office went off the rails after Larry Miller passed, and that this season is just the smoldering conclusion of the dumpster fire that has been the last 3 years.


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