Summer agenda: Utah Jazz

Bobby MarksThe Vertical
Yahoo Sports

The Vertical Front-Office Insider Bobby Marks, a 20-year executive with the Nets, offers his thoughts on the offseason plans of NBA teams whose seasons have ended.

THE PLAN GOING FORWARD
Get a comfort level with Hayward
The Jazz’s focus this summer will not be on their $22 million in cap space, but the impending free agency of Gordon Hayward in 2017.

Another max deal could be in Gordon Hayward's future. (AP)
Another max deal could be in Gordon Hayward's future. (AP)

Since being selected with the ninth overall pick in 2010, Hayward has become the face of the Jazz. Hayward had steadily improved until kind of flat-lining this past season.

With Hayward entering the third year of a max contract signed in 2014, Utah is at a crossroads. Hayward has a player option for 2017-18 and the likelihood is for him to opt out and become a free agent in 2017.

Because Hayward is only in the third year of his contract the Jazz cannot renegotiate the deal even though they will have cap space.

With the salary cap expected to reach $109 million in 2017, Hayward’s starting max salary could approach $30 million per year. Hayward certainly has found a home in Utah, but the lure of free agency and potentially his last big contract could be too big to resist.

Learn from losses to Clippers and Mavs
Sometimes good things come from tough losses.

The late-season losses to the Clippers and Mavericks should serve as a teaching tool for the Jazz. With the playoffs in their grasp, the Jazz squandered a golden opportunity by losing to the undermanned Clippers and a Mavericks squad fighting for a playoff berth.

Although Utah would have faced Golden State or San Antonio in the first round, getting playoff experience for a young team was the next step in the rebuilding process.

Don’t lose faith
The Jazz pride themselves on player development.

Hayward, Derrick Favors, Rudy Gobert and Rodney Hood are proof of how well the organization develops players.

Missing out on the playoffs stings, but what those players will realize this offseason is that they will improve because of the hard work from previous summers.

The Gobert extension
The Jazz have an interesting decision to make this summer on Gobert, who is eligible for a contract extension but is under contract through 2016-17.

Rudy Gobert is eligible for a contract extension. (AP)
Rudy Gobert is eligible for a contract extension. (AP)

Utah can do what New Orleans did with Anthony Davis and sign Gobert to a big extension, thus eliminating cap space in 2017-18. The most likely scenario, however, would have the Jazz mimicking how the Wizards and Pistons handled the impending free agency of Bradley Beal and Andre Drummond, respectively. Both teams bypassed the extension, leaving the players’ cap holds on the books to create more cap flexibility.

Gobert is going to get his payday, but the likely scenario is the Jazz leaving his $5.3 million cap hold on the books in 2017.

TEAM NEEDS
Another year of stability and development with this roster will be the biggest upgrade for the Jazz.

Jazz fans should not pin their hopes on the return of Dante Exum to immediately fix some of the team’s issues at point guard. He’s still a 20-year-old in the development stage of his career recovering from a serious knee injury.

Besides figuring out if the Shelvin Mack-Raul Neto-Trey Burke combination is suitable until Exum returns, the Jazz’s biggest needs are an athletic wing and center off the bench.

SUMMER CAP BREAKDOWN

Guaranteed

  2016-17

    Insider info

1. Gordon Hayward

  $16,073,140

    Trade bonus

2. Derrick Favors

  $11,050,000

    None

3. Alec Burks

  $10,154,495

    None

4. Dante Exum

  $3,940,320

    None

5. Trey Burke

  $3,386,598

    Eligible for rookie extension

6. Tibor Pleiss

  $3,000,000

    None

7. Trey Lyles

  $2,340,600

    None

8. Joe Ingles

  $2,150,000

    None

9. Rudy Gobert

  $2,121,287

    Eligible for rookie extension

10. Rodney Hood

  $1,406,520

    None

11. Raul Neto

  $937,800

    None

Non/partial

  2016-17

    Guarantee date

12. Chris Johnson

  $1,050,961

    None

13. Jeff Withey

  $1,015,696

    None

14. Shelvin Mack

  $2,433,333

    July 7

FA cap holds

  2016-17

 

15. Trevor Booker

  $6,207,500

 

First-round holds

  2016-17

 

16. Own pick at No. 12

  $1,931,900

 

 CAP PICTURE

Guaranteed

   $56,560,760 

Non/partial

   $4,499,990

FA cap holds

   $6,207,500

First-round holds

   $1,931,900

Minimum holds

   $0

Dead money

   $0

Total

   $69,200,150 

Salary cap

   $92,000,000

Cap space

   $22,799,850 

PROJECTED CAP SPACE
The Jazz should already have their books lined up heading into free agency. With 14 players under contract, the Jazz will have $22.8 million in cap space.

Expect Mack to remain on the roster past his July 7 cut date. Mack, whose $2.4 million contract would become guaranteed then, would create additional room if waived, but with a below-average market for point guards, Utah will likely retain his services.

JUNE DRAFT PICKS
First round: Own

Second round: Own; has picks from Boston and Golden State

FUTURE PICKS
First round
2017: Own and has Golden State’s pick (unprotected)

2018: Own and has Oklahoma City’s pick (Nos. 15-30)

2019: Own and potentially has Oklahoma City’s pick (Nos. 15-30)

2020: Own and potentially has Oklahoma City’s pick (Nos. 15-30)

Own all first round picks.

Key rights to: Olivier Hanlan (Pick No. 42, 2015); Ante Tomic (Pick No. 44, 2008)

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