Stupid Trail Blazers and Their Money

Wesley Matthews (via ABC4)

Really, Portland?

Now you’re trying to nab Wesley Matthews?

Really?

For those of you who don’t know or don’t remember, the Jazz and the Blazers had a bit of a run-in last summer about Paul Milsap.

** Skip ahead if you’d prefer not to re-live this story **

Carlos Boozer spent a good chunk of the 2008-2009 season injured, but Milsap stepped up and went on a beautiful run as the starter, averaging 15.5 PPG, 9.5 RPG while shooting 56% from the field. He also set the longest double-double streak in the NBA that season.

Jazz fans were pumped. We all figured that Boozer was going to leave once his contract was complete this summer – And ‘ta-da!’ We were right – but suddenly we weren’t worried, because we got ourselves a replacement to root for.

Then the Blazers showed up and complicated things. They gave Millsap a 4-year, $32 Million dollar offer sheet, forcing the Jazz into a very difficult financial spot by front-loading the deal with a $5.6 million dollar signing bonus and $4.7 million out of his $6.3 first year salary on the day that the contract becomes effective.

This meant that in order to keep Milsap, the Jazz had match a deal that forced them to pay $10.3 million dollars up front, which in turn forced the small market Jazz into pulling up minimum salary guys should anyone get injured or moved.

** Okay, all good now **

The Jazz really wanted Millsap, so they took out a bank loan  – I’m not kidding – to match the Blazers offer and roll the dice. They leaned on Jerry Sloan and Deron Williams to bring up a new set of guys that no body had heard of and turn them into players. One of those guys is an undrafted shooting guard named Wesley Matthews.

He worked hard, and found his way into meaningful minutes near the end of the season and wound up starting in the playoffs, even guarding Smoke Monster in the second round (and held his own for the most part).

Jazz fans were pumped. They Jazz have got themselves a new SG, and thank goodness, since they shipped Ronnie Brewer to the Grizzles mid-season to relive some of that salary crunch.

Then came the rumors that the Blazers like Matthews.

Nothing to worry about, we Jazz fans assume. The Blazers already have a starting SG in Brandon Roy. We know he was hurt near the end of last year, but the Blazers aren’t so hard up to get a back up that they would make a big enough offer to pull Matthews away from the team that gave him a shot, right?

Then the offer sheet is made public.

It’s a five-year, $33.4 million dollar deal with a $3.4 million dollar signing bonus. The Blazers would pay Matthews as much as $5.85 million dollars in salary the first year. Combined, the Jazz would now have to match $9.2 million dollars for next season, and they’d need to pay it by a week from Tuesday.

This from TribJazz‘s Twitter page:

Talked to Matthews’ agent, Lance Young. The contract is the most frontloaded it could be under CBA rules. It’s Millsap, the sequel.

The Jazz are set to pay Kirilenko $17.8 million this year in the final year of his contract. The only way the Jazz could afford to keep Matthews and stay under the cap is if they moved Kirilenko, Williams or Okur.

This is the part where I imagine Paul Allen calling Greg Miller and telling him to go home and get his shine box.

Unbelievable. And all this happened in the same week the Jazz lost Korver and Boozer to Chicago AND Deron Williams was joking about signing with Miami.

Great.

I think the odds are against the Jazz matching this deal. It’s a lot of money for a first year guy, which is not how the Jazz roll, generally. Plus, the Jazz could always bring Ronnie Brewer back. I’m sure that won’t be awkward:

“Hey Ronnie, you remember that day at the airport before the trade deadline? You remember how we asked you step off the charter before you could say goodbye to anyone and get on a plane to Memphis? Yeah… we’re cool, right? Basketball is a business, right?”

I just… you know what Portland? You’re on my list. In 2007 it was picking Greg Oden over Kevin Durrant. Then Milsap, then you can’t keep a center or a forward on the floor last season, then you fire your GM on draft night but let him continue to run the draft. Now this?

That’s it. I’m gonna… well, I mean. I could…

Blast. I just realized I am entirely unable to do anything about this. Unless…

Ah HA!

You will now face the earth-shattering awesomeness of my funny, funny jokes. Maybe I’ll start calling you the ‘Fail’ Blazers from now on. Ye-ah! Take that!

And, and.. when the the new NBA Jam comes out, I’m going to rock. your. world.

I hope you all like the phrase ‘Boom Sha ka la ka,’ because you’re going to be hearing it from an apartment in Brooklyn many, many times.

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~ by djepperson on July 12, 2010.

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