Although Jazz management is keeping quiet about its plans to shop the free agent market, one thing is certain: they're interested.
"There are, I'll say, a few free agents available this year that would be of interest to us," said Jazz general manager Tim Howells on Tuesday.The subject of free agency surfaced Tuesday afternoon when an Associated Press story carried quotes from team owner Larry H. Miller, who said he was interested in Laker forward A.C. Green. "One that's intriguing is A.C. Green," Miller said. "We like him because of his versatility."
Nevertheless, the Jazz aren't getting any more specific. League rules state that teams can't talk about specific free agents until July 1. "The free agent market is an option we have to look at very seriously," continued Howells.
Whatever the Jazz do, it will need to be within the salary cap, which rises to $15 million once the playoffs finish. The Jazz are slightly over the current $14 million cap. They will also have another $650,000 "exception" that is granted to teams over the cap.
"Regardless of how we deal with free agents or shake up the team, we're still over the cap," said Jazz director of basketball operations Scott Layden.
Added Howells, "Whether we can rework enough salaries to free up enough money to do something remains to be seen."
Assuming the Jazz free up enough money to sign a free agent, what would it buy? Howells said the free agents the Jazz are interested in are primarily big forwards and centers. Among the available are centers Robert Parish and Joe Kleine (Boston), Andrew Lang and Manute Bol (Philadelphia), and Chris Dudley (New Jersey). Among the forwards are Green, Armon Gilliam (Philadelphia), Charles Smith (New York), Ken Norman (L.A. Clippers) and Rodney McCray (Chicago). All the above are unrestricted free agents.
Restricted free agents include Chicago's Scott Williams, the Lakers' Elden Campbell, Phoenix's Cedric Ceballos and the Clippers' Danny Manning.
Howells added, however, that valuable players who are restricted free agents - meaning their team can match any offer by another team - are nearly always signed by their own team.
Miller told the AP his team is looking "at a reasonable potential for trades. I think there'll be some new faces on the Jazz."
Asked to comment on possible free agent acquisitions, Layden cited the league rule. "I've got to decline to talk," he said.
Free but not cheap
Free agents and their approximate salaries last year
Robert Parish $3.51
Andrew Lang $1.04
Chris Dudley $1.2
Manute Bol $1.65
Joe Kleine $1.15
Ken Norman $1.28
Rodney McCray $1.08
A.C. Green $1.75
Armon Gilliam $2.3
Charles Smith $1.25
Scott Williams $613,000
Elden Campbell $575,000
Cedric Ceballos $350,000
Danny Manning $2.6 million