AN OPEN LETTER
To: Utah Jazz
From: Anonymous fan
To Whom It May Concern:
I am writing to inform you that I will not renew my season tickets. The trade of Bojan Bogdanvic on Thursday clinched it; I’m outta here. I’m starting my own rebuilding phase, like you. I’m rebuilding my bank account. It might take years. Sell the tickets to someone who’s up for watching a team scratch its way back into relevance.
Been there, done that.
Here’s the problem: It’s difficult to justify paying thousands of dollars for tickets when you are jettisoning your best players right and left and making it very clear that you’re rebuilding the team for the future — a project that will take, what, three to five years. Sheesh, they built the Eiffel Tower in two. Since you’re rebuilding for the future, I’ll get back to you in the future.
Sports franchises are the only businesses that can openly tell their customers: “Sorry, but we are going to sell you a much-inferior product for a few years — a lot more losing, no playoffs, no star players, that sort of thing — so we can sell you a really good model years down the road. Maybe. Who knows about these things? Meanwhile, make the best of it and make your check payable to …”
You dumped Donovan Mitchell, the latest Franchise Player. He stayed all of five years. He’s only 26 and still had three years remaining on his contract. You unloaded Rudy Gobert, the other face of the team. You sent Royce O’Neal to the East Coast and Patrick Beverley to the West Coast. And let’s not forget fan-favorite Joe Ingles, who was jettisoned last winter. Oh, and coach Quin Snyder resigned. Now you’ve traded away Bogdanovic — I was just learning to say his name — and there go the top four players from last season.
You pretty much traded everyone except the custodian and the mascot (or are they gone, too?).
Tell me again why I should pay a lot of money to watch this team?
After the recent wheeling and dealing and house cleaning, the Jazz have got more draft picks lined up than selective service, and they stretch out for years. As Sports Illustrated’s Patrick Byrne put it, there “could be some dark days ahead for Jazz Nation. Rebuilds aren’t always fun, and player development takes time.”
So call us when you’re finished.
Danny Ainge, the guy who’s in charge of the Jazz these days, has been very busy slinging deals, and everyone knows he is shrewd. As others have said, if you’re an NBA general manager and you see Ainge’s name on caller ID, don’t answer. He’s good at what he does, but watch his work in progress? The Jazz are going to lose a lot of games. They’re going to be conducting what is essentially practice sessions and auditions during games to develop a new team.
After noting that the rebuild was in progress, Deseret News beat writer Sarah Todd cautioned fans, “The NBA playoffs can’t be used to measure improvement for this team anymore. Instead progress will have to be based on if a player can cut down on their turnovers, if another can improve his passing, can learn to defend without fouling. Learning to celebrate small and moral victories will be absolutely necessary.”
This is the Jazz we’re talking about, right — not the Junior Jazz?
How would you like to be the guy in charge of selling tickets? What does he use as a sales pitch — pardon our dust while we renovate?
Rather than maintain the status quo and continue to rack up regular-season wins and division titles, the Jazz have scrapped it all and gone all-in on winning a championship, but who can say that it will lead anyplace different.
Maybe it actually will turn out in the end and you’ll have a championship contender again, but who wants to endure another makeover while waiting to see if the team can hit the jackpot with at least a couple of their newly acquired draft picks. Call me when that happens.