clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Jazz mailbag: Will fans be in arenas next season? Mike Conley for Paul George? And, who else should the Jazz target?

Benny the Bull plays a Rubik’s cube on the virtual fan boardof an NBA basketball game between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday, Aug. 8, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Kevin C. Cox/Pool Photo via AP

SALT LAKE CITY — Just because the Utah Jazz aren’t playing basketball doesn’t mean we can’t talk basketball.

The mailbag is still fully operational and will continue to be throughout the offseason, so keep sending in your questions.

Is there a chance? Yes.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver has made it very clear the league is going to do whatever it can to get fans back into arenas in the 2020-21 season. That doesn’t mean there will be 20,000 people getting into a building anytime soon or even that fans will be allowed at games when the 2020-21 season begins. None of that has been decided yet.

There are a million variables and that’s why the NBA has yet to announce a start date for next season. NBA officials are going to wait as long as they can, gather as much information and hope for the U.S. to get a handle on the spread of the coronavirus before making decisions on next season.

Silver knows he can’t wait forever. But, even the planning and negotiations between the league and the players association are giving him a little bit of a buffer before anything has to be set in stone.

“We’re going to try to find the right balance between waiting as long as possible — so we have the best possible information at the time we’re making the decision — and recognizing that, at some point, we have to begin to lock in plans,” Silver said in a Sports Illustrated interview in August.

If I had to guess, I’d say that at the very least there will be small groups and limited fans allowed at games next season with the possibility for more depending on whether there are more twists and turns waiting for us in 2021.

I’ve been saying the Jazz should go after Aron Baynes all season and I think it’s even more true now. This is sort of tied to the idea of not going after Derrick Favors though, which I know is not popular in Jazz nation, but let me explain.

In order to get Favors the Jazz would have to use the entirety of the mid-level exception and even then it might not be enough, especially if the Pelicans or another team are willing to pay him close to his current salary of $17 million. And, bringing in a reliable backup center is not going to solve the Jazz’s problems. They’ll still have shopping to do and not a lot of money to do it.

If the Jazz use part of the MLE on a guy like Baynes, who by the way would give the Jazz a frontcourt perimeter threat, or are able to free up enough cap money to use on him, they could use the rest or all of the MLE and the biannual exception to find versatile defending wings that they desperately need to fill out the roster.

I totally understand there is love for Favors in Utah and that it’s a mutual love. But, what is sentimental might not be financially wise for the Jazz for the future.

I do not think the Clippers are planning on parting ways with Paul George after one season. They gave up so many future assets to bring him into the fold and the team changed so much from last season to this season that they’re going to want to give it more time before throwing in the towel.

That being said, I can’t say what the Jazz would do. But, I can say what I would do. I wouldn’t make the deal. I’d be looking forward to the possibility of getting away from Mike Conley’s $34 million contract and freeing up some space for younger players and I wouldn’t want to break up chemistry and continuity for George, who was kind of a dud in the postseason and has not lived up to expectations, all the while being tied to him through the 2021-22 season for $37 million.

The simple answer is, no. The bubble that we’ve come to know, with all of the players isolated at a single location, like the NBA’s bubble in Orlando, will not be renewed for the 2020-21 season. If for no other reason than the cost, the NBA won’t want to repeat what it has done at Walt Disney World.

Silver told Sports Illustrated that the $170 million price tag of the bubble is just too costly.

“It’s not a sustainable model,” he said. “But we also recognize that this virus will end and that at some point we will return to more of a normal business operation with fans in seats.”

And, like I said in answering the previous question, finding a way to get fans in arenas is the league’s top priority.

The more complex answer is that the coronavirus might not allow the league to act as it would want to and that it might turn to playing in regional bubbles or have multiple bubble locations depending on the spread of the virus and what the players association and league agree on.

Just need Donovan Mitchell to be a little smaller so the proportion of the setting sun is closer to reality. That’s what fan art is all about; perfect proportions and reality. OK, that was all sarcasm. Jeremy, since you’re the only person who entered the contest that you created, you win (lol). In all seriousness though, it’s pretty good.

If you would like to have your question answered, you can send it to me at stodd@deseretnews.com with “mailbag” in the subject line, or you can send it to me via Twitter @NBASarah with the hashtag #SundayJazzMailbag.