Maybe it’s too many helpings of our Country’s Birthday Cake? OR inhaling too much smoke from our neighborhood’s (a lot if it OURS!) fireworks show or maybe it’s just a jaded, borderline uber inquisitive journalists’ nature…but seems to me the Jazz are up to something!
Thanks to the unrelenting urge to rekindle the spirit of the “Rocky Mountain Revue” Jazz team president Randy Rigby’s succeeded in reviving this rite of our Intermountain West Summer that’s been dormant since 2008. The Utah Jazz Summer League (name’s been changed, so has venue, Jazz, Spurs, Celtics and Sixers Summer teams playing in EnergySolutions Arena) downsized to 4 teams playing four double-headers, four straight nights Monday-Thursday.
Now that what’s back is news, what’s supposed to be among the biggest stories of what’s back is, in fact, not back and…that’s making big news!
Where is Jazz #1 Draft pick Trey Lyles? Why will he most likely not play in this Utah Jazz Summer Showcase? HHmmm.
Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey says “Don’t blame the kid, it’s all on me!” OK, well I wasn’t about to blame Trey Lyles for not signing his rookie contract, since the Jazz haven’t offered the contract up for the kid to sign. It apparently all boils down to the Jazz wishing to maintain ‘maximum salary cap flexibility’. Basically, trying to hold onto about $375,000 worth of Lyles’ rookie contract, so they could have that much ‘salary cap room’ to play with should they need to use it to reel in a free agent or use it to balance salaries in the event they find a trade they like. To oversimplify, once Lyles signs his contract, the Jazz theoretically will lose the nearly $400K in cap space that would then be dedicated to Lyles contract.
In the meantime, while GM Lindsey and Jazz braintrust beat the bushes looking for possible free agents or trades that could make the Jazz better, Lyles twists in the wind. Not practicing, not playing in any summer league games this week or next week in Vegas, until the Jazz resolve their team-building issues and finally give Lyles a contract. Has this ever happened before? Sure, last year’s draft when Lakers hung Julius Randle out for a short while. Everything worked out just fine, except for Randle tearing his ACL as soon as he started practicing again.
Here’s where the conspiracy theorists gather and start cranking out the counter-narratives. Simpleist offering, if Lindsey’s just doing his due diligence, he’s kicking the tires on free agents and/or trades very possibly involving Lyles. If you’re about to move the 12th pick in the 2015 NBA draft, nobody involved would want Lyles playing in Summer League games right before he gets moved. Why? Don’t want him getting hurt nor playing poorly, nothing that would chase away potential suitors.
Maybe Lyles isn’t so wild about joining the Jazz?
This observation advanced by Garrett Faylor who writes for The Spectrum in St George “Via Twitter, Lyles has a hot sister or maybe girlfriend, didn’t look happy to be called by Utah and showed up to the Draft dressed like Pee Wee Herman.” Obviously, there’s little substance to this inference but still…
And then–Why is talented Brazilian point guard Raul Neto (Hawks 2nd round pick in 2013, 47th overall, 23 years old, 6’2″) here in SLC now?
Jazz Beat writer Jody Geneysey of the DesNews says “He will spend time in Utah discussing his future with the Jazz
Same for Tibor Pleiss picked up from OKC in Kanter deal. I’m sure there are reasonable explanations for why both guys are here now…but…just sayin’ it does make for intriguing scuttlebutt! Both could end up on Jazz opening night roster.