Yes, the NBA is a business as fans were abruptly reminded this off-season. Owners and players alike were little kids fighting over their Happy Meal toy the fans gave them. But a Happy Thanksgiving will once again lead to a Merry Christmas, especially for the Jazz and its followers.
A deal was agreed upon on none other than Black Friday. While shoppers were out hustling and bustling, hitting up local Wal- Marts and Best Buys, NBA players and owners had their own door-busters of sorts.
The NBA season of 66 games is set for take-off on Dec. 25, 16 games short of a normal regular season.
NBA on Christmas is becoming the NFL of Thanksgiving. There is no assurance there will be an equivalent to a Turkey Bowl, but intriguing matchups are aligned to bring some extra cheer to this holy day. This Christmas in particular will hold extra meaning, as it marks the success of what looked like to be an NBA Armageddon of sorts.
The Jazz will begin pre-season games starting on Dec. 19 and 21 against Portland. The intriguing story lines of the Jazz season though will not start on Christmas, but rather Dec. 9, when free agents can be signed.
Behind closed doors, the Jazz brass will have some important issues to confront, one of them being their big man situation.
Returning is Al Jefferson, who’s proven to be a go-to scorer down low for the Jazz as he led the team in points, rebounds, and blocks last season.
He’s cemented his spot on the 12-deep, or so fans would think.
Enes Kanter is the Turkish big who was highly sought after and the Jazz acquired in the NBA draft this past June. Derrick Favors is just as touted and will be looked at for some quality minutes this coming season. Jeff Hornacek, former Jazz player and current assistant, said he’d be shocked if Favors wasn’t an all-star after four years in the league.
And of course, Paul Milsap, who has the Riley Nelson mantra of sorts in the form of a blue-collar, hard-working mentality.
Four bigs. Only two can start. It makes management wonder if they could ink a sign-and-trade with a team, or at least sign a free agent to help their lack in the backcourt. This has been an issue for quite some time, and with the resignation of Sloan and trade of Deron Williams last season, the Jazz simply don’t have a whole lot to lose.
It may take some time for NBA and Jazz fans alike to adjust from the football to basketball mindset, but it helps a whole lot now the NBA actually has a season.
It’s Jimmertime in Sac Town, its Burk’s time in Utah, but most importantly, a business party in the NBA labor negotiation office for settling the mud to cement a season.
Josh Cann can be reached at [email protected]
By JOSH CANN