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|History||New Orleans Jazz|
|City||Salt Lake City, Utah|
|Team colors||Navy, Dark Yellow, Dark Green, Gray, White|
|Owner(s)||Gail Miller, Larry H. Miller Group of Companies (LHM Group)|
|General manager||Dennis Lindsey|
|Head coach||Quin Snyder|
|D-League affiliate||Idaho Stampede|
|Conference titles||2 (1997, 1998)|
|Division titles||8 (1984, 1989, 1992, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2007, 2008)|
|Retired numbers||9 (1, 4, 7, 9, 12, 14, 32, 35, 53)|
|History||New Orleans Jazz|
|City||Salt Lake City, Utah|
|Team colors||Navy, Dark Yellow, Dark Green, Gray, White|
|Owner(s)||Gail Miller, Larry H. Miller Group of Companies (LHM Group)|
|General manager||Dennis Lindsey|
|Head coach||Quin Snyder|
|D-League affiliate||Idaho Stampede|
|Conference titles||2 (1997, 1998)|
|Division titles||8 (1984, 1989, 1992, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2007, 2008)|
|Retired numbers||9 (1, 4, 7, 9, 12, 14, 32, 35, 53)|
The Utah Jazz are an American professional basketball franchise based in Salt Lake City, Utah. They are a part of the Northwest Division in the Western Conference in the National Basketball Association (NBA). The franchise began in 1974 as the New Orleans Jazz in New Orleans, Louisiana; the team moved to Utah in 1979.
The Jazz were one of the least successful teams in the league in their early years. Although they took 10 years before they made a playoff appearance (in 1984), they would not miss the playoffs again until 2004. During the late 1980s, John Stockton and Karl Malone arose as the franchise players for the team, and formed one of the most famed point guard–power forward duos in NBA history. Led by coach Jerry Sloan, who took over for Frank Layden in 1988, they became one of the powerhouse teams of the 1990s, culminating in two NBA Finals appearances in 1997 and 1998, where they lost both times to the Chicago Bulls, led by Michael Jordan. Both Stockton and Malone moved on in 2003. After missing the playoffs for three consecutive seasons the Jazz returned to prominence under the on-court leadership of point guard Deron Williams. However, partway through the 2010–11 season, the Jazz began a restructuring after the retirement of Jerry Sloan and trade of Deron Williams. The team has made the playoffs since then, under coach Tyrone Corbin and are beginning a new era under head coach Quin Snyder. The Jazz are one of two teams in the Major professional sports leagues located in the state of Utah; the other team is Real Salt Lake, a professional soccer team in Major League Soccer.
In 1974, the Jazz franchise began in New Orleans as the 18th team to enter the NBA. The team's first major move was to trade for star player Pete Maravich (who had played collegiately at LSU) from the Atlanta Hawks for two first-round draft picks, three second-round picks, and one third-round pick over the next three years. Although he was considered one of the most entertaining players in the league and won the scoring championship in 1977 with 31.1 points per game, the Jazz' best record while in New Orleans was 39–43 in the 1977–78 season. Maravich struggled with knee injuries from that season onward.
Venue issues were a continual problem for the team while in New Orleans. In the Jazz's first season, they played in the Loyola University Fieldhouse, where the basketball court was raised so high that the players' association made the team put a net around the court so that players wouldn't fall off of the court and into the stands. Later, they played games in the Louisiana Superdome, but things were no better due to high demand for the stadium, onerous lease terms and Maravich's constant knee problems. They also faced the prospect of spending a whole month on the road each year due to Mardi Gras festivities. Years later, founding owner Sam Battisone claimed that there was no contingency plan in case the Jazz ever made the playoffs. However, the Superdome's manager at the time, Bill Curl, said that the stadium's management always submitted a list of potential playoff dates to the Jazz management, but these letters were never answered.
After what turned out to be their final season in New Orleans, they were dealt a further humiliation when the Los Angeles Lakers selected Magic Johnson with the first overall pick in the 1979 NBA draft. The pick would have been the Jazz' had they not traded it to acquire Gail Goodrich two years earlier. Also, the Jazz had given up the rights to Moses Malone in order to regain one of the three first-round picks used for the Goodrich trade; the combination of Johnson and Malone blossoming into Hall of Famers and Goodrich's ineffective, injury-ruined few years in New Orleans made this transaction one of the most lopsided in NBA history.
Despite being barely competitive, the Jazz drew well during their first five years. However, by 1979 the franchise was sinking financially. Barry Mendelson, the team's executive vice president for most of the early years, said one factor in the financial trouble was an 11 percent amusement tax, highest in the nation at the time. The team also couldn't attract much local corporate support—an important factor even in those days—or local investors.
Battisone concluded that the franchise could not be viable in New Orleans and decided to move elsewhere. After scouting several new homes, he decided to move to Salt Lake City, even though it was a smaller market. However, Salt Lake City had proven it could support a pro basketball team when it played host to the American Basketball Association's Utah Stars from 1970 to 1976. The Stars had been extremely popular in the city and had even won an ABA title in their first season after moving from Los Angeles. However, their finances inexplicably collapsed in their last two seasons, and they were shut down by the league 16 games into the 1975-76 season after missing payroll. Although Salt Lake City was not known for its jazz culture, the team decided to keep the name, as well as the team's original colors of green, purple and gold (the colors of Mardi Gras). Some were offended by the Jazz keeping the franchise name after moving from New Orleans.
The Jazz's attendance declined slightly after the team's move from New Orleans to Utah, due to a late approval for the move (June 1979) and poor marketing in the Salt Lake City area. The team's management made the first of several moves in 1979, bringing high-scoring forward Adrian Dantley to Utah in exchange for Spencer Haywood. Dantley averaged 28.0 points per game during the 1979–80 season, allowing the team to waive Pete Maravich early in the year. The team struggled to a 24–58 mark, but was rewarded with the 2nd overall pick in the 1980 NBA draft, which they used to pick Darrell Griffith of Louisville, another piece of the rebuilding puzzle.
During the 1980–81 NBA Season, they struggled financially as well as on the court. Despite having perennial All-Star Dantley, a 20 point per game scorer in Griffith; as well as emerging point guard Rickey Green, the Jazz were still unable to get above .500, finishing 25-57.
Tom Nissalke departed as coach after they started the 1981–82 season 8–12, and General Manager Frank Layden replaced him. Layden's coaching wasn't an improvement initially, as the Jazz went 17–45 the rest of that season to finish 25–57.
The 1982 NBA draft saw the Jazz pick Dominique Wilkins. The Jazz would have preferred to take either James Worthy or Terry Cummings, but those players went 1-2 to the Lakers and Clippers, respectively; Utah had been confident that the Lakers would take Wilkins and that would have given them a shot at either of the other top forwards (they favored Cummings over Worthy because Cummings had shown he could play both small and power forward). Battisone's continued financial problems, combined with Wilkins making it clear he did not want to play in Utah, resulted in the Jazz sending Wilkins to Atlanta in return for John Drew and Freeman Williams. This trade, even considering the circumstances, turned out to be one of the most lopsided deals in NBA history. Wilkins would go on to a Hall of Fame career, while Drew and Williams would only play a combined four seasons with the Jazz.
For the 1982–83 season, Dantley missed 60 of 82 games due to injury, which deprived the team of its lead scorer for much of the season. Newcomer John Drew also missed time, playing in only 44 games. The Jazz ended up being led by Darrell Griffith (22.2 ppg), Rickey Green (14.3 ppg), and Danny Schayes (12.4 ppg). A rookie 7'4" center, Mark Eaton, manned the post. The team finished 30–52, still out of the playoffs, but an improvement over recent years.
1983–84 opened as a season of uncertainty. The team was losing money, and management was crafting stunts, such as playing games in Las Vegas, to help the team become more profitable. The team was rumored to be moving due to Battisone's cash shorts, which were exacerbated by the fact they were playing in the league's smallest market. However, fortunes on the court improved, with a healthy Adrian Dantley, Jeff Wilkins, and rookie Thurl Bailey at the forward positions, Mark Eaton & Rich Kelley jointly manning the post, and Rickey Green with Darrell Griffith at the guards, and John Drew providing 17 points per night off the bench. They went 45–37 and won the Midwest Division, the first winning season and division title in team history.
They advanced to the NBA Playoffs, defeating the Denver Nuggets 3–2 in the first round, and moved on to play the Phoenix Suns in the second round. Despite having homecourt in the best of seven series, the Jazz lost to the more experienced Suns, 4–2.
The 1984–85 season saw the emergence of Mark Eaton as a defensive force. averaging 5.56 blocks per game along with 9.7 points and 11.3 rebounds per game, and won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award. On the downside, John Drew played only 19 games on the season, which deprived the team of their high-scoring sixth man. But, the Jazz returned to the playoffs, facing the Houston Rockets and their All-Star Centers, Hakeem Olajuwon and Ralph Sampson. The Jazz prevailed in the series, 3–2, and advanced to the second round to face the high-scoring Denver Nuggets. Utah fell to Denver, 4–1 in the second-round.
The team's perennial financial woes and instability were somewhat stabilized during April 1985, when auto dealer Larry H. Miller bought 50% of the team from Battisone for $8 million. Battisone had been seeking to move the team. In the 1985 NBA draft the team added Karl Malone.
Malone made an immediate impact in the 1985–86 season, averaging 14.9 points and 8.9 rebounds per game, which supplemented for Dantley. However, starter Darrell Griffith missed the season with a stress fracture, and they hovered around .500 most of the year. In the 1985–86 postseason, the Jazz lost in the first round series to the Dallas Mavericks, 3–1.
During the offseason in 1986, Battistone was approached to sell the team to Marv Wolfenson and Harvey Ratner, who would have moved the team to Minneapolis. Larry Miller didn't want to sell the team, but due to contractual language in his agreement with Battistone, could have been bought out by the new owners if he refused to sell. Offers went as high as $28 million for the team as a whole during this process (the Jazz were valued at $16 million less than a year earlier when Miller purchased half for $8 million). Miller stepped in at the last minute and purchased the remaining 50% of the team for $14 million, buying out the original contract with Battistone, and kept the team in Utah. Wolfenson and Ratner later became the founders of the Minnesota Timberwolves expansion franchise which, coincidentally, was almost sold and moved to New Orleans in 1994.
The 1986–87 season was one of change. Adrian Dantley, the team's star player who had carried them through the early years in Utah, was traded to Detroit for Kelly Tripucka, who ended up splitting time with Thurl Bailey. Darrell Griffith, back from injuries that caused him to miss the 1985–86 season, lost his starter spot at guard to Bobby Hansen. Stockton warranted more time at the point guard position. Amidst all these changes, the team went 44–38, and lost to the Golden State Warriors in the first round of the playoffs.
For the 1987–88 Season, Stockton took over for Rickey Green as the starting point guard, and Malone established himself as one of the better power forwards in the league. The team finished 47–35 and defeated Portland, 3–1, in the first round, earning a second round matchup with the defending NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers. After LA took Game 1 at home, the Jazz won Game 2 in LA, 101–97, and took the lead in the series 2–1 with a Game 3 win in Salt Lake City. The Jazz lost Games 4 and 5, but won Game 6, 108–80, tying the series 3–3. In the decisive Game 7, the Lakers won 109–98. The Jazz had shown they were no longer pushovers of their early days.
During the 1988–89 season, Frank Layden stepped down as head coach of the Jazz after the first 17 games, and was replaced by Jerry Sloan. The Jazz won 51 games and the Midwest Division Title as they grew better overall. Malone and Stockton, as well as Mark Eaton, were All-Stars. Eaton won Defensive Player of the Year for the second time, and it appeared the Jazz were ready to take the next step in the post-season, after having pushed the Los Angeles Lakers to seven games in the 2nd round the previous year. However, the 2 seed Jazz were upset in the first round by the 7 seed Golden State Warriors, 3 games to 0.
The following year, 1989–90, the Jazz made some changes, Bobby Hansen supplanted Darrell Griffith as a starter. Also, Thurl Bailey, relied on for 19 points per game the previous year, had a reduced, as rookie Blue Edwards played a prominent role. Mike Brown, spelled Mark Eaton more frequently. The results were the best win–loss mark in team history, going 55–27 and finishing second in the division to the San Antonio Spurs (56–26). Malone had his best season statistically, averaging 31.0 points and 11.1 rebounds. Stockton averaged 17.2 points and 14.5 assists per game, both career highs, with the assist total and average leading the NBA that season. In the playoffs, they faced the Phoenix Suns, led by All-Stars Tom Chambers and Kevin Johnson. Phoenix defeated the Jazz 3–2 in the first round. Again, the Jazz were left with questions as to how they could do so well in the regular season but fail to advance in the playoffs.
For the 1990–91 season, the Jazz made another move to improve the team, with a three-way trade being made. Shooting Guard Jeff Malone was brought to Utah from the Washington Bullets, while Eric Leckner and Bobby Hansen were sent from Utah to the Sacramento Kings, and Pervis Ellison ended up going from Sacramento to Washington.
The Jazz began the season 22–15, before going 27–8 in January and February, with new addition Jeff Malone averaging 18.6 points that season, giving them three strong scoring options (Karl Malone, Jeff Malone, and John Stockton – 64.8 of the team's 104 points per game). The Jazz finished 54–28, 2nd in the division to San Antonio by a game, similar to their division finish the prior year. In the playoffs, they met the Phoenix Suns for the second year in a row. Game 1 was a blowout Utah win, in Phoenix, 129–90, which set the tone for the series, as Utah eliminated the Suns 3–1, earning a second round match-up with the Portland Trail Blazers, the defending Western Conference Champions. The Jazz played well, keeping close in most of the games, but lost the series 4–1 to a deeper and more experienced Blazers.
The 1991–92 season proved to be the most successful in history, to that time, for the Jazz. They moved to the Delta Center, a state-of-the art arena that seated 19,911 fans. The Delta Center was a huge improvement over the Salt Palace, which seated just over 12,000 and lacked luxury suites and retail space. Early in the year, a trade brought Tyrone Corbin, a tough, defensive forward, from Minnesota in exchange for fan-favorite Thurl Bailey.
The Jazz went 55–27, and won the Midwest Division Title for the first time since 1989, and looked to advance farther in the postseason. In the playoffs, the Jazz defeated the Los Angeles Clippers 3–2 in the first round, then beat the Seattle SuperSonics in the second round, 4–1, to advance to the Western Conference Finals for the first time, where they faced the Portland Trail Blazers. Portland defeated the Jazz 4–2 in the series and again denied them a trip to the NBA Finals.
The 1992–93 season was a disappointment compared with the years before, with a 47–35 mark and 3rd place in the division. The center position, manned by Mark Eaton for most of the past decade, became suspect as he struggled with injuries and age. The bright spot was the hosting of the All-Star Game and the surrounding events of All-Star Weekend. The Jazz lost to the Seattle SuperSonics in the first round, 3–2. During the postseason, the team addressed the center position by acquiring 7'0" Felton Spencer from Minnesota, in return for backup center Mike Brown.
During the 1993–94 season, the Jazz traded Jeff Malone to the Philadelphia 76ers for shooting guard Jeff Hornacek. Hornacek meshed well with Stockton, and the Jazz improved to 53–29. In the playoffs, they faced San Antonio in the first round, shutting down NBA scoring leader David Robinson in the series. Robinson had averaged 29.8 points on 50% shooting during the regular season, numbers that dropped to 20.0 and 41% against Utah. The Jazz then fought off a determined Denver Nuggets team 4–3 in the Conference Semi-finals (almost blowing a 3–0 series lead in the process), to advance to the Western Conference Finals, where they lost to the eventual NBA Champion Houston Rockets 4–1.
In the 1994–95 season, the Jazz had significant depth and talent and were expected to make a serious run for the Championship. However, they lost starter Felton Spencer 34 games into the season with a ruptured Achilles Tendon. They were deep enough to still finish 60–22. However, the Jazz lost to the Houston Rockets in the first round of the playoffs, 3–2.
Greg Ostertag was added to the team for the 1995–96 season. The Jazz went 55–27, and reached the Conference Finals for the third time in history, nearly overcame a 3–1 series deficit, but eventually lost to the Seattle SuperSonics 4–3.
In the next two seasons, the Jazz were finally able to capitalize on regular season success. In 1996–97, the Jazz had their best record in franchise history (64–18), and won the Midwest Division and finished with the best record in the Western Conference. The team was made up of the mainstays, Stockton, Malone, and Hornacek, as well as Bryon Russell, Antoine Carr, Howard Eisley, and Shandon Anderson. Malone won his first NBA MVP for the 1996–97 regular season, averaging 27.4 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game.
The Jazz reached the NBA Finals for the first time after beating the Los Angeles Clippers 3–0, Los Angeles Lakers 4–1, and Houston Rockets 4–2. The Jazz then met Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in the Finals, losing to the Bulls 4–2, with the last two games decided in the final seconds (scores of 90–88 and 90–86).
During the offseason, the Jazz made no significant changes to the roster. As the 1997–98 season neared, they were expected to be contenders for the Championship again. However, Stockton suffered a serious knee injury before the season, and missed the first 18 games, in which the Jazz went 11–7. Once he returned, the team went 51–13, to finish at 62–20, and won the Midwest Division and homecourt advantage for the playoffs.
In the playoffs, they beat the Houston Rockets 3-2, and the San Antonio Spurs 4–1, to advance to the Western Conference Finals for the third straight year. Utah, with a veteran core of Stockton, Malone and Hornacek (averaging 34.3 years of age), faced a Los Angeles Lakers squad led by superstar Shaquille O'Neal, guards Eddie Jones, Nick Van Exel, and a young Kobe Bryant. The Jazz set the tone for the series with a win in Game 1, 112–77. Game 2 was closer, a 99–95 Jazz victory, and Games 3 and 4 in Los Angeles were decided by an average of 7.5 points. The Jazz swept, 4–0, and give the Lakers their first series sweep since the 1989 NBA Finals, and earned a 2nd straight trip to the NBA Finals.
In the 1998 NBA Finals (again against the Chicago Bulls), the Jazz took Game 1 at home, 88–85 in overtime. However, the Bulls overcame a slow start to win Game 2, 93–88, easily took Game 3, 96–54 and won Game 4, 86–82 to lead the series 3–1. The Jazz fought back and won Game 5 on the road, 83–81, to trail 3–2 in the series, with Game 6 (and a Game 7 if needed) in Salt Lake City. The Jazz held a lead in most of Game 6, but the Bulls rallied, and in the last seconds of the game, Michael Jordan stole the ball from Malone on the final Jazz possession and then made a jump shot near the top of the key to win the game, 87–86, and the series for Chicago, 4–2.
In the 1999 season, shortened to 50 games due to a lockout, the Jazz finished 37–13, tied with the Spurs for the best record in the league. They defeated the Sacramento Kings in five games in the first round of the playoffs. However, they lost in the second round of the playoffs to the Portland Trail Blazers. Despite yet another disappointment, Malone was awarded his second MVP.
During the 1999–2000 season, the Jazz finished 55–27 and won the Midwest Division but again struggled in the postseason, and lost to the Portland Trail Blazers in the second round. In the offseason, Hornacek retired and Howard Eisley was traded in a four-team deal that brought in Donyell Marshall. They selected promising high school basketball star DeShawn Stevenson in the first round of the 2000 NBA draft.
In the 2000–01 season, they went 53–29, but they faltered in the playoffs, surrendering a 2–0 series lead in the first round of the playoffs to the Dallas Mavericks, to lose the series 3–2. Their earliest exit from the playoffs since the 1994–95 season.
In the 2001–02 season, Andrei Kirilenko made his rookie debut, averaging 10.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 1.91 blocks per game. The team started slowly, 16–15 over the first two months, and finished 12–13 to go 44–38 overall. They lost to the Sacramento Kings 3–1 in the first round of the playoffs.
Prior to the 2002–03 season, Marshall and Russell moved on to other teams. Matt Harpring was brought over from the Philadelphia 76ers. He took over the starting forward spot next to Malone and averaged 17.6 points and 6.6 rebounds, the best numbers of his career. The Jazz approached 50 wins going into the playoffs, but went 47–35. They faced the Sacramento Kings again, and lost in a seven-game first round series, 4–1.
After the season, the end of an era came as Stockton retired, and Malone left as a free agent to join the Los Angeles Lakers.
With their two franchise lead players Malone and Stockton gone, the team lacked foundation as it went into the 2003–04 season. They were expected to finish near the bottom of the NBA by several NBA preview magazines, including Sports Illustrated. The Jazz finished with a 42–40 record. The team featured several unheralded players who emerged as key contributors, including Kirilenko, Raja Bell, and Carlos Arroyo. In particular, Kirilenko demonstrated versatility on both offense and defense and earned a spot in the All-Star Game. The Jazz missed the playoffs by one game to the Denver Nuggets, ending a streak of 20 consecutive seasons in the playoffs. Jerry Sloan finished second in the voting for the NBA Coach of the Year Award, losing to Hubie Brown of the Memphis Grizzlies.
The 2004–05 season was marked by injuries, first to Arroyo and Raul Lopez, and later to Boozer and Kirilenko, which were a large part of the team's fall to the bottom of the division. When healthy, Boozer averaged 17.8 points and 9.0 rebounds in 51 games. The Jazz ended the 2004–05 season 26–56, their worst since the 1981–82 season.
In the summer of 2005, the Jazz continued to shape the roster by trading three draft picks to acquire the No. 3 pick overall, which they used to select Deron Williams. Other transactions included Raja Bell leaving the team for the Phoenix Suns, the Jazz re-obtaining center Greg Ostertag from the Kings, and oft-injured Raul Lopez being traded to the Memphis Grizzlies.
The 2005–06 season was injury-plagued before it started; Boozer missed the first 49 games and Gordan Giricek and Kirilenko both missed significant time due to injuries. Okur and Kirilenko, however, showed consistently good play, while Williams, despite a mid-season slump, did not disappoint. However, team owner Larry Miller expressed displeasure with the team's effort during the season. The Jazz stayed in the playoff race until the third-to-last game, when they lost to the Dallas Mavericks. The Jazz ended the season 41–41, three games out of the playoffs. Ostertag retired at the end of the season, having spent 10 of his 11 NBA seasons with the Jazz.
In the 2006 NBA draft, the Jazz selected Ronnie Brewer in the first round and in the second round selected Dee Brown and Paul Millsap. Several young players were traded to the Golden State Warriors for Derek Fisher, which give them a veteran point guard. The Jazz were heralded by several major sports websites for drafting well and making good offseason moves.
During the 2006–07 season, the Jazz improved considerably compared to the prior years, finishing with a 51–31 record. Boozer was selected as an All-Star for the first time (though he missed the game due to a minor injury) and center Mehmet Okur was selected to the All-Star game as well. Deron Williams had a breakout second season, finishing third in the league in assists per game with 9.3 (behind Steve Nash and Chris Paul).
The team also developed a deep bench; in the 10 games that Boozer and Okur (the two leading scorers) missed, the team went 8–2. Millsap was a surprise rookie, becoming a competent backup to Boozer. Despite the elevated play of the Jazz, Kirilenko had a significant drop in his statistics and seemed to struggle adapting to a reduced role, which eventually led to a well-publicized breakdown early in the first round of the playoffs.
The Jazz faced the Houston Rockets in the first round, a match-up of #4 and #5 seeds (Utah was seeded higher due to winning the Northwest Division, but Houston had a 52–30 record opposed to Utah's 51–31, giving them home court in the series). It was a physical, close-fought match-up, with each of the first six games being won by the home team. The Jazz were able to break this trend in the seventh game, and beat the Rockets 103–99 in Houston. The Jazz went on to face the eighth-seeded Golden State Warriors, who were coming off a historic upset of the #1-seeded Dallas Mavericks. However, the Jazz easily handled the Warriors, and won the series 4–1. They then faced the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals, but lost to the more experienced Spurs, 4 games to 1 in the series to the eventual NBA Champions.
During the offseason, the Jazz gained a hometown D-League affiliate in the Utah Flash (based in Orem), which they shared with the Boston Celtics. They selected Morris Almond in the first round, although ultimately they made few lineup changes. The most significant move was in letting Derek Fisher go. Fisher had become a fan favorite due to his strong play, and also a sympathetic one due to his daughter's well-publicized battle with a rare form of eye cancer. Fisher moved to Los Angeles during the offseason to be closer to better care for his daughter, and later signed with the Los Angeles Lakers. Controversy arose after Kirilenko led his Russian national team to a win in EuroBasket 2007 (the European championship), a tournament in which he was named MVP. After that, Kirilenko posted on a blog that he wished to be traded from the Jazz and would be willing to walk away from his contract. He later reaffirmed this in interviews. However, no trade was made and he remained with the team.
During the 2007–08 season, after a trade that sent Gordan Giricek to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for Kyle Korver, the Jazz had a record-tying 19-game home winning streak and improved on the road after a rough December. Despite the off-season controversy and trade talk, Kirilenko elevated his play, improving all stats from the previous season, and seemed content with his new role as a defender and a facilitator opposed to a scorer. Boozer again won an All-Star selection, while Williams continued to elevate his play. The Jazz finished the regular season fifth-best in the west with a 54–28 record. For the first time since the 1997–98 season, the Jazz sold out every home game, and they possessed a 37–4 home record; that was, however, offset by a subpar road record.
The Jazz again faced the Houston Rockets in the first round of the playoffs, this time as a № 4 seed (although the Rockets possessed home-court advantage due to a better record). The Jazz took a 2–0 series lead in Houston, but lost the first game in Salt Lake City. After splitting the next two games, the Jazz beat the Rockets 113–91 in game 6, placing them into a second-round match-up with the № 1 seed Los Angeles Lakers, their first postseason meeting since the 1998 Western Conference Finals. Utah lost games 1 and 2 in Los Angeles. However the Jazz held up their great home win record and defeated Los Angeles in Games 3 and 4. The Jazz lost game 5 in L.A. and were eliminated in Game 6. The Jazz made no major moves during the off-season.
The 2008–09 season was difficult for the Jazz as they struggled with injuries that disrupted team chemistry, and although they were again nearly unstoppable at home, they possessed a poor road record. Utah's top three players all missed significant time due to sickness or injury; Williams missed 13 of the first 15 games, Boozer missed more than half of the season, and Okur missed sporadic time due to both injury and his father's sickness that led him to travel to his native Turkey early in the season. On February 20, 2009, Jazz owner Larry H. Miller died of complications from diabetes. His son, Greg Miller, became the new CEO of the team. The Jazz finished with a 48–34 record, slipping to No. 8 in the competitive Western Conference playoff race, after which they were eliminated by the Los Angeles Lakers for the second year in a row, 4 games to 1.
The season ended up being the last for long-time radio and former TV announcer Hot Rod Hundley, who announced his retirement after being with the Jazz for their entire history (35 years). Despite the disappointment, Williams proved to be one of the elite point guards in the league, averaging 19.4 points and 10.8 assists per game, second in the league, despite playing the entire season with a lingering ankle injury.
During the 2009 NBA draft, the Jazz selected Eric Maynor No. 20 overall to back up Williams. Veteran Matt Harpring retired, citing consistent injuries sustained from his physical playing style. Rumors circulated that Boozer wanted a trade, fueled by rumors that the Jazz were shopping him after he chose to "opt in" to the last year of his contract; however, the team stated publicly that they did not seek to trade him. Boozer remained with the team heading into the 2009–10 season. The Jazz also added rookie Wesley Matthews to the lineup after an impressive training camp.
As the 2009–10 season began they started off 19–17. Several trades were made by the team, one that sent Maynor and the contract of the retired Harpring to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Another sent starter Ronnie Brewer to the Memphis Grizzlies at mid-season, a trade which was openly criticized by Williams. The Brewer trade cleared the way for Matthews to take over his starter spot. Also, Williams was selected to play in the All-Star Game for the first time, and after a controversial off-season, Boozer played better than the year prior, averaging 19.5 points and 11.2 rebounds per game, and missed only four games to injury. He suggested that he would be happy to stay with Utah long-term. After returning from an early-season injury, Kyle Korver set the NBA record for three-point field goal percentage in a season.
In a tight Western Conference, the Jazz finished 53–29 and lost the division in a tiebreaker with the Denver Nuggets, ending with the No. 5 seed, matched up with the Nuggets in the first round of the playoffs. Kirilenko, who had missed 13 of the last 15 games of the season due to an injury, re-aggravated the injury the day before the first game of the playoffs and missed the first round, while Okur tore his Achilles tendon in the first game and missed the rest of the playoffs. Despite the injuries, the Jazz played well enough to defeat Denver 4–2 in the series. The Jazz were then eliminated by the Los Angeles Lakers for the third year in a row, being swept 4–0 (the first four-game sweep in Jazz history).
Boozer agreed to a five-year, $80 million contract with the Chicago Bulls in free agency on July 7, 2010. The Jazz turned the transaction into a sign-and-trade one day later, receiving a trade exception worth around $13 million in return from Chicago. Kyle Korver also agreed to sign with the Bulls, two days later. Terms were not announced, but multiple reports had his deal as three years, $13 million. Wesley Matthews signed a five-year, $33 million offer sheet with the Portland Trail Blazers on July 10, 2010.
Less than a week after the Boozer loss, the Jazz traded Kosta Koufos and two future first-round picks to Minnesota for Al Jefferson, using the trade exception from the Boozer deal to receive Jefferson's contract without exceeding the salary cap.
Raja Bell was added also, to provide backcourt help after the losses of Korver and Matthews. He was signed to a three-year, $10 million contract.
On June 15, 2010, the Jazz unveiled a new color scheme and logo which represented a return to the old 'music note' logo. The team unveiled new uniforms on August 16.
The Jazz tendered restricted free-agent center Kyrylo Fesenko a $1 million qualifying offer in June 2010. The offer entitled Utah to match any offer that Fesenko accepted from another team, whether signed or not. Fesenko signed the offer on September 27, 2010, the day before training camp began.
The 2010–11 season began on a positive note, as the team went undefeated (8–0) in the preseason, and in mid-January, they were 27–13 and seemed well on their way to another winning season, had that pace continued. However, over the next 14 games, Utah went 4–10. On February 10, 2011, with the team record at 31–23 after a loss to the Chicago Bulls, head coach Jerry Sloan resigned, along with assistant Phil Johnson. Another of Sloan's assistants, Tyrone Corbin, was named the new head coach, while Scott Layden, the other assistant, remained as well. A week later, the Jazz hired former Jazz player Jeff Hornacek as an assistant coach.
On February 23, 2011, the Jazz traded star player Deron Williams to the New Jersey Nets for two 1st round draft picks (New Jersey's 2011 and Golden State's conditional 2012) and players, Derrick Favors and Devin Harris. It was rumored that Williams got into a shouting match with head coach Sloan during a game against the Chicago Bulls, which preceded Sloan's resignation and eventually, the Jazz's decision to trade Williams.
While Williams was under contract through 2011–12 with a player option worth $17.7 million for 2012–13, Jazz chief executive officer Greg Miller did not believe they would be able to re-sign him. "And while I never saw any indication that he wouldn’t re-sign with us, I never saw any indication he would,” said Miller. The remainder of the season saw the Jazz continue to struggle, finishing with a 39–43 record, 11th in the Western Conference, therefore missing the playoffs for the first time since 2006.
During the 2011 draft, the Jazz had two top-14 picks (one acquired in the trade that sent Williams to the New Jersey Nets), and used them on Enes Kanter and Alec Burks. Following the end of the 2011 NBA lockout that saw the 2011–12 season shortened to 66 games, the Jazz bid farewell to their two longest-tenured players – Mehmet Okur was traded to the Nets for a future second-round pick, and Andrei Kirilenko, who played in his native Russia during the lockout and whose contract had expired after the 2011 season, decided to stay in Russia for the remainder of the 2011–12 season. They also acquired free agent veterans Josh Howard and Jamaal Tinsley.
During the 2012 offseason, the Jazz traded Devin Harris to the Hawks for Marvin Williams.
In the 2012 draft, the Jazz selected Kevin Murphy with the No. 47 overall pick. The Jazz signed Mo Williams and Randy Foye, both former Clippers, and re-signed Jeremy Evans and Tinsley during the off-season. Long-time Jazz player C. J. Miles decided to sign with Cleveland. Andrei Kirilenko did not re-sign with the Jazz in the off-season. The Jazz also named Dennis Lindsey as GM and Kevin O'Connor as Vice President of Basketball Operations.
Before the 2013–14 season began, Utah did not retain either Paul Millsap or Al Jefferson. Millsap accepted a two-year offer to join the Atlanta Hawks, while Jefferson signed a deal to become a member of the Charlotte Bobcats franchise. Jeff Hornacek was hired during the offseason as head coach of the Phoenix Suns. The Jazz have been accused of tanking as they lost all but one of their first 13 games. The front office, a former member of the San Antonio Spurs organization Dennis Lindsey is said to be the architect of a "tanking" or "rebuilding" season. On March 14, 2014 the Jazz were officially eliminated from playoff contention with a 96-87 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.
On May 20, 2014, the Jazz earned the 5th pick in the 2014 NBA Draft at the NBA Draft Lottery, with which they picked 18 year old Australian Point Guard Dante Exum. They will also have the 23rd pick from a trade with the Golden State Warriors and their own pick in the second round.
On June 6, 2014, Atlanta Hawks assistant coach Quin Snyder was named the eighth head coach in team history. Snyder signed a three-year contract with a team option for a fourth. He replaces Tyrone Corbin.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (April 2013)|
The Jazz have not had a natural or fierce rival throughout their history, where each team has been competitive with the other over a long period of time. There have been several teams they have run into many times in the playoffs, however:
Houston won two NBA Championships (1994, 1995) while defeating Utah along the way. Utah advanced to the NBA Finals both times that they defeated the Lakers, while Los Angeles has advanced to the Finals each year they defeated Utah in a series, winning NBA Championships in 1988, 2009, and 2010. Portland advanced to the NBA Finals in 1992 after defeating Utah as well. San Antonio won an NBA Championship in 2007 after defeating Utah in a series, while Utah advanced to the NBA Finals in 1998 after defeating San Antonio in a series.
The Jazz also have a regional rivalry with the Denver Nuggets, also located in the Rocky Mountains, and part of the same division as the Jazz since 1979.
During the 2012-2013 season, the Jazz and the Lakers were fighting off for the number 8 seed in the western conference, but eventually did not make it to the playoff while the Lakers took over the Houston Rockets number 7 seed while the Rockets move down to the 8 seed. The Lakers, eventually lost 4-0 against the San Antonio Spurs.
|Barcelona 1992||John Stockton||United States||Gold|
|Barcelona 1992||Karl Malone||United States||Gold|
|Atlanta 1996||John Stockton||United States||Gold|
|Atlanta 1996||Karl Malone||United States||Gold|
|Athens 2004||Carlos Boozer||United States||Bronze|
|Athens 2004||Carlos Arroyo||Puerto Rico||6th Place|
|Athens 2004||Jose Ortiz||Puerto Rico||6th Place|
|Beijing 2008||Carlos Boozer||United States||Gold|
|Beijing 2008||Deron Williams||United States||Gold|
|Beijing 2008||Andrei Kirilenko||Russia||9th place|
Alternate Logo, (2010–present)
Since the team's move from New Orleans to Salt Lake City in 1979, the Utah Jazz have worn several uniforms throughout their franchise history. From 1979–1996, the Jazz' home uniforms consisted of the "basketball forming J music note to write on Jazz" logo on the center chest, with purple numbers. The only modification to this uniform was the word "Utah" being added to the center chest logo in 1986. The road uniforms were purple with the 'J-note' logo and numbers in white. From 1981–1984, the Jazz' road uniforms were dark green, with the aforementioned Jazz logo on the center chest and gold numbers. For the 1984–85 season, the road uniforms were changed back to purple, this time with gold numbers and white trim. These uniforms were worn until the 1995–96 season.
For the 1996–97 season, the Jazz drastically updated their logos and uniforms, with a new color scheme of purple (slightly lighter from the previous shade), copper and turquoise. Their new uniform set featured a silhouette of the Wasatch Range on the center chest, with a stylish new Jazz script, and purple & turquoise details. On the road purple jersey, the white mountain range gradually fades to purple just above the numbers, which are white, with copper interior trim and teal outlining. On the home white jersey, the numbers are purple, with white interior trim and teal outlining. The Jazz wore these jerseys until the 2003–04 season.
The Jazz also introduced an alternate black jersey in the 1998–99 season, with the Jazz script on the center chest, but without the Wasatch Range silhouette. On this jersey, both the Jazz script and numbers are white, with purple interior trim and copper outlining, and copper side panels. These jerseys were worn until the 2003–04 season.
In the 2004–05 season, the Jazz once again updated their color scheme, logos and uniforms. The new color scheme, which the team used until the end of the 2009–10 season, consisted of navy blue, powder blue, silver & purple, though the latter color was only used on the primary logo and alternate logo. The team logo remained the same, for the exception of the new color variation. The new home uniform consisted of an updated "Jazz" script on the center chest in navy blue, with navy numbers, both of which had silver interior trim and powder blue outlining. The new road uniform was navy blue, with a "Utah" script in powder blue on the center chest and powder blue numbers, both of which had silver outlining and white interior trim.
In the 2006–07 season, the Jazz introduced a new alternate powder blue uniform. This uniform, which the team used until the end of the 2009–10 season, featured a Jazz script identical to the team logo and navy blue numbers below the script, also with silver and white trim. The nameplate on the back of the jersey was navy blue.
On June 15, 2010, the Jazz unveiled a new logo and color scheme on the team's official website. For the 2010–11 season, the Jazz reverted to the team's original music note logo (without the word Utah), with a new color scheme of navy blue, gold, dark green & gray. The new uniform set, which was unveiled on August 16, 2010, features a design nearly identical to the team's aforementioned 1980s uniform designs, with the following differences: navy blue replacing purple on the road jerseys, dark green numerals on the home white jerseys, a white Jazz logo script on the road jerseys and side panels on both the home and away jerseys. The new uniforms were a combination of both the old and new styles, with navy blue retained from the most recent color scheme, but the now-famous 'J-note' logo and gold and green were revived.
On December 9, 2011, the Jazz unveiled an alternate jersey that is similar to their road jersey, but swaps the navy and green colors so that the primary color is green, with a navy stripe on the side.
Utah Jazz roster
|G||Raulzinho Neto||2013 NBA Draft||Originally drafted by the Atlanta Hawks with the 47th pick|
|C||Ante Tomić||2008 NBA Draft||44th pick|
|G/F||Shan Foster||2008 NBA Draft||Originally drafted by the Dallas Mavericks with the 51st pick|
|F/C||Mario Austin||2003 NBA Draft||Originally drafted by the Chicago Bulls with the 36th pick|
|Utah Jazz retired numbers|
|1||Frank Layden||Head Coach||1981–1988|
|9||Larry H. Miller||Owner||1985–2009|
|(Microphone)||"Hot" Rod Hundley||Broadcaster||1974–2009|
Bold denotes still active with team. "Name*" includes points scored for the team while in the ABA. Italics denotes still active but not with team.
Points scored (regular season) (as of the end of the 2013-14 season)
Other Statistics (regular season) (as of the end of the 2013-14 season)
The team's current TV and radio announcers are:
|1974–1977||Bill Van Breda Kolff||74–100|
|2011 – 2014||Tyrone Corbin||112–146|
|2014 – Present||Quin Snyder||0-0|
|1974 – present||Total||1795–1551|
In 2009, the Utah Jazz launched JAZZ Connection, for Utah Jazz fans.
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