That has to be a major question in Utah these days. Particularly since getting Giricek out of town required a future first-round selection.
The Jazz and Sixers consummated a deal Saturday afternoon that will send the disgruntled Giricek to Philadelphia along with a conditional first-rounder in exchange for guard Kyle Korver. The draft pick will be available for Philadelphia's use between 2009 and 2014, with different stipulations applied regarding Utah's protection of the pick from year to year. Korver has $19.8 million left on his contract between now and 2011, and Giricek's $4 million deal expires at the end of this season.
The deal makes perfect sense for the rebuilding Sixers. They dump an underachiever, clear cap room and obtain a draft pick, fulfilling the three basic goals of rebuilding (Memo to Zeke: It's that simple!). Well done, Ed Stefanski.
On the other side, there appear to be two approaches to evaluating this move for the Jazz:
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The first is the cynical one: Whatever happened between Giricek and coach Jerry Sloan thus far this season made the guard enough of a pariah that Utah was desperate to dump him and wound up making a foolish move in the process. Korver is a somewhat more productive player than Giricek, but he plays a similar game, liking to shoot and doing little else. Once upon a time, he was expected to amount to a bigger part of the Sixers' future than he ever did while he was there, and now he moves to a team where he will play back-up minutes at the two-guard spot (where Ronnie Brewer continues to emerge) and fail to provide the defense the team so desperately needs at that position. He represents a major fiscal downgrade from Utah's situation with Giricek, and just to bring him to town, the Jazz had to concede a future first-round pick as well. To be truthful, this sounds like a very steep price to pay simply to dump a falling-out-of-the-rotation player with little clubhouse influence who feuded with his coach. Especially with that player's contract coming off the books at season's end. Undoubtedly, the Jazz have been cold as of late and probably felt like some sort of shake-up was in order, but Kyle Korver doesn't ring a real bell as the type of guy who makes enough of an impact to help right the ship.
All that said, however, it is worth remembering that this Utah organization is one of the classiest in sports. From owner Larry Miller's handling of the Derek Fisher situation this summer to Jerry Sloan's coaching history to the days of Stockton and Malone, this Utah franchise has a reputation as a unit that takes care of its own and places a premium on chemistry and loyalty. The Jazz have garnered much success by relying on those values and removing any possible distractions over the years. In the eyes of the leadership in Utah, Giricek had turned into a counterproductive piece of the puzzle and one who threatened to harm the preservation of those values within the team, and as such, he had to go. Perhaps, to management, the acquisition of Korver and the loss of the pick were simply necessary prices to pay inherent in sticking to the team's guiding principles that have proved fairly successful over the years. Should that be the case, this team deserves plenty of credit for sticking to its guns, disregarding the money and making what should be the best move for all involved over the long term.
What is actually to be the case in Utah clealry remains to be seen. While the former argument would seem to be the more logical one, there is something about this Utah team that simply comes across as unorthodox and unique. And given the success of Coach Sloan over the years, perhaps we should indeed trust the judgment in the City of the Salt Lake.