The Utah Jazz are a professional basketball team based in Salt Lake City, Utah. They are currently members of the Northwest Division of the Western Conference in the National Basketball Association (NBA). The franchise began in 1974 as the New Orleans Jazz, based in New Orleans, Louisiana, but the team moved to Utah in 1979 after just five seasons. The Jazz were one of the most unsuccessful teams in the league in their early years, and it would be 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. As of 2011, the Jazz are the only team in the "Big Four" sports leagues located in the state of Utah.
Early years in New OrleansEdit
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 on New Orleans. In the Jazz's first season, when they played in the Loyola University Fieldhouse, 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 fucking 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 the Big Easy, the Jazz were dealt one final humiliation when the Los Angeles Lakers selected Magic Johnson with the first overall pick in the 1979 NBA Draft. The pick would have belonged to the Jazz had they not traded it to Los Angeles to acquire Gail Goodrich two years earlier. To make matters worse, 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 Magic and Moses becoming superstars and Goodrich's ineffective, injury-ruined few years in New Orleans made this one of the most lopsided transactions in NBA history.
1979–84: Move to Utah; Foundation for success is builtEdit
Despite being barely competitive, the Jazz drew fairly 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 team's early years, said one factor in the team's financial troubles was an 11 percent amusement tax, the 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 out several new homes, he decided to move to Salt Lake City, even though it was a smaller market than New Orleans at the time. 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, but their financial picture inexplicably collapsed in their last two seasons, and they folded in December 1975 after playing only 16 games of the ABA's final season. 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, citing it as a metaphor for the theft of Jazz from its cultural roots.
The Jazz's attendance actually 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, the club 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 unable to produce a winning team, going 28-54.
Tom Nissalke departed as coach after the team started the 1981-82 season with an 8-12 record, 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 forward Dominique Wilkins, who was reluctant to play for them. Combined with the cash-strapped ownership, this produced another trade to improve cash flow - Atlanta gave up guards John Drew and Freeman Williams, plus $1 million in cash, for the rights to Wilkins.
For the 1982-83 season, Dantley ended up missing 60 of 82 games due to injury, depriving the team of its leading 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, began manning the post as well. The team finished 30-52, still out of the playoffs, but an improvement over recent years.
During the 1983 NBA Draft, the Jazz used their first-round pick, #7 overall, to choose Thurl Bailey, of the 1983 NCAA Champion North Carolina State University Wolfpack, and later took Bobby Hansen of the University of Iowa, in the third round, 54th overall.
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 be more profitable. The team was rumored to be moving from Utah also, due to the small market and ownership's struggles financially. However, the team's fortunes on the court continued to improve, 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. The team went 45-37 and won the Midwest Division, their first 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.
Jazz fans were not happy a month later, when the team picked an unknown point guard in the 1st round of the NBA Draft, John Stockton of Gonzaga. The Jazz fans on hand for the draft party booed the selection.
1984-85 to 1987-88: Stockton to Malone is bornEdit
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, winning the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award. On the downside, John Drew played only 19 games on the season, depriving the team of their high-scoring sixth man. Despite that, the Jazz returned to the playoffs, facing off with the Houston Rockets and their All-Star Centers, Hakeem Olajuwon and Ralph Sampson. The Jazz prevailed in the series, 3-2, advancing to the second round to face the high-scoring Denver Nuggets. Utah fell to Denver, 4-1 in the second-round series.
The team's perennial financial woes and instability were somewhat stabilized during April 1985, when Larry H. Miller bought 50% of the team for $8 million, and became a co-owner with Sam Battistone, who had been seeking to move the team. In the 1985 NBA Draft the team added Karl Malone from Louisiana Tech, a 6'9" 250 pound power forward.
Malone made an immediate impact in the Template:NBA Year, averaging 14.9 points and 8.9 rebounds per outing, supplementing Dantley in the frontcourt. However, starting guard Darrell Griffith missed the entire season with a stress fracture, and the team hovered around the .500 mark most of the year. In the 1985-86 postseason, the Jazz faltered in the first round against the Dallas Mavericks, losing the series 3-1.
During the offseason in 1986, co-owner Sam Battistone was approached to sell the team to Marv Wolfenson and Harvey Ratner, who would have moved the team to Minneapolis, Minnesota. 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 that 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 starting spot at guard to Bobby Hansen. John Stockton was warranting more time behind, and in front of, Rickey Green at the point guard position. Amidst all these changes, the team went 44-38 on the season, and lost to the Golden State Warriors in the first round of the playoffs.Template:Citation needed
For the 1987-88 Season, John Stockton took over for Rickey Green as the starting point guard, and Karl Malone began establishing himself as one of the better power forwards in the league. That year, 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 surprised the Lakers by winning 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 fought back to demolish the Lakers in Game 6, 108-80, tying the series 3-3. In the deciding Game 7, the Lakers prevailed, 109-98. But the Jazz had shown they were no longer the pushover of their early days.
1988–90: Jerry Sloan Era BeginsEdit
During the 1988–89 season, Frank Layden stepped down as head coach of the Jazz after the first 17 games of the season, and was replaced by Jerry Sloan. The Jazz won 51 games and the Midwest Division title as the team 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, in a playoff upset, the #7 seeded Golden State Warriors defeated the #2 seeded Jazz, 3 games to 0, in the first round, ending the Jazz's season abruptly.
In the following year, 1989–90, the Jazz made some changes, with Bobby Hansen supplanting Darrell Griffith as the starting guard alongside Stockton. Also Thurl Bailey, relied on for 19 points per game the previous year, had his role reduced somewhat, as rookie forward–guard Blue Edwards played a prominent role in the front court. Mike Brown, a backup forward–center, spelled Mark Eaton more frequently. The results were the best win–loss mark in team history, with the Jazz going 55–27 and finishing second in the division to the San Antonio Spurs (56–26). Karl Malone had his best season statistically, averaging 31.0 points and 11.1 rebounds. John Stockton averaged 17.2 points and 14.5 assists per outing, both career highs, with the assist total and average leading the NBA that year. In the playoffs, they were matched up with the Phoenix Suns, led by All-Stars Tom Chambers and Kevin Johnson. Phoenix defeated the Jazz 3–2 in the first round. Once 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. 
1990 to 1996: Working towards contentionEdit
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, then found their stride, going 27-8 during January and February, with new addition Jeff Malone averaging 18.6 points that year, giving the Jazz 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 1 game, similar to their division finish the prior year. In the playoffs, they met the Phoenix Suns for the second year in a row, but this time the Jazz were ready. Game 1 was a blowout in Utah's favor, on Phoenix's home floor, 129-90, setting 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 ultimately lost the series 4–1 to the 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 a newly built home, the Delta Center, a state-of-the art arena that seated 19,911 fans. This 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 over the season, winning 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 took care of the Seattle SuperSonics in the second round, 4-1, advancing to the Western Conference Finals for the first time, where they faced the Portland Trail Blazers. Once again, Portland proved to be the superior team, defeating the Jazz 4-2 in the series and denying them a trip to the NBA Finals.
The 1992-93 season proved to be a disappointment compared with the years before, with a 47-35 mark and 3rd place in the division. The center position, manned capably by Mark Eaton for most of the past decade, became suspect as Eaton 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 had a disappointing run in the playoffs as well, losing 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 a 53–29 record for the year. 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 at their disposal and were expected to make a serious run for the championship. However, they lost starting center Felton Spencer 34 games into the season with a ruptured Achilles Tendon. The Jazz were deep enough to still finish with a 60–22 record. However, the Jazz lost to the Houston Rockets in the first round of the playoffs, 3-2.
Big man 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 overcoming a 3–1 series deficit, but eventually losing to the Seattle SuperSonics 4–3.
1996–98: The NBA Finals yearsEdit
In the next two seasons, the Jazz were finally able to capitalize on their regular season success. In 1996–97, the Jazz had their best record in franchise history at 64–18, winning the Midwest Division and finishing with the best overall 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 being decided in the final seconds (scores of 90–88 and 87–86). 
During the offseason, the Jazz made no significant changes to their roster. As the 1997–98 season neared, the Jazz were expected to be contenders for the championship once again. However, Stockton suffered a serious knee injury before the season began, and missed the first 18 games, in which the Jazz went 11-7. Once Stockton returned, the team went 51-13 the rest of the way, mirroring their winning pace of the year before, to finish at 62–20 for the season, winning the Midwest Division and also homecourt advantage for the playoffs.  
In the playoffs, the Jazz 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), were facing 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 resounding win in Game 1, 112-77. Game 2 was much closer, a 99-95 Jazz victory, and Games 3 and 4 in Los Angeles were decided by an average of 7.5 points. However, the Jazz prevailed in a sweep, 4-0, giving the Los Angeles their first series sweep since the 1989 NBA Finals, and earning a 2nd straight trip to the NBA Finals. 
In the 1998 NBA Finals, the Jazz took Game 1 at home 88–85. However, the Bulls overcame a slow start to win Game 2 93–88, easily took Game 3, 96–54 and won a closer Game 4, 86–82 to lead 3–1 in the series. The Jazz fought back to win 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 made a jump shot to win the game, 87–86, and the series for Chicago, 4-2. 
1999–2003: Stockton and Malone's final yearsEdit
In the 1999 season, shortened to 50 games due to a lockout, the Jazz finished the season 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 1999–00 season, the Jazz finished 55–27 and won the Midwest Division but once again struggled in the postseason, losing to the Portland Trail Blazers, again during the second round. During 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 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. It was 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, going 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, Marshall and Russell moved on to other teams. Forward 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, ultimately going 47–35. They faced the Sacramento Kings once again, losing in a seven-game first round series, 4–1.
After the season, the end of an era came when Stockton retired, and Malone left as a free agent to join the Los Angeles Lakers.
2003–06: Growing pains for the new JazzEdit
With their two franchise cornerstones in Malone and Stockton gone, the team was suddenly lacking a foundation going into the 2003–04 season. They were expected to finish near the bottom of the NBA by several NBA preview magazines, including Sports Illustrated. Surprisingly, the Jazz finished with a 42–40 record. The team featured several unheralded players who emerged into 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 just one game to the Denver Nuggets, ending their 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 a series of 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 filled the power forward position ably, averaging 17.8 points and 9.0 rebounds in 51 games. The Jazz ended the 2004–05 season with a record of 26–56, their worst since the 1981-82 season.
In the summer of 2005, the Jazz continued to shape their roster by trading three draft picks in order to acquire the #3 pick overall, which they used to select point guard Deron Williams of the University of Illinois. 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 point guard Raul Lopez being traded to the Memphis Grizzlies.
The 2005–06 season was injury-plagued before it even 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 continually expressed his displeasure with the team's effort during that year. 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 and just 3 games out of the playoffs. Ostertag retired at the end of the season, having spent 10 of his 11 NBA seasons with the team.
In the 2006 NBA Draft, the Jazz selected promising University of Arkansas shooting guard Ronnie Brewer in the first round and in the second round selected point guard Dee Brown and power forward Paul Millsap. Several young players were traded away for Golden State Warriors guard Derek Fisher, giving them a veteran point guard. The Jazz were heralded by several major sports websites for drafting well and making good offseason moves.
2006-2010: Williams, Boozer, and Okur EraEdit
During the '06-'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 to a minor injury) and center Mehmet Okur was selected to the All-Star game as well. Deron Williams had a breakout sophomore 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. Paul Millsap was a pleasant surprise as a rookie, becoming a competent backup to Boozer. Despite the elevated play of the Jazz's budding stars, Kirilenko showed a significant drop in his statistics and seemed to struggle adapting to his reduced role. This 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 that year, a matchup of #4-#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 homecourt in the series). It was a physical, close-fought matchup, with each of the first 6 games being won by the home team. The Jazz were able to break this trend in the 7th game, beating the Rockets 103–99 in Houston. The Jazz then went on to face the eighth-seeded Golden State Warriors, who were coming off a historic upset of the #1-seeded Dallas Mavericks (who had gone 67–15 in the regular season, one of the best in NBA history). However, the Jazz easily handled the Warriors, winning the series 4–1. The Jazz then faced the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals, but were unable to handle the more experienced Spurs, losing 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 shooting guard 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, with whom he won three championships from 2000–2002. Controversy arose after Andrei Kirilenko led his Russian national team to a win in EuroBasket 2007 (the European championship), a tournament in which he was named MVP. After this, 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 guard Gordan Giricek to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for guard Kyle Korver, the Jazz ran off 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 seeming content with his new role more as a defender and a facilitator as opposed to a scorer. Carlos Boozer again won an All-Star selection, while Deron Williams continued to elevate his play, averaging 13.3 assists per game in March (as opposed to 10.5 for the season as a whole). The Jazz finished the regular season 5th best in the west with a 54–28 record. For the first time since the 97-98 season, the Jazz sold out every home game, and they possessed a phenomenal 37-4 home record; this was, however, offset by a subpar road record.
The Jazz once again became matched against 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 jumped out to a quick 2-0 series lead in Houston, but lost the first game in Salt Lake City. After splitting the next two games, the Jazz dealt the Rockets a 113-91 blowout victory in game 6, placing them into a second-round matchup with the #1 seed Los Angeles Lakers, their first postseason meeting since the since the 1998 Western Conference Finals. Utah lost games 1 and 2 in Los Angeles. However the Jazz held up their great home winning record by defeating Los Angeles in Games 3 and 4. The Jazz lost game 5 in L.A. and were eventually eliminated in Game 6. The Jazz made no major offseason moves during the following offseason, though Deron Williams was an integral part of the Gold-Medal winning Redeem Team at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China.
The 2008–09 season was difficult for the Jazz as they struggled with consistent injuries that continually disrupted the chemistry of the team, and although they were once again nearly unstoppable at home, they possessed a poor road record. Utah's top three players all missed significant times due to sickness or injuries; Deron Williams missed 13 of the first 15 games, Carlos Boozer missed more than half of the season, and Mehmet Okur missed sporadic time due to both injuries and his father's sickness that forced 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, causing them to slip to #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, Deron Williams proved himself to be one of the elite point guards of 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 point guard Eric Maynor #20 overall to back up Deron Williams. Veteran Matt Harpring retired, citing consistent injuries sustained from his physical playing style. Rumors began to circulate 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 were not seeking to trade him, and Boozer remained with the team heading into the 2009–10 season. The Jazz also added rookie shooting guard Wesley Matthews to the lineup after an impressive training camp.
As the 2009–10 season began, the Jazz stumbled a bit early, starting off 19-17. Several trades were made by the team during the season, one that sent promising rookie Eric Maynor and the contract of the retired Matt Harpring to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Another sent starting shooting guard Ronnie Brewer to the Memphis Grizzlies at midseason, a trade which was openly criticized by Deron Williams. The Brewer trade cleared the way for Wesley Matthews to take over the starting shooting guard spot. Also, Deron Williams was selected to play in the All-Star Game for the first time, and after a controversial offseason, Carlos Boozer played better than the year prior, averaging 19.5 points and 11.2 rebounds per game, and missed only 4 games to injuries. He even 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 the season 53-29 and lost the division in a tiebreaker with the Denver Nuggets, ending with the #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 regular season due to a nagging calf muscle strain, re-aggravated the injury the day before the first game of the playoffs and missed the first round, while Mehmet 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 4 game sweep in Jazz history).
Summer of 2010 - Busy offseasonEdit
Carlos Boozer agreed to a 5-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 Chicago Bulls, two days later, on July 9, 2010. Terms were not announced, but multiple reports have his deal for 3 years, $13 million.
Wesley Matthews signed a 5-year $33 million dollar offer sheet with the Portland Trail Blazers, as a restricted free agent, on July 10, 2010. The Jazz declined to match the offer, allowing Portland to acquire Matthews.
Less than a week after the Boozer defection, on July 13, 2010, the team traded Kosta Koufos and 2 future first round picks to Minnesota for Forward/Center Al Jefferson, using the trade exception from the Carlos 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 3-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 received from another team, whether signed or not. Fesenko signed the offer on September 27, 2010, the day before training camp began.
2011 - Jerry Sloan Era ends, Corbin Era beginsEdit
On February 10, 2011, head coach Jerry Sloan resigned in the middle of the season along with assistant Phil Johnson. Tyrone Corbin was named the new head coach, and a week later the Jazz hired assistant coach and former Jazz player Jeff Hornacek. 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, after Williams got into a shouting match with head coach Jerry Sloan during a game against the Chicago Bulls. While Williams was under contract through Template:NBAy with a player option worth $17.7 million for Template:NBAy, Jazz chief executive officer Greg Miller did not believe they would be able to re-sign Williams. "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 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 (7) - 1985, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 2007, 2008
Los Angeles Lakers (6) - 1988, 1997, 1998, 2008, 2009, 2010
Portland (5) - 1991, 1992, 1996, 1999, 2000
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 LA 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.
On June 23, 2008, it was officially announced that team members Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer were selected for the 2008 U.S. Olympic basketball team that participated in the 2008 Summer Olympics in China. The Jazz were the only team in the NBA with two players on the 2008 U.S. Olympic squad. The "Redeem Team" was awarded the gold medal.
Williams and Boozer joined former Jazz players John Stockton and Karl Malone as the only Jazzmen to be selected to play for the U.S. team. Stockton and Malone won gold medals at the 1992 and 1996 Olympic games. Andrei Kirilenko represented his home country of Russia at the 2008 games.
Arenas and LogosEdit
- In New Orleans
- In Salt Lake City
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. From 1979–1984, 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 dark green road uniforms were changed to purple, with white trim added around the gold numbers. 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, 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.