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Dennis Lindsey, Utah Jazz general manager, talks to members of the media at the Zions Bank Basketball Center in Salt Lake City on Thursday, April 25, 2019. The Utah Jazz season ended with Wednesday's loss to Houston in the playoffs. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)
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Jazz Enter Offseason With Plan But No Road Map

Dennis Lindsey, Utah Jazz general manager, talks to members of the media at the Zions Bank Basketball Center in Salt Lake City on Thursday, April 25, 2019. The Utah Jazz season ended with Wednesday's loss to Houston in the playoffs. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Jazz enter the offseason with an understanding of their goals. Vice president of basketball operations Dennis Lindsey and general manager Justin Zanik plan to add long, strong defenders, who don’t jeopardize the team’s elite shooting. That part is easy. Now they have to figure out who, when, where, and how much they can spend. And for now, those questions have few answers.

When the NBA restart plan was designed, the NBA draft and free agency were set to begin in mid-October. However, with a significant loss in basketball-related income, and emergency alterations to the collective bargaining agreement needed after the coronavirus pandemic, the end of season finances will have to be calculated at the conclusion of the playoffs before a 2020-21 salary cap can be set.

When those numbers are finalized, teams across the league, including the Jazz will be able to design their offseason strategies. As a result of the delay, the NBA draft is being rescheduled for mid to late November according to recent reports with free agency to follow.

According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the 2020-21 season which was loosely slated to begin on December 1, will likely be pushed towards the end of December at the earliest.

Jazz Try To Tackle Offseason Plan Without A Map

Despite knowing what types of players the team would like to chase, the peculiar offseason has complicated Lindsey and Zanik’s responsibilities.

“The NBA I know is working hard with the Players Association,” Zanik said. “They’re getting that stuff figured out, hopefully, we’ll have more guidance sooner rather than later. And then once those dates are in place, we’ll get to work on specific things.”

While Zanik was optimistic, Lindsey painted a more perplexing picture.

“It would be like you jumping on the plane and the pilots not knowing how to how to fly a plane without instrumentation,” Lindsey said.

“As we sit here today, you don’t know when things are going to take place or exactly what the cap or even the rules could be.”

Unprecedented Offseason

In a season full of firsts, including a league-wide suspension and the completion of the season inside one bubble campus, the offseason will likely have its share of never before seen events. As a result, the Jazz are attempting to prepare themselves for anything the league could throw at them.

“There’s a good chance it’s going to be a virtual draft, which would be like March 12, (the day the NBA season was suspended),” Lindsey said. “Unprecedented and yet, we still have to make critical decisions for our group to move our group forward.”

Teams may not be able to work players out in person before selecting them in the 2020 draft. That will place higher importance on traditional scouting and game tape, with less access to in-person encounters.

“We’re confident that we can adapt to the circumstance,” Lindsey said of the Jazz plan. “We just need to know when those circumstances are going to happen, the rules that are wrapped around but the long the short of it is, at this point, we have no idea.”

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