Al Jefferson

Report: Al Jefferson wants $15 million salary, will wait for Dwight Howard to sign


Al Jefferson signed a five-year, $65 million extension that paid him $15 million last season in the final year of the deal. Whenever teams offers a player so much money, there’s always a risk he rests on his laurels.

Jefferson didn’t do that.

Since getting that extension, he’s worked hard to develop his offensive game. He’s added post moves, increased his range, become a better passer and cut down on his turnovers.

Jefferson, still just 28, can go to teams as a free agent and credibly tell them he will continue to hone his craft during the course of his next contract. That should increase his value.

Chris Broussard of ESPN:

Most NBA contracts are set up so salary rises annually, but even if Jefferson wants the smallest-possible four-year contract starting at $15 million – $53.25 million with the Jazz, $55.95 million with anyone else – that’s still much more money than he’s likely to get.

That’s because, despite his best efforts on the other end, Jefferson is an unimpressive defender. He’s too short to effectively guard most centers and too slow to effectively guard most power forwards.

When Jefferson was on the court last season, the Jazz defended like the NBA’s 28th-best defense. When he was on the bench, they defended like the league’s third-best defense.

NBA teams – Bobcats potentially notwithstanding – have gotten smarter about valuing two-way players, and Jefferson is a purely offensive player.

Jefferson, through no fault of his own, was overpaid once. Just because he did all he could to justify that contract doesn’t mean he’ll be overpaid again.

Hezonja throws down one-handed dunk in preseason debut

Orlando Magic Introduce 2015 NBA Draft Picks
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Mario Hezonja, the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft, has never lacked for confidence. The Croatian guard made his pro debut in the Magic’s preseason game against the Hornets on Saturday and did this:

Between Hezonja, Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon, the Magic have a nucleus of young players that has the potential to be a lot of fun. Even if they’re still a few years away from contending, they’re definitely going to be a League Pass favorite this year.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist suffers dislocated shoulder in preseason game

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Solomon Hill
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Preseason is only just getting underway and there’s already a potentially serious injury to report. In the game between the Hornets and Magic on Saturday night, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was taken to the locker room after suffering a right shoulder injury. The Hornets announced that he was then taken to an Orlando-area hospital for follow-up x-rays:

A few hours after the game, the Hornets announced that Kidd-Gilchrist has a dislocated shoulder:

Depending on the severity of the injury, he could miss a few weeks or a few months. Hopefully, it’s the shorter end of that timeline. We should know more on Sunday.