|History||New Orleans Jazz
|Arena||Vivint Smart Home Arena|
|Location||Salt Lake City, Utah|
|Team colors||Navy, gold, green
|General manager||Dennis Lindsey|
|Head coach||Quin Snyder|
|Ownership||Jazz Basketball Investors, Inc. (represented by Gail Miller, widow of Larry H. Miller)|
|Affiliation(s)||Salt Lake City Stars|
|Conference titles||2 (1997, 1998)|
|Division titles||9 (1984, 1989, 1992, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2007, 2008, 2017)|
|Retired numbers||11 (1, 4, 7, 9, 12, 14, 32, 35, 53, 1223, Microphone)|
The Utah Jazz are an American professional basketball team based in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Jazz compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member club of the league's Western Conference Northwest Division. Since 1991, the team has played its home games at Vivint Smart Home Arena. The franchise began play in 1974 as the New Orleans Jazz (as a tribute to New Orleans' history of originating Jazz music), an expansion team based in New Orleans; the Jazz moved to Salt Lake City in 1979.
The Jazz were one of the least successful teams in the league in their early years. Although 10 seasons elapsed before the Jazz qualified for their first playoff appearance in 1984, they did 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 from 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 NBA season, the Jazz began restructuring after Sloan's retirement and Williams' trade to the New Jersey Nets. Quin Snyder was hired as head coach in June 2014.
On June 7, 1974, the New Orleans Jazz were admitted as an expansion franchise into the National Basketball Association (NBA). Team officials selected the name because of its definition in the dictionary: collective improvisation. The team began its inaugural season in New Orleans in the 1974–75 season. 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 for the 1976-77 season with 31.1 points per game, the Jazz's 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 it was based in New Orleans. In the Jazz's first season, they played in the Municipal Auditorium and Loyola Field House, where the basketball court was raised so high that the NBA Players Association made the team put a net around the court to prevent players from falling off of the court and into the stands. Later, the Jazz played games in the cavernous Louisiana Superdome, but things were no better, becaus of 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 because of New Orleans' Mardi Gras festivities, similar to the long road trip faced by the San Antonio Spurs each season during their city's rodeo. Years later, founding owner Sam Battistone claimed that there was no contingency plan in case the Jazz had ever qualified for 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, the Jazz 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's 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 U.S. at the time. The team also could not attract much local corporate support—an important factor even in those days—or local investors.
Battistone concluded that the franchise could not be viable in New Orleans and decided to move it. After scouting several new homes, he decided on Salt Lake City, even though it was a smaller market. Salt Lake City had previously been home to the Utah Stars of the American Basketball Association (ABA) 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 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 there was not enough time before the start of the 1979–80 season to receive league approval for a name change. The Jazz also preserved the original Mardi Gras-themed colors: green, purple and gold .
The Jazz's attendance declined slightly after the team's move from New Orleans to Utah, partly because of a late approval for the move (June 1979) and also 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 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 second 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 Jazz struggled financially as well as on the court. Despite having perennial All-Star Dantley, 20-point-per-game scorer Griffith and emerging point guard Rickey Green, the Jazz were still unable to get above .500, finishing 25-57.
Tom Nissalke departed as coach after the Jazz started the 1981–82 season 8–12, and general manager Frank Layden replaced him. Layden's coaching was not an improvement early on, as the Jazz went 17–45 the rest of that season to finish 25–57.
The 1982 NBA draft saw the Jazz pick Georgia's Dominique Wilkins, though the team would have preferred 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, which 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). However, Utah was not aware that the Lakers had researched both Worthy and Wilkins and decided on Worthy out of concern about Wilkins' perceived selfishness. Battistone'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 worst 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.
In the 1982–83 season, leading scorer Dantley missed 60 of 82 games and newcomer Drew also missed time, playing in only 44 games. The Jazz ended up being led by Griffith (22.2 points per game), Green (14.3 points per game) and Danny Schayes (12.4 points per game). 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 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, to help the team become more profitable. The team was rumored to be moving as a result of Battistone's cash shortage as well as the fact they were playing in the league's smallest market. However, fortunes on the court improved, with a healthy Dantley, Jeff Wilkins and rookie Bailey at the forward positions, Eaton and Rich Kelley jointly manning the post, Green and Griffith at the guards and Drew adding 17 points per game off the bench. They went 45–37 and won the Midwest Division, the first winning season and division championship in team history.
The Jazz advanced to the playoffs, defeating the Denver Nuggets 3–2 in the first round, and moving on to play the Phoenix Suns in the second round. Despite having home court advantage 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. Eaton averaged 5.56 blocks per game along with 9.7 points and 11.3 rebounds, and won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award. On the downside, John Drew played only 19 games all 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, losing the series to the high-scoring Denver Nuggets, 4-1.
The team's perennial financial woes and instability were somewhat stabilized during April 1985, when auto dealer Larry H. Miller bought 50 percent of the team from Battistone for $8 million. Battistone had been seeking to move the team.
In the 1985 NBA draft, the team added Louisiana Tech power forward Karl Malone, who made an immediate impact in the 1985–86 season, averaging 14.9 points and 8.9 rebounds per game. However, starter Darrell Griffith missed the season with a stress fracture, and the Jazz hovered around .500 most of the year. In postseason, the Jazz lost in the first round to the Dallas Mavericks, 3–1.
During the 1986 offseason, Battistone was approached to sell the team to Marv Wolfenson and Harvey Ratner, who would have moved the team to Minneapolis. Larry Miller did not want to sell the team, but because of contractual language in his agreement with Battistone, could have been bought out by the new owners if he had refused to sell. Offers went as high as $28 million (the Jazz were valued at $16 million less than a year earlier when Miller purchased half for $8 million) before Miller stepped in at the last minute, purchasing Battistone's remaining 50 percent for $14 million and keeping 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 Bob Hansen. Stockton warranted more time at the point guard position. Despite all these changes, the team finished 44–38 before losing 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 reigning NBA champions, the Los Angeles Lakers. After Los Angeles took Game 1 at home, the Jazz won Game 2 in Los Angeles, 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.
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 championship as they grew better overall. Malone and Stockton, as well as Mark Eaton, were the leaders of the team and also All-Star selections. Eaton won Defensive Player of the Year for the second time, and it appeared the Jazz were ready to take the next step toward contending for an NBA title, after having pushed the Lakers to seven games in the Western Conference semifinals the previous season. However, the second-seeded Jazz were eliminated in the first round in three games by the seventh-seeded Golden State Warriors.
The following year, 1989–90, the Jazz made some changes. Thurl Bailey, who was relied on for 19 points per game the previous season, saw his playing time reduced in favor of rookie Blue Edwards, who played a prominent role with the team. The result was the best win-loss mark in team history, as the Jazz finished 55–27, 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, the Jazz played the Phoenix Suns in the first round, led by All-Stars Tom Chambers and Kevin Johnson. The Suns defeated the Jazz 3 games to 2. 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 by executing a three-way trade that brought shooting guard Jeff Malone to Utah from the Washington Bullets, while Eric Leckner and Bob Hansen were sent from Utah to the Sacramento Kings and Pervis Ellison 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, 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, second 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 matchup 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 Trail Blazers team.
The 1991–92 season proved to be the most successful in team history to that time. The Jazz moved to the Delta Center, a state-of-the art arena that featured a seating capacity of 19,911. The new venue was a considerable 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 championship for the first time since 1989. 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 again faced and lost to Portland, this time 4–2.
The 1992–93 season was a letdown, as the team slumped to 47–35 and third 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 NBA All-Star Game and the surrounding events of All-Star Weekend. In the playoffs, the Jazz lost to Seattle in the first round, 3–2. During the postseason, the team addressed the center position by acquiring 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 percent shooting during the regular season, numbers that dropped to 20.0 and 41 percent in the series against Utah. The Jazz then fought off a determined Denver Nuggets team 4–3 in the Conference semifinals (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 Spencer 34 games into the season with a ruptured Achilles tendon. Despite this setback, the Jazz finished 60–22 before again losing to Houston in the playoffs, 3-2, in the first round.
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 3–1 series deficit before eventually succumbing to Seattle, 4-3.
In the next two seasons, the Jazz were finally able to capitalize on regular season success. In 1996–97, the Jazz had the best record in franchise history (64–18), won the Midwest Division and finished with the best record in the Western Conference. The team included Stockton, Malone and Hornacek, as well as Bryon Russell, Antoine Carr, Howard Eisley and Shandon Anderson. Malone won his first NBA MVP award, 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 Clippers 3–0, Lakers 4–1 and Rockets 4–2. The Jazz then met Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in the Finals, losing the series 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 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 home-court advantage for the playoffs. In the playoffs, the Jazz beat Houston 3-2, and San Antonio 4–1, to advance to the Western Conference Finals for the third straight year. Utah, with a veteran roster of Stockton, Malone and Hornacek, faced a Los Angeles Lakers team 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, 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 the Lakers and earned a second consecutive 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 famous jump shot 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 off-season, 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 lost 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 five-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 Raúl López, 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 summer 2005, the Jazz continued to change the roster by trading three draft picks to acquire the number 3 overall pick, 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 Raúl López 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.[according to whom?] 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 off-season 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 finished 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,[according to whom?] 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 number 4 and number 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 advantage 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 broke 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 number 1-seeded Dallas Mavericks. However, the Jazz easily handled the Warriors, and won the series 4–1. The Jazz 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. The Spurs eventually won the NBA championship that season by defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers 4 games to 0 in the NBA Finals.
During the off-season, the Jazz gained a hometown NBA Development 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[according to whom?] 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 off-season 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 was an All-Star selection, while Williams continued to elevate his play. The Jazz finished the regular season fifth-best in the Western Conference with a 54–28 record. The Jazz sold out 46 of 47 home games (including playoffs) during the year, and possessed a 37–4 home regular season record; that was, however, offset by a sub-par road win-loss record.
The Jazz again faced the Houston Rockets in the first round of the playoffs, this time as a number 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 number 1 seeded 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 Los Angeles 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 was 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,[according to whom?] 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 into 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 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 and another that 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. On the eve of training camp, the Jazz added two more players, Francisco Elson and Earl Watson for the 2010–11 season.
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. At the time of his departure, Sloan was the longest-tenured coach in the NBA. 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 players Derrick Favors and Devin Harris, as well as two first round draft picks (New Jersey's 2011 and Golden State's conditional 2012). 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 general manager 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 with the Charlotte Bobcats. Jeff Hornacek was hired during the off-season as head coach of the Phoenix Suns. On March 14, 2014, the Jazz were officially eliminated from playoff contention with a 96–87 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.
On June 27, 2013, Rudy Gobert was selected with the 27th overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft by the Denver Nuggets. He was later traded on draft night to the Utah Jazz. On July 6, he signed his rookie scale contract with the Jazz and joined them for the 2013 NBA Summer League.
On May 20, 2014, the Jazz earned the 5th pick in the 2014 NBA draft at the NBA Draft Lottery, with which they chose 18-year-old Australian point guard Dante Exum. They also had the 23rd pick from a trade with the Golden State Warriors and their own pick in the second round (the 35th pick overall). With the 23rd pick they selected Rodney Hood from Duke University. The 35th pick was used to select Jarnell Stokes, who was subsequently traded to the Memphis Grizzlies for a future second-round pick.
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 replaced Tyrone Corbin. Prior to joining the Utah Jazz, Snyder previously served as an NBA assistant coach for the Atlanta Hawks, Los Angeles Clippers, Philadelphia 76ers, and Los Angeles Lakers.
The Jazz finished 51–31 during the 2016–17 season and qualified to play in the NBA Playoffs as the Western Conference's fifth seed. They defeated the Los Angeles Clippers in seven games in the first round for the team's first playoff series win since 2010. The team advanced to play the defending Western Conference champion Golden State Warriors in the conference semifinals where they were swept 4–0, ending their season. Gordon Hayward and Rudy Gobert had breakout seasons in 2017. After putting together several solid seasons in prior years, Hayward was named an NBA All-Star, while Gobert was named to the NBA Defensive First Team and All NBA Second Team.
Hayward left the Jazz to sign with the Boston Celtics as a free agent on July 4, 2017, announcing his decision in a letter published by The Players' Tribune. Hayward's contract was finalized on July 14, 2017.
After the loss of Hayward, the Jazz began the following season poorly, with an injury to Gobert and Hayward's lack of scoring leaving the Jazz with a 17–21 record by the end of December. The Jazz also appeared to replace Hayward ineffectively, with the arrival of Ricky Rubio, a defensive playmaker and scorer (albeit not to the level of Hayward), their only notable transaction in the off-season. In the turn of the new year, however, the Jazz invested heavily in rookie prospect Donovan Mitchell, who was selected with the 13th overall pick by the Denver Nuggets, before the Jazz acquired him in exchange for the 24th pick and Trey Lyles. Mitchell was quickly promoted to starter, and flourished as a scorer and team defender, leading the team and all rookies in the league in points scored. Donovan Mitchell went on to break the record for the most 3 pointers ever by a rookie. This caused the team to improve drastically as a scoring team, and with the return of Gobert, improved defensively to allow for a 9–2 winning record by the end of February.
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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, while the Seattle SuperSonics (now known as the Oklahoma City Thunder) advanced to the NBA Finals in 1996 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. Both clubs are geographically situated in the Rocky Mountains, and have been part of the same division since 1979, having moved to the Northwest Division for the 2004–05 season.
During the 2012–13 season, the Jazz and the Lakers competed for the number 8 seed in the Western Conference. However, the Jazz did not qualify for the Playoffs; the Lakers passed the Houston Rockets in the standings to claim the number 7 seed, and the Rockets moved down to the number 8 seed. The Lakers would eventually lose in a four-game sweep in the first round versus the eventual Western Conference champion San Antonio Spurs, who lost to the Miami Heat in seven games in the NBA Finals.
The Jazz are the only team in NBA history not to have lost 60 or more games in a season. This distinction was achieved when the New York Knicks and the Los Angeles Lakers both lost more than 60 games in the 2014–15 NBA season.
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 to 1996, the Jazz' home uniforms consisted of the logo (the word "Jazz" with the J represented as a musical note combined with a basketball) on the center chest, with purple numbers. The only modification to this uniform was the word "Utah" being added to the center chest logo before the 1986–87 season. The road uniforms were purple with the 'J-note' logo and numbers in white. From 1981–84, 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, along with the addition of the word 'Utah' on the logo. 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 and 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 and purple, though the latter color was only used on the primary logo and alternate logo. The team logo remained substantially the same, with 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 1984–96 uniform designs, with the following differences: navy blue replacing purple on the road uniform, 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.
On May 12, 2016, the Utah Jazz unveiled a refreshed brand identity. The new brand identity includes a new logo system, with some uniform modifications, a new home court design, and the selection of the team's wordmark logo as its new primary logo.
In 2017, as part of the switch to Nike as the NBA's uniform provider, the Jazz made some slight changes to their uniform set. While the white "Association" and navy "Icon" uniforms remained mostly intact, the Jazz retired their green and navy sleeved alternates in favor of a gold "Statement" uniform, featuring the navy 'J-note' logo and green numbers. The "City" uniform, worn for the 2017–18 season, was inspired from the red rock formations found in Southern Utah, and it featured a gradient of gold, orange, burgundy and black.
Utah Jazz roster
The Jazz hold the draft rights to the following unsigned draft picks who have been playing outside the NBA. A drafted player, either an international draftee or a college draftee, who is not signed by the team that drafted him, is allowed to sign with any non-NBA teams. In this case, the team retains the player's draft rights in the NBA until one year after the player's contract with the non-NBA team ends. This list includes draft rights that were acquired from trades with other teams.
|2017||2||55||Williams-Goss, NigelNigel Williams-Goss||G||United States||Partisan NIS (Serbia)|||
|2008||2||44||Tomić, AnteAnte Tomić||C||Croatia||FC Barcelona Lassa (Spain)|||
|Utah Jazz retired numbers|
|1||Frank Layden||Head coach||1981–1988||December 9, 1988|
|4||Adrian Dantley||F||1979–1986||April 11, 2007|
|7||Pete Maravich||G||1974–1979||December 14, 1985|
|9||Larry H. Miller||Owner||1985–2009||April 14, 2010|
|12||John Stockton||G||1984–2003||November 22, 2004|
|14||Jeff Hornacek||G||1994–2000||November 19, 2002|
|32||Karl Malone||F||1985–2003||March 23, 2006|
|35||Darrell Griffith||G||1980–1991||December 4, 1993|
|53||Mark Eaton||C||1982–1993||March 1, 1996|
|1223||Jerry Sloan||Head coach||1988–2011||January 31, 2014|
|"Hot" Rod Hundley||Broadcaster||1974–2009||January 29, 2010|
|Utah Jazz Hall of Famers|
|Pete Maravich 1||G||1974–1980||1987|
|8||Walt Bellamy 2 3||C||1974||1993|
|25||Gail Goodrich 2||G||1976–1979||1996|
|12||John Stockton 4||G||1984–2003||2009|
|32||Karl Malone 5||F||1985–2003||2010|
|24||Spencer Haywood 2||F/C||1979||2015|
|Elgin Baylor 6 7||Head coach||1974
|1223||Jerry Sloan||Head coach||1988–2011||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.
|Most minutes played|
The team's current TV and radio announcers are:
|1974–1976||Butch van Breda Kolff||74–100|
He also said that when the Jazz got NBA approval to move to Utah in June 1979, "We didn't have time to change the name" before the season started.
If the player is already under contract to, or signs a contract with a non-NBA team, the team retains the player's draft rights for one year after the player's obligation to the non-NBA team ends. Essentially, the clock stops as long as the player plays pro ball outside the NBA.
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