Utah Jazz center Al Jefferson will be an unrestricted free agent this summer and according to Marc Stein of ESPN, the team will not make an effort to re-sign him:
Been hearing this one more and more lately: Rising sense out there that Jazz might simply let big man Al Jefferson walk in free agency
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 24, 2013
While letting a guy who averaged 17.8 points and 9.2 rebounds walk for nothing does hurt a little bit, this comes as no surprise and is definitely a good decision. Jefferson would likely want a max multi-year deal to stay in Utah, which would likely lock up the franchise for several years of mediocrity.
While Jefferson is a great player, he is not capable of single-handedly attracting talent to a team and being the best player on a serious championship contender. With Jefferson on a max deal, the Jazz would likely remain what they are now — a borderline playoff team.
Getting Jefferson off the team will also create an opening for the team’s young players. The Jazz have two young big men with a lot of potential in Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors, who could blossom if given a bigger role.