Jazz should thank Pelicans for taking them off the Jimmer hook

Friday , July 18, 2014 - 5:18 PM

Jimmer isn’t coming back.

Not now, not never.

Yeah, I know: never say never. Normally I agree but in this case the limb I’m standing on feels pretty solid, like something from the mighty oak family.

Former BYU star Jimmer Fredette on Friday signed what has been reported to be a one-year deal with the New Orleans Pelicans, thereby extending his NBA career for … one more season.

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Beyond that? Sorry, today I’m only venturing out on really sturdy limbs. Giving The Jimmer anything beyond next season feels risky and, believe me, it pains me to admit it. I’ve long been a fan of the offensive-minded New York native who, for some weird reason, remains as polarizing here in Utah as fellow ex-Cougar Max Hall.

At least in Hall’s case he earned the distinction after disparaging the entire University of Utah family. All Fredette did to the Utes was beat their brains in with 47 points one night. But I digress, sorry.

Getting back to Jimmer …

Now approaching his fourth NBA season, Fredette is running out of chances. When he struggled to make it with the Sacramento Kings, he was given a pass because the Kings are to structure and stability what camouflage cargo shorts are to a night at the opera.

When he finally bought his way out of Sacramento and signed with Chicago late last season, Jimmermaniacs felt their guy might find his groove in the Windy City.

Turns out that didn’t happen.

Predictably, as the bottom of the free agent market bubbled to the surface, Jimmer’s name was linked to the Utah Jazz. Considering he didn’t have many options to begin with, market watchers speculated that the Jazz, with money to spend and a need for outside shooting, might make a run Fredette.

Fortunately for them, the Pelicans swooped in and took them off the hook.

Perhaps Jimmer’s name was whispered inside the Jazz’s front office, but it very likely never got beyond the “call me crazy but like might work” starge. Yeah, the team’s owners probably felt their was a financial benefit from bringing him back to Utah, but beyond that move made no sense.

Remember, this is coming from a guy who once offered to open up the Ogden chapter of the Jimmer Fredette Mutual Admiration Society. And while I continue to believe there’s a place from him in the NBA (under the absolute perfect circumstances), that place certainly wasn’t in Utah.

For starters, first-year head coach Quin Snyder didn’t need to burden of carving out extra minutes for a local All-American whose star no longer shines. Imagine the mental gymnastics Snyder would’ve endured as he tried to play a game he simply couldn’t win.

But beyond that, bringing in Jimmer would have stunted the growth of the Jazz’s young core.

As noted in a column I wrote about Gordon Hayward earlier in the week, Utah’s roster is talented but fragile. Now is not the time to experiment, especially with lighting-rod free agents like Jimmer.

Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey has a structured plan in place, that much is clear. With a new roster and a new coaching staff, these days its all about developing those young players.

Adding Jimmer to that mix?

No way.

Jim Burton is the Standard-Examiner’s sports columnist. He can be reached at 801-625-4265 or at jburton@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter @StandardExJimbo

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