Former Jazzman C.J. Miles opts out of player option, should Utah Jazz pursue?

Jan 21, 2017; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Indiana Pacers forward C.J. Miles (0) sits on the bench during the second quarter against the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Utah won 109-100. Mandatory Credit: Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 21, 2017; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Indiana Pacers forward C.J. Miles (0) sits on the bench during the second quarter against the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Utah won 109-100. Mandatory Credit: Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports /

Former Utah Jazz player C.J. Miles is set to hit unrestricted free agency this summer. Should he be an offseason target for the Jazz?

As was reported last week on 8 Points 9 seconds and as several other news outlets released on Tuesday, former Utah Jazz swingman and current Indiana Pacers player C.J. Miles declined his player option for the 2017-18 season and will become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

This move of course was entirely expected as the renowned sharpshooter will have the opportunity to sign a lucrative deal and will undoubtedly have a number of teams yearning for his services whereas his current Pacers team may very well be looking to revamp.

Although C.J. was set to make a manageable $4.8 million this upcoming season and is now entering his 13th NBA season as 30-year-old, given his three-point specialty and the dramatic rise in the salary cap, Miles will likely be in for a significant pay bump next year.

And while Miles gets quite a bit of flack from the fans of his former Jazz team for his streaky shooting, that raise is certainly well-deserved. C.J. shot a career-high 41.3 percent from deep this past season, plays respectable defense and is an all-around great teammate whose willingness to either start or come off the bench has shown his desire to do what’s best for a team.

Such traits could result in his fitting in quite well on a team that is lacking some offensive firepower or floor-stretching abilities. With that becoming such a hot commodity in today’s NBA, there’s no question that Miles will draw a significant amount of attention this offseason.

Not Iong ago I alluded to a 2010 Jazz reunion made up of Deron Williams, Kyle Korver and Paul Millsap, but free agent C.J. Miles is another one that could have been thrown into that mix. His three-point shooting prowess would make for a nice offensive addition for the Jazz, not to mention he would likely fit in well with the current roster and seemed to enjoy his time in Utah playing for the team that drafted him.

Some fans may not be too high on a reunion with Miles as he seems to be harassed every time he sets foot on the court in Salt Lake City and quite frankly has not played well against the Jazz for the most part since leaving the team. However, a lot of the disdain towards C.J. is misplaced as he was quite young when he played for Utah (the youngest player in franchise history when he was drafted), has improved quite significantly since then and has had without a doubt a successful career as a role player.

Yet, while I actually like Miles quite a lot and would have no problem with him rejoining Utah’s ranks from a personality or talent standpoint, quite frankly I just don’t believe that he is exactly what the Jazz need right now. His three-point percentage was outstanding last year, but the fact remains that he can still be somewhat streaky. He’d be extremely redundant with Rodney Hood but would cost significantly more, so the Jazz would be better off utilizing that money elsewhere.

I have mentioned several times that Utah could use an upgrade at the shooting guard spot, a position which Miles could help fill, but it would be better for Utah to use that money on someone a little more versatile, especially with Hood and Joe Ingles (assuming he’s retained) largely filling in as the major deep-ball threats. There may not really be someone that fits the bill all that well especially in Utah’s price range, but it still feels like a stretch to try to force Miles into that role.

The only exception I can see to this would be if the Jazz strike out big time in free agency and I mean big as in the “lose both Gordon Hayward and Joe Ingles” kind of big. If Utah fails to re-sign Hayward then opts not to match a hypothetically lucrative offer sheet for Ingles, they’d be left with a massive hole at the two and three-spots at which point a guy like C.J. could make for a decent consolation prize, especially if he has interest in returning to his first NBA team.

That certainly wouldn’t be ideal and quite frankly, I don’t think it’s likely. Miles was one of my favorites during his time with the Jazz despite the fact that he never quite developed into the sniper that many Utah fans had hoped he would become. Nevertheless, I still hope he can find a team, whether it be with his current Pacers squad or a new group entirely, where he can be effective and successful.

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I just strongly doubt that that new team would be the Utah Jazz. With Miles due to receive a significant raise despite largely having plateaued and not necessarily having the most fitting skill set for the current Jazz needs, the organization probably won’t look to pursue him all that hard this offseason even though he will officially join the unrestricted free agency ranks.