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NBA PM: Jared Jeffries On GM ‘Fast Track’
Posted By Alex Kennedy On September 27, 2013 @ 5:00 pm In Main Page,NBA | No Comments
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Jeffries Excited to Begin Front Office Career
Jared Jeffries could’ve continued his NBA career. A number of teams expressed interest in adding him this offseason, so had the option of signing another one-year deal and playing limited minutes for a team, as he has done for the last several years. However, being at the end of a bench was no longer fulfilling for the 31-year-old forward. Rather than continue his playing career, he decided to begin his career as a front office executive.
Last week, Jeffries retired from the NBA after 11 years in the league and took a job with the Denver Nuggets as a pro personnel scout. Jeffries will work alongside Nuggets general manager Tim Connelly and his staff, and he hopes this will eventually lead to a GM job of his own.
Many players have a hard time walking away from the game, but Jeffries feels he’s retiring at the right time and taking advantage of a great opportunity with the Nuggets.
“I wanted be relevant and help build something,” Jeffries said in a phone interview with HOOPSWORLD. “To just take a one-year deal with a non-contending team doesn’t do a whole lot for me at this point in my life. I’ve been blessed to make a lot of money. I’ve been blessed to be on some good teams and be around some good guys. To just take a one-year deal to play for maybe one or two more years was never something that I really wanted to do. I always want to be around basketball, always want to involved with basketball, but I want to be relevant.
“My title with the Nuggets will be ‘Pro Personnel Scout’ and the really good thing is that it’s a really small front office so I’ll be able to do full personnel stuff, do stuff with our team itself, do some scouting of other NBA players and also get the chance to do some college and international scouting. [Nuggets' GM] Tim [Connelly] has given me a great opportunity to learn. He’s given me the chance to do a lot of stuff these next couple of years to pick up a wealth of knowledge from him, from the assistant GM Arturas Karnisovas, from the owner Josh Kroenke, and get real life experience. It’s hard for a lot of basketball players to do something when you’re done playing. It’s hard to get a chance and get jobs like this because you are viewed as just a basketball player.”
Jeffries spent last season with the Portland Trail Blazers, averaging just 1.2 points in 9.2 minutes per game. While he admits that it was difficult to walk away from the NBA lifestyle and salary, he was tired of toiling in obscurity. While he was a solid role player throughout his time in the NBA, he hopes that his executive career is so successful that it eventually overshadows his playing days.
“It was really difficult to retire,” Jeffries said. “I’ll miss the competitiveness and I’ll miss being a player. When you’re an NBA player, it’s the greatest life you could ever have, it’s the best job you could ever have and it makes it really difficult to walk away. But, for me, it’s always been about the need to be relevant. I think it’s hard to sit at the end of the bench. Even when you win on the end of the bench, you’ll do your part, but nobody is going to remember. Even if you win that championship, nobody is going to remember because you didn’t do a lot when it counted. I didn’t really want that. I feel like now, I can be part of something. If can build a team and win a championship as a GM, I’ll be remembered because of what I’ve done outside of my playing career.”
Former NBA player Calvin Booth gave Jeffries advice this summer and told him that he shouldn’t pass on the job in Denver because it’s a rare and excellent opportunity. Booth accepted a job with the Minnesota Timberwolves’ operations staff this offseason, but has seen how difficult it is to land a front office job.
“There are lot of guys that go two or three years being retired and then decide they want to get back to the NBA with a job like I have and it’s not there,” Jeffries said. “So in a couple years, it would’ve been hard for me to get a job like this.”
Denver was a perfect fit for Jeffries because he has relationships with many of the players on the roster including Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari, Nate Robinson and J.J. Hickson.
“It’s funny because Wilson and Gallo were rookies when I was with the Knicks, I was with Nate in his second year and I’ve known J.J. since he came into the league,” Jeffries said with a laugh. “Actually, a lot of these guys on this team I’ve had contact with in the past. They’re great kids, they’re really good people and a lot of them are in their prime.”
Jeffries believes that his experiences in the NBA will help him as he makes the transition to the front office because he can relate to players better than someone who hasn’t seen the league from every perspective. He also understands all of the pieces that a team needs to be successful, since he has been around many franchises.
He hopes to learn the ropes over the next few seasons in Denver and then become a general manager shortly after.
“I think this puts me on the fast track [to become a general manager],” Jeffries said. “I would love to be a GM in the next five years. So spend two years being in this introductory, lower level role and then after these two years move up really quickly. I have a lot of good relationships and I just have to learn. I like having the chance to build something.”
For the first time in over a decade, Jeffries won’t be in a uniform when training camps open next week. However, he walked away on his own terms and he’s looking forward to the next chapter of his life.
“I’m excited about it,” Jeffries said. “I think I have an awesome chance to show that former players can still be really good at this. A lot of teams aren’t hiring former players anymore to be GMs; they’re hiring other guys. I think it’s because a lot of guys have really gone away from that, and I want to change that because I always want to be around the NBA.”
Free Agency Update
Training camps will get underway next week and many teams have been filling out their roster in recent days. Teams can bring up to 20 players to camp, but they must trim their roster down to 15 players before the start of the regular season.
Here are some of the latest free agency nuggets:
• The San Antonio Spurs will bring veterans Corey Maggette and Sam Young to training camp as they search for a back-up small forward. San Antonio currently has 14 players with guaranteed contracts for the 2013-14 season, so Maggette and Young will be among the players fighting for the Spurs’ final roster spot. It would make sense for the Spurs to keep either Maggette or Young since, at the moment, they don’t have back-up small forward behind Kawhi Leonard. Maggette spent last season with the Detroit Pistons while Young spent last season with the Indiana Pacers.
• Sebastian Telfair has received interest from a number of NBA teams this offseason, but sources close to the situation say that he’s also considering signing a deal with a team in Europe. The 28-year-old continues to weigh his options. If he signs overseas, it’s possible that he could sign with an NBA team later in the season once he has returned to the United States. Telfair spent last season with the Phoenix Suns and Toronto Raptors.
• In recent weeks, there had been some rumblings that Gilbert Arenas was going to accept a training camp invite from the Los Angeles Clippers. He had worked out for the team earlier this summer and sources close to the point guard indicated that he considered joining L.A. for training camp. However, he recently told HipHollywood.com that he would rather return to China this season. “With China, I get to go and still play and then I can get back home and spend more time with the kids. I get to be home in February and enjoy the family, I don’t need the NBA money, I have enough of it. Now it’s about spending time with the family and the kids,” Gilbert said.
• The Milwaukee Bucks have added four players to their training camp roster, according to The Journal Sentinel. Stephen Graham, Junior Cadougan, Trey McKinney Jones and Olek Czyz will join the Bucks for camp next week. Milwaukee will have 19 players on their training camp roster.
• The Chicago Bulls signed Mike James, Dahntay Jones, Kalin Lucas, Dexter Pittman, Patrick Christopher and D.J. White to their training camp roster.
• Melvin Ely has decided to join the Memphis Grizzlies for training camp, according to sources close to the situation. While Ely hasn’t been on an NBA roster since playing for the Denver Nuggets in the 2010-11 season, he never stopped training. He has been working out at Impact Basketball in Las Vegas every summer, determined to resume his NBA career. Ely, who is 35 years old, has averaged 5.3 points and 3.3 rebounds over the course of his eight-year NBA career.
• The Utah Jazz will add Scott Machado, Mike Harris, Dominic McGuire, Justin Holiday and Dwayne Jones to their training camp roster, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.
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