LA Confidential: Fireballs GM Jron Discusses 2025 Offseason
- By Jron Magcale, Day 1, 2025
LOS ANGELES - The Fireballs has been relatively quiet this offseason with the exception of the Shandon James trade, they have been basically taken a step back on being active despite the frenzy of trades so far. We have caught up with Fireballs GM Jron to talk what the team is planning with regards the offseason and if there was any interest in moving some pieces or be a player in the draft and he was kind enough to allow us for a short interview in his office.
COACH FREE AGENCY
The first order of business was coaching vacancy, which the team's assistant coach Jarrett Bryson, who was with the team for the last 5 seasons is a free agent. We asked GM Jron about the assistant coach vacancy, whether coach Bryson will be back or is he looking at the free agency list for the coaches. "Jarrett (Bryson) has been a great coach for us and with regards to his situation, we'll take a look at options as well. We discussed is with him and there isn't a concrete decision made regarding that yet. Of course we aren't doing our job if we aren't at least look at the list and contact some coaches that we know could fit on what we are doing here in LA but we are not closing the door on Jarrett. We are just doing our due diligence on looking at possible candidates as well." We asked if they have some coaches in mind and we received a rather hesitant safe answer. "I can tell you that we haven't locked on anyone yet but we are close to at least considering an offer." It seems like Jarrett Bryson time in LA may come to an end if the front office is already looking at other options, I believe that with the new head coach Alton Wilkes having a set system of his own, they most likely going to target someone who runs the same philosophy.
We move with questions regarding this year's draft which the Fireballs is not a part of. We asked him if does he have a desire to trade back to the 2025 Draft? He smiled and answered us with "Well, right now. We don't have the desire to be back on the draft. It is a solid draft class don't get me wrong but I'm afraid I don't have the assets necessary to make a move now. I mean, assets I have to make a move aren't on the table." We followed up if teams reached out to him about the trading back and he added "There are some teams that I was in discussions with but nothing concrete. We aren't looking to really move and we can't move without giving our core assets away and that is something that I am not considering this offseason. Believe me there were conversations but I have to stick to the plan we have from last season's re-structure. Year one is more than that we can expect and we want to follow it up with a solid year 2 which is for us is just getting the core back and develop cohesion and chemistry." The topic of draft seems to be a dead end and so we moved on to the next topic at hand which is the Free Agency.
As of press time, the team has 7 players in contract at $71M with 4 players on free agency, important targets being starting Center James Spencer who is expecting at $15.4M/3 with high interest of re-signing, that is a discount from his $20M contract last season, next on their list is starting combo forward Randall Dozier who is expecting a slightly higher pay than Spencer with $16M/2 and also with high interest of re-signing. The other 2 FA they have are reserve C Ivan Vujosevic and seldom used young PG Jabari El-Amin. We started with asking GM Jron about that first, "Well that is top priority for us this offseason. Getting James (Spencer) and Doze (Dozier) back as they are part of the core of this team. We're planning to secure them as early as we can and from there we base our next moves on it." The follow question is about the possibility of bidding wars for the two, GM Jron quickly replied "Whatever it takes. That is our mantra this offseason, we wanted to keep the core whatever it takes and willing to spend making it happen. Doze is RFA, so basically we can just match any offer and we will. Same for James, we'll do what it takes to keep them in LA and build on the momentum we had late last season." We asked about their other FA which is reserve young center Ivan Vujosevic and young PG Jabari El-Amin, "We haven't really looked at it as deep yet but we'll have to make those moves after James and Doze re-signs." Then we finished off with a question about the team's MLE which they have this offseason, "Yeah, we are still trying to decide who to target but definitely we'll use it this offseason as signing both James and Doze would have us over the cap next offseason. We have a short list but we are not 100% yet on zoning out on 1 player yet. We'll see what happens in the 1st few days of FA and from there we'll decide for sure." GM Jron said.
To finish the interview, we wrap it up with questions regarding training camp, preseason and plans for the 2025 season, he just gave us a quick answer stating that "I think coach Wilkes will be ready by then of course I still just need to hold my end of the bargain and that is retaining the core we picked for this team. I do know that TC will be vital for the roles these guys would play next season. I can say that I am confident with coach Wilkes and always has been. It is year 2 or our 3 year transition plan for the restructure. Hopefully we can build from last season, keep it together this season and compete. Same with the pre-season, it is basically coach Wilkes range more than mine. My job is to provide him on what he needs to succeed and that is what I'll do. It was always going to be tough but it isn't as hard when everybody is helping out and sharing ideas. We have set goals and we have a plan and we are not planning to stray away from it." We think that we got everything we needed from GM Jron and we just hanged out for a few more minutes before we said our goodbyes.
We think that the 3-season transition plan that started last season was always a tough task to do. It was sort of a sacrifice and have its risks and rewards, so far the moves that GM Jron have made from last season up to now is still out for jury. But with a better roster structure that also has some significant step towards the future and value long term, I think this is a good turn point for the franchise to see results. The team now has a set signature philosophy and system, solid core and pieces, feasible plans and goals for at least the nest 2-3 seasons and the support of a city that yearns for success. The Fireballs core is by now hitting their primes: Chris LaCruz and Jamaine Curry are both 28 this year, if James Spencer re-signs he will be 27 this year, they added 33 yeard old Shandon James to add veteran presence and help in the wings, Tez Ellison is now 24 and looks like ready to step up, Devon McKay is 23 and the potential is starting to be realized and of course the team's enforcer Anthony Egezeke just turned 25, so this is a team that is a mixture of experience, maturity and development. This is a good season to make a mark. Only high hopes remains with this team and if they stay together this season and beyond, we can only hope for success.