SALT LAKE CITY — As training camp nears, the 2018 NBA offseason was certainly one to remember.
First off, there was LeBron James to Los Angeles.
Paul George returning to Oklahoma City.
How about DeMar DeRozan to the San Antonio Spurs in exchange for Kawhi Leonard to Toronto.
And, oh, how dare we forget about DeMarcus Cousins’ shocking move to join the back-to-back champion Golden State Warriors. Wasn’t that crazy?
But quietly the Utah Jazz were also making chess moves. Nothing crazy, but just enough.
General manager Dennis Lindsey & Co. may not have delivered on the hottest targets, but they brought back the logical pieces for the franchise.
After a second-round playoff run, front office executives drafted Duke guard Grayson Allen with the 21st overall pick. Any lingering animosity from the college battles between Allen and Jazz rising star Donovan Mitchell was quickly erased as Mitchell welcomed him with open arms after the pick was announced at Barclays Center in New York on June 22.
“We’re friends, we obviously competed against each other when he was at Louisville and had some great battles,” Allen said. “So the mutual respect for each other’s game has been there and when I was working out for the draft in California, he came out there so we got to spend some time together so I’m really excited to be joining a team with him.”
Then, it was the hard part: free agency.
Lindsey promised fans he would push to keep free agents Derrick Favors, Dante Exum and Raul Neto once the period opened on July 1 and that’s exactly what he did.
Instead of bringing in outsiders, no team chemistry was ruined as Favors (two-year, $36 million), Exum (three year, $33 million), and Neto (two-year, $4.4 million) all reached deals within 24 hours apart.
Contracts were also guaranteed for Thabo Sefolosha and Ekpe Udoh, ensuring locker room leadership and strong defensive energy from both guys. The only tough decision that was made was to waive Jonas Jerebko before his contract became guaranteed and he ultimately signed with the Warriors.
Other than that, mostly everything was kept intact as Jazz players continue to develop camaraderie while constantly showcasing a genuine love for each other.
That continuity was on display when Mitchell, Neto, Exum, Royce O’Neale, Jae Crowder, Alec Burks and Rudy Gobert all courtside for the Jazz-New York Knicks NBA Summer League game in Las Vegas on Sunday, July 8, 2018, in Cox Pavilion.
Moments like those …read more
Source:: Deseret News – Sports News