2:25pm: The moves are official, the team announced.
1:21pm: The Jazz are waiving J.J. O’Brien and Jack Cooley, according to Jody Genessy of the Deseret News (Twitter link). O’Brien has a $75K partial guarantee that Utah will be responsible for if he clears waivers, while Cooley’s pact is non-guaranteed. They’re the first cuts from the Jazz preseason roster, which shrinks to 18 players, including 13 with fully guaranteed salaries, as our roster count shows.
Neither had seen much playing time in preseason, with Cooley scoring a single basket in six and a half minutes of play spread over two games and O’Brien going scoreless in less than two minutes during his one-game cameo. The 6’9,” 24-year-old Cooley was also with the Jazz last season, when he signed a pair of 10-day contracts followed by a multiyear deal, while the 6’7″ O’Brien, 23, went undrafted this June out of San Diego State.
Cooley was also a training camp cut for the Jazz last fall, and he spent much of the season with Utah’s D-League affiliate before rejoining the NBA roster. It wouldn’t be shocking to see him return to the D-League Idaho Stampede or for O’Brien to follow in his footsteps, though that’s just my speculation. NBA teams can retain the D-League rights to as many as four of the players they waive, but Utah doesn’t need to use one of those four spots on Cooley since the Stampede already have his D-League rights.
Today’s moves will leave the Jazz with a five-man battle for two regular season roster spots, assuming Utah carries a full 15-man roster on opening night. Jeff Withey and Treveon Graham, with partial guarantees, are up against non-guaranteed holdovers Bryce Cotton, Chris Johnson and Elijah Millsap. I looked at the battle for regular season roster spots on the Jazz in more detail here.
Who do you think the Jazz will end up keeping for opening night? Leave a comment to tell us.