Jazz Notes: Olynyk, Conley, Veterans, Fontecchio

New Jazz center Kelly Olynyk admitted that the trade sending him from Detroit to Utah caught him off guard, telling reporters this week that it felt as if it “came out of nowhere,” according to Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune. However, Olynyk expressed excitement about his new NBA home and suggested the deal reminded him of the last time Danny Ainge traded for him, on draft night in 2013.

“It’s crazy because when I got drafted by Boston, we were almost in the exact same situation with Danny that they’re in here right now,” Olynyk said. “You have some older guys with experience, you have some young guys, you got a bunch of draft picks coming in for the next few years, and you’re just trying to get better every single day, whatever that is.

“And in Boston, we had a young first-year coach in Brad (Stevens), and now we have a first-time, young head coach in Will (Hardy). And I think it’s going to be great for us — everybody’s going to be pulling the rope in the same direction. And that’s how you move things.”

Here’s more on the Jazz:

  • Mike Conley and the other veterans who are still on the Jazz roster are preparing as if they’re going to be in Utah to open the season, but Conley pointed to the Donovan Mitchell trade in particular as a sign that no one is safe. “When Rudy (Gobert) got traded and Royce (O’Neale), you thought maybe that would be it,” Conley said, per Sarah Todd The Deseret News. “And then once Don got traded, the floodgates kind of opened up and now all of us are up in the air and didn’t really know what was going on.”
  • The Jazz will face a tricky balancing act this season as they attempt to find regular minutes for both their young players and their veterans, writes Tony Jones of The Athletic. As Jones observes, developing the young core is the top priority in Utah, but the team also wants its veterans to boost their trade value and to show the youngsters the ropes.
  • Simone Fontecchio, who will be playing in the NBA for the first time after a decade in Europe, said during a media session this week that it felt like a “dream come true” to sign his first NBA contract with the Jazz. “It has been a long journey,” Fontecchio said, according to Johnny Askounis of Eurohoops.net. “Now I am 26, almost 27. Sometimes, this dream felt a little bit far, but right now I am so happy and excited to be here.” Fontecchio added that he believes he can bring shooting, defense, and athleticism to the Jazz.
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