Johnny Juzang

Jazz Notes: Roster, Trade Market, Hendricks, Juzang

The Jazz are one of the only teams in the league with 15 players signed to standard contracts and three players signed to two-way contracts, reaching the regular season roster limit. Regardless, don’t count Utah out from making additional moves before the season begins, writes The Salt Lake Tribune’s Andy Larsen. Larsen argues that while the roster is full, the balance of the team isn’t even.

According to Larsen, Utah’s most solid position groups are at the forward and center positions. With Lauri Markkanen in place at either forward position and Walker Kessler anchoring down the paint, there are few questions about Utah’s frontcourt.

However, the guard spots are more in question, in Larsen’s view. Kris Dunn, Collin Sexton, Talen Horton-Tucker and Ochai Agbaji all had bright moments last season, but would need to make major leaps to be full-time starters, while Jordan Clarkson is a proven commodity at this point, Larsen writes. Beyond that, the Jazz would be relying on rookie Keyonte George to step in right away and make an impact, which is a tall ask for an organization angling for a playoff spot.

That’s why Larsen believes the Jazz are going to be active in the trade market in the coming weeks and months. Miami guard Tyler Herro could be an option if the Heat trade for Damian Lillard and the Jazz help facilitate such a deal. Larsen also points to Zach LaVine, OG Anunoby and Isaiah Joe as potentially available options (of varying viability) to help lock down the shooting guard position. Larsen adds that available point guards are scarce, citing D’Angelo Russell (ineligible to be dealt until Dec. 15) and Kevin Porter Jr. as possible trade candidates.

Even though Larsen expects Utah to be active on the phones going forward, the best option may be for the Jazz to develop their young pieces and stay patient for a potential future available All-Star level player. According to Larsen, “the dream” for Utah is that Dallas star Luka Doncic eventually becomes available.

There’s more from the Jazz:

  • While George soaked up the spotlight on the Jazz’s summer league team, Utah’s No. 9 overall pick, Taylor Hendricks, sat out of summer league with a hamstring injury. Though Markkanen, John Collins and Kelly Olynyk project to take minutes at power forward, Hendricks is expected to see some time at the position and make an impact as a rookie. In the first of what will be a series of Q&A interviews with The Salt Lake Tribune’s Eric Walden (subscriber link), Hendricks discussed his injury, teammates and transition to the league. While Hendricks is making progress in his transition from college to the NBA, he says there are still some adjustments he’s getting used to. “I would say how the defenses are structured,” Hendricks said. “Because in college, there’s no defensive three-second rule, and then also, the spacing’s not as wide as [it is in] the NBA. So I would just say, it’s just different things you have to do on defense. But just watching [the games], I feel like I could thrive in that environment.”
  • Johnny Juzang re-signed with the Jazz on July 19, giving him a second year on a two-way contract in the organization. Sarah Todd of the Deseret News writes that the young wing is readying himself to prove doubters wrong this upcoming season. “I’ve got a lot to show everybody,” Juzang said. “Look, I mean, I’ve got a chip on my shoulder. I’ve always felt like I’m a great player and I’ve always worked super hard. But a lot of my career, I feel like I’ve been overlooked and even coming into the NBA and going undrafted, trust me, I don’t forget that.” Juzang averaged 4.8 points in 18 games last season for the Jazz and went on to average 17.8 points on better than 50% shooting from beyond the arc during this year’s Las Vegas Summer League.
  • In case you missed it, Markkanen is a player to watch as a strong candidate to receive a contract renegotiation and extension in 2024, as we explained earlier this week. Markkanen broke out for the Jazz last season, averaging 25.6 points and 8.6 rebounds and earning his first All-Star nod.

Jazz Re-Sign Johnny Juzang To Two-Way Contract

9:23pm: Juzang’s two-way deal is official, the Jazz announced.

12:36pm: The Jazz are re-signing free agent guard Johnny Juzang to another two-way contract, his agents Sam Goldfeder and Jordan Gertler tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

After going undrafted out of UCLA in 2022, Juzang signed a two-way deal with Utah and appeared in 18 NBA games as a rookie, averaging 4.8 points and 2.2 rebounds on .337/.328/.500 shooting in 12.9 minutes per night.

He saw more action and was more productive for the Salt Lake City Stars in the G League, recording 20.8 PPG, 5.4 RPG, and 3.3 APG with a .429/.364/.907 shooting line in 17 regular season appearances (31.6 MPG) for the Jazz’s NBAGL affiliate.

The Jazz issued a two-way qualifying offer to Juzang last month, making him a restricted free agent, but withdrew that offer earlier in July in order to maximize their cap room. According to Tony Jones of The Athletic (Twitter link), that was just a logistical move, as the team remained high on the 22-year-old and put another two-way offer on the table for him.

Juzang is accepting that offer after an impressive showing with Utah’s Summer League squad. He put up 17.8 PPG on 53.2% shooting (52.2% on threes) in just 23.8 MPG across four Vegas appearances.

Once Juzang is officially back under contract, the Jazz will have filled their three two-way contract slots. Micah Potter and Joey Hauser are also on two-way deals with the club.

Northwest Notes: Henderson, Billups, Towns, Juzang, Tyson

Trail Blazers coach Chauncey Billups said that developing lottery pick Scoot Henderson into a top-level point guard is a “personal” project, he told The Athletic’s David Aldridge.

“It’s personal for me,” said Billups, the 2004 Finals MVP. “‘Cause I just remember myself being that dude, third pick in the draft. The expectations. I want to give Scoot what I needed at the time. I can do that. I’ve done everything he wants to do in this league. I struggled mightily early, which I don’t see that happening with him.”

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • The Timberwolves had some pre-draft discussions about a possible Karl-Anthony Towns trade, Ian Begley of SNY TV said on ESPN’s Zach Lowe podcast (hat tip to RealGM). “There were talks between the Timberwolves and other teams before the draft and Towns’ name came up,” Begley said. “I don’t know how aggressive the Timberwolves were with Towns, if at all.” Towns is entering the first year of his four-year super max extension.
  • Jazz summer league coach and developmental assistant Evan Bradds said he’s been pushing second-year swingman Johnny Juzang hard, Eric Walden of the Salt Lake Tribune writes. Juzang had a high efficient 26-point outing in the team’s second Summer League game. “I want him to succeed, and I think over the [past] year, we were able to build a good relationship,” Bradds said. “I think if you ask him, he would want to be coached hard. So if you tell me you want me to coach hard, I’m gonna coach you hard, no matter what — when you’re good, when you’re bad. Even during the game, we get a little heated, and that’s OK, that’s part of it.” Juzang is an unrestricted free agent after the Jazz pulled their qualifying offer.
  • Second-round pick Hunter Tyson was a standout for the Nuggets in the Summer League, Matt Schubert of the Denver Post writes. Tyson averaged 20.8 points in five games and made half of his 3-point attempts. He also averaged 6.0 rebounds and 1.8 assists.

Northwest Notes: Henderson, Wallace, George, Juzang

After suffering a shoulder injury in his Summer League debut, Trail Blazers rookie Scoot Henderson will sit out Sunday’s game, tweets Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report and TNT. Although he will miss a marquee matchup with Victor Wembanyama and the Spurs, Henderson is listed as day-to-day and still may return before the end of Summer League.

The dynamic guard told Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian that he strained his shoulder on a dunk attempt in Friday’s game against the Rockets. Overall, he was satisfied with his first performance against NBA players, which included 15 points, six assists and five rebounds in 21 minutes.

“I think I played pretty smooth,” Henderson said. “I know there are areas I definitely need to improve on. Just little things in my game where I think I can really perfect and master.”

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • The Thunder got to see their two draft picks in action for the first time on Saturday, writes Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman. Cason Wallace wasn’t able to play in the Salt Lake City Summer League because his draft-night trade from the Mavericks hadn’t been processed, and Keyontae Johnson was sidelined with a strained hamstring. Both played well in a win over Dallas, and Wallace particularly impressed his teammates with a 20-point outing. “Great defender, great all-around player,” Chet Holmgren said. “I think he’s gonna fit in well with the other guys we have on this team. Great character, great kid, too. I’m glad we drafted him. It’s a good spot for him.” 
  • Jazz guard Keyonte George is one of the early stars in Las Vegas with 33 points and 10 assists in his debut, per Sarah Todd of The Deseret News. The rookie out of Baylor has a lock screen on his phone with a graphic listing the concerns that scouts had about him as an NBA prospect. “I wake up every morning with this on my phone,” he said. “Each time I’m going into a game or I’m going into workout, that’s my main focus, each and every day, each and every game. Let’s take care of all this — take good shots, even if they’re not falling, just make sure we take great shots, play with the basketball … and that’s what I feel like I did tonight.”
  • The Jazz have withdrawn their qualifying offer to Johnny Juzang, making him an unrestricted free agent, according to RealGM’s transactions log.

Free Agent Rumors: Pacers, Strus, Brown, Kyrie, Westbrook, QOs

After reporting on Wednesday that the Pacers are “strongly weighing” a three-year offer worth upwards of $48MM for Max Strus, Marc Stein (Twitter links) cautions that the free agent wing shouldn’t be viewed as a slam dunk to end up in Indiana. While it seems likely that Strus will leave the Heat, there still appear to be multiple suitors in play for him, according to Stein.

Who might the Pacers pursue using their cap room if not Strus? Stein says Indiana has emerged as a team to watch in the Bruce Brown sweepstakes, joining the Lakers, Mavericks, and Nuggets, among others. Indiana will have the ability to offer either Strus or Brown more than the $12.4MM non-taxpayer mid-level exception that over-the-cap teams are limited to.

Here are a few more free agent rumors and notes from around the NBA:

  • In addition to the Suns, Kyrie Irving has the Lakers, Sixers, and Heat on his list of teams to meet with in free agency, sources tell Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. Based on Rankin’s wording, the cap situations for those teams, and a report that cast doubts on whether Kyrie’s meeting with Phoenix will actually happen, it sounds like that list of meetings may be aspirational rather than set in stone.
  • Russell Westbrook won’t be in a rush to make a decision when free agency opens on Friday, so he’s unlikely to be one of the first players off the board, tweets Law Murray of The Athletic, adding that the former MVP isn’t a “dead set lock” to return to the Clippers.
  • Johnny Juzang of the Jazz and Julian Champagnie of the Spurs are among the players on two-way contracts who received qualifying offers by Thursday’s deadline, making them restricted free agents, according to Keith Smith of Spotrac (Twitter links).

Northwest Notes: Juzang, Sexton, Gobert, Porter Jr.

Jazz rookie guard Johnny Juzang has a Grade 3 sprain in his right wrist, according to a team press release. An MRI revealed the extent of the injury, which he suffered while playing with the G League Salt Lake City Stars against the Ignite on Friday. Juzang, who is on a two-way contract, will be reevaluated in 10-to-14 days. He’s averaging 13.4 points and 4.4 rebounds in 28.6 minutes with the Stars.

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • Collin Sexton struggled trying to replace injured Mike Conley in the Jazz’s starting lineup but the team hopes he’ll become more than just a sixth man, Tony Jones of The Athletic notes. Sexton is in the first year of a four-year, $70.95MM contract from the sign-and-trade deal made with Cleveland. The Jazz are hoping he’ll eventually find the right balance between being an aggressive scorer and a floor leader. Sexton had 10 points and just one assist in 28 minutes against the Clippers on Monday.
  • Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert wants to hear more supportive, rather than fickle, fans in the home crowd, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic writes. Minnesota has won four straight games, but has heard plenty of boos from the home crowd, including during Monday’s win over Miami. “I just don’t appreciate people that come in to boo your team,” said Gobert, the team’s biggest offseason acquisition. “When you’re a fan, you’ve got to support your team in the tough or the good moments. There’s no team in NBA history that only had good moments, so if you’re not going to support us in the tough moments, just stay home.”
  • Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. has come to the realization that he needs to do the dirty work to live up to his contract, Tim Bontemps of ESPN writes. “Offense for me should be on autopilot,” Porter said. “I should be focused on the intangibles, the defense, the rebounding, the dirty work. Then that just involves you in the game. If you’re struggling on offense and you’re also not rebounding or playing defense, then it’s like, ‘Why is he out there right now?'” Porter signed a five-year, max extension in September 2021.

Northwest Notes: Juzang, Vanderbilt, Thunder, KCP

Two-way player Johnny Juzang could be another developmental success story for the Jazz, Sarah Todd of the Deseret News writes.

Juzang, one of UCLA’s stars during the Final Four run in 2021, should get more of an opportunity than most undrafted rookies with Utah apparently shifting to rebuild mode. There are questions about Juzang’s defensive ability, but he proved to be a steady offensive threat in college. He struggled in Summer League action, shooting 26.1% from the field.

“I feel like I see the floor pretty well right now but I want to continue to become even more of a playmaker,” Juzang said. “I’m also focused on playing on and off the ball. It will all come with time.”

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • Forward Jarred Vanderbilt, one of the players acquired from the Timberwolves in the Rudy Gobert deal, should be a defensive asset for the Jazz. He recognizes that he can be even more of a force if he develops his offensive game, according to Eric Walden of the Salt Lake Tribune. Vanderbilt started 67 regular season games for Minnesota last season but only averaged 6.9 PPG in 25.4 MPG. “Finishing around the rim, touch; working on my shooting, trying to expand my range; working on ball-handling and counter-moves,” Vanderbilt said of what he needs to work on the most. “I’m still young in my career, where I have a lot of opportunity to still grow and expand my game as well. I’m sticking to the foundation that got me here, but building off that.”
  • What did the Thunder learn about No. 2 overall pick Chet Holmgren and the rest of their squad at the Vegas Summer League? Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman breaks down their performances.
  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope‘s two-year extension with the Nuggets is worth $14.7MM in 2023/24, with a $15.44MM player option for ’24/25, Hoops Rumors has learned. The deal comes in at approximately $30.15MM in total.
  • In case you missed it, Kenrich Williams agreed to a four-year extension with the Thunder. Get all the details here.

Jazz Add Johnny Juzang Via Two-Way Deal

JULY 15: The Jazz have officially signed Juzang, the team announced.

JUNE 24: The Jazz will sign undrafted former UCLA wing Johnny Juzang to a two-way deal, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

Following a 2019/20 freshman season with Kentucky, Juzang transferred to his hometown UCLA. While with the Bruins, the 6’6″ swingman was named Second-Team All-Pac-12 in 2021 and First-Team All-Pac 12 in 2022. For his contributions to UCLA’s NCAA Final Four run in 2021, Juzang was honored as an NCAA All-Tourney selection. The 21-year-old was also voted onto the All-American Third-Team during what wound up being his final collegiate season.

During his junior season, Juzang averaged 15.6 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 1.8 APG and 0.7 SPG through 30 games, including 29 starts. He posted a slash line of .432/.360/.835.

Utah went without a pick in this year’s draft.

Jazz Notes: Mitchell, Gobert Trade, Juzang, Bradds

Despite recently agreeing to trade All-Star center Rudy Gobert for a collection of veteran contracts and first-round draft picks in a deal sure to reduce their ceiling in the short term, the Jazz have indicated to inquiring teams that All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell isn’t available as a trade target, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link via ClutchPoints).

“They want to continue to build a roster around Donovan Mitchell,” Wojnarowski said of Utah’s front office. “They have shut down any team who has called about trying to trade for Donovan Mitchell. The Jazz are committed to moving forward with him as their cornerstone player.”

How much of this stance is merely a negotiating tactic remains to be seen. Marc Stein adds in a new Substack piece that, while he echoes Woj’s reporting that the Jazz are currently suggesting a disinterest in dealing away the 25-year-old All-NBA shooting guard, he expects that team CEO Danny Ainge would have the blessing of ownership to move Mitchell in the future.

Around rival executives, however, teams remain optimistic that Mitchell could be had for the right price.

There’s more out of Utah:

  • As a result of the aforementioned Rudy Gobert deal, the Jazz have added several promising young current and future players, writes Ryan McDonald of the Deseret News. Auburn big man Walker Kessler, the No. 22 in the 2022 NBA draft, will arrive in Utah with potentially a more outsized role than had been anticipated for him with the Timberwolves.
  • Jazz Summer League wing Johnny Juzang is being held out of a team practice today following a car accident on Saturday, according to Eric Walden of the Salt Laker Tribune (Twitter link). Juzang, a former UCLA swingman who went undrafted in 2022, is set to join Jazz on a two-way deal.
  • NBA veteran Tacko Fall, currently playing on the Jazz’s Summer League team, informs Eric Walden of the Salt Lake Tribune (Twitter link) that Evan Bradds, formerly a Player Enhancement Staff member with the Celtics, has been hired as an assistant coach under new Jazz head coach Will Hardy.

Draft Notes: O’Neal, Eason, Lakers, Weathers, Nembhard, Mobley

LSU junior Shareef O’Neal is eligible to be selected in the draft, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. The son of Shaquille O’Neal, Shareef O’Neal was mistakenly included in the list of withdrawals released by the league last week. He has upcoming team workouts, Charania adds.

We have more draft-related info:

  • Another LSU player, wing Tari Eason, has upcoming workouts scheduled with the Cavaliers, Grizzlies and Spurs, Josh Robbins of The Athletic tweets. He has already worked out for a number of teams, including the Bulls, Thunder and Knicks. Eason is ranked No. 18 overall on ESPN’s Best Available list.
  • The Lakers hosted six prospects on Monday, including UCLA’s Johnny Juzang, Jovan Buha of The Athletic tweets. That group also included Remy Martin (Kansas), Jermaine Samuels (Villanova), Michael Devoe (Georgia Tech), Haowen Guo (Shanghai Sharks) and Kenneth Lofton Jr. (Louisiana Tech).
  • SMU’s Marcus Weathers worked out for the Spurs on Monday, Adam Zagoria of tweets. Gonzaga’s Andrew Nembhard and USC’s Isaiah Mobley were also among the six prospects San Antonio hosted, Nicola Lupo of Sportando tweets. Nembhard, a point guard, projects as a potential first-rounder. He’s ranked No. 35 on ESPN’s list.