Utah Jazz

Dante Exum Opts For Shoulder Surgery

Jazz point guard Dante Exum has opted for surgery on his separated left shoulder, the team announced in a press release. The surgery, which will take place on October 24th, will stabilize the AC joint of his left shoulder. The team did not announce a timetable for Exum’s return but he’s likely to miss most or all of the season, Kyle Goon of the Salt Lake Tribune speculates.

Exum, 22, missed the 2015/16 season with an ACL tear. He returned last season and played in 66 games, averaging a career-high 6.2 PPG and 1.8 APG. The Jazz acquired Ricky Rubio during the offseason to start at the point. Raul Neto and Donovan Mitchell will back him up in Exum’s absence.

  • Wing Royce O’Neale got the nod over big man Joel Bolomboy for the Jazz’s final roster spot based on need, according to Ryan McDonald of the Deseret News. O’Neale, who spent the last two seasons in Spain, provides coach Quin Snyder with a defender who can guard multiple spots. “I think positionally, he’s a fit for our group right now,” Snyder told McDonald and other media members. “He’s got instincts defensively. Coupled with the toughness, it makes him a good wing defender.”

Tiago Splitter Hopes To Land NBA Contract

Veteran center Tiago Splitter is shopping around for an NBA contract, he told Jorge Sierra of HoopsHype in a Q&A session.

Splitter revealed that he had discussions with the Cavaliers, Jazz and Clippers but nothing came to fruition. He worked out for the Clippers in July.

He also received numerous training camp invites but didn’t get a formal contract offer, he told Sierra. However, the Brazilian native has no desire to explore opportunities overseas.

Injuries have sidetracked his career and Splitter admits he’s still not 100 percent. Splitter, 32, appeared in just eight games with the Sixers last season as he battled hip and calf injuries. He played 36 games with the Hawks the previous season, which was marred by a hamstring issue. Splitter spent his first five seasons with the Spurs.

If he can’t land a player contract, Splitter has decided to pursue a coaching career. He has visited with the Spurs, Hawks and Warriors during camp with that purpose.

“It’s a learning experience with focus on my career once my playing days are over,” he told Sierra. “My plan is to remain involved in basketball. This is a good way to network, meet new people and get to see basketball from a different perspective.”

Jazz Waive Joel Bolomboy

The Jazz have set their roster for the regular season by waiving Joel Bolomboy, the team announced today in a press release. The move reduces Utah’s roster count to 17 players — 15 on NBA deals and two on two-way contracts.

Bolomboy, the 52nd overall pick in the 2016 draft out of Weber State, appeared in just 12 games for the Jazz last season. While he didn’t earn a regular role with the NBA club, the 23-year-old power forward did see plenty of action for Utah’s G League affiliate, the Salt Lake City Stars. In 24 G League games, Bolomboy averaged 16.6 PPG and an impressive 13.3 RPG.

A report out of Utah last week had suggested that the battle for the final spot on the Jazz’s roster was coming down to Bolomboy vs. Royce O’Neale. It’s possible Utah could make another move before today’s deadline, but for now it appears that O’Neale has made the team.

As for Bolomboy, he’ll clear waivers and become a free agent on Wednesday, assuming he isn’t claimed. His 2017/18 salary was fully guaranteed, so the Jazz will remain on the hook for his $1,312,611 cap hit.

Jazz Unlikely To Sign Rodney Hood To Extension

The Jazz aren’t likely to signing guard Rodney Hood to a contract extension ahead of Monday’s deadline, Tony Jones of the Salt Lake Tribune writes. The swingman, expected to shoulder more of Utah’s scoring load, will thus hit restricted free agency next summer.

While Hood will get the 2017/18 campaign to help Jazz fans forget about Gordon Hayward, he’ll also be able to use a successful season to boost his stock on the open market next offseason. The starting guard will get plenty of touches considering that the franchise will need to replace Hayward’s 21.9 points per game.

Per Jones, the Jazz do have faith in their 24-year-old two guard, they’d just like to see him stay healthy and more consistent on offense. In two of his three seasons thus far, Hood has missed at least 23 games.

If Hood can play 70-plus games in 2017/18 and show that he’s more than just an intriguingly lengthy physical specimen, his size and ability to knock down triples (1.9 threes per game at a .371 rate last season) should earn him plenty of suitors next summer.

When that day comes, the Jazz – with only $83MM committed at a time when few teams will have abundant cap space – will be forced to dig deep into the piggy bank to retain his services lest they lose an offensive focal point for the second time in two summers.

Roster Moves Still Required For Four NBA Teams

After Saturday’s flurry of roster moves around the NBA, most of the league’s 30 teams are all set for the regular season. Heading into opening night, teams are allowed to carry up to 17 players — no more than 15 on their respective NBA rosters, plus an additional two on two-way contracts.

Saturday didn’t represent the deadline for teams to set the regular season rosters, but it was the last day for a club to waive a player on a fully non-guaranteed contract and avoid having his salary count against the cap. That’s why most teams have already made the necessary moves to ensure their rosters are regular-season-ready.

[RELATED: 2017/18 NBA Non-Guaranteed Salaries By Team]

However, as our roster count page shows, there are four teams who will need to make at least one more trade, cut, or other roster move before they’ll be set for the season. These moves are due by Monday afternoon.

Here are those four teams:

Chicago Bulls

  • NBA contracts: 16 (13 fully guaranteed)
  • Two-way contracts: 2
  • The Bulls still have three players on non-guaranteed contracts — Jarell Eddie, David Nwaba, and Diamond Stone. Eddie looked like the most logical candidate to be waived, so it’s somewhat odd that Chicago didn’t make that move on Saturday. Of course, the Bulls’ team salary is well below the salary floor, so if they end up paying Eddie or Nwaba for a couple days of service, it’s hardly the end of the world. Stone already has a $50K guarantee on his contract, so he could be waived on Monday without it affecting the Bulls’ bottom line.

Dallas Mavericks

  • NBA contracts: 16 (12 fully guaranteed)
  • Two-way contracts: 1
  • The Mavericks are already at 17 players, so the most logical move would be to convert Gian Clavell‘s NBA contract into a two-way deal and avoid waiving anyone. Dallas has held off on that move, however, with Clavell drawing some trade interest. The club will have to make a call on him – or another player with a full or partial guarantee – by Monday.

Memphis Grizzlies

  • NBA contracts: 17 (16 fully guaranteed)
  • Two-way contracts: 2
  • No team has more work to do before Monday than the Grizzlies, who will have to trade or cut multiple players and may end up eating a decent chunk of guaranteed money. The most likely scenario would see the team waiving Jarell Martin and perhaps Andrew Harrison (or Wade Baldwin), while retaining Mario Chalmers, who only has a modest $25K guarantee. Martin, Harris, and Baldwin all have full guarantees, which is why Memphis wasn’t under pressure to make any decisions on Saturday.

Utah Jazz

  • NBA contracts: 16 (15 fully guaranteed)
  • Two-way contracts: 2
  • Like the Grizzlies, the Jazz appear set to waive a player on a fully guaranteed salary, which is why they could afford to wait until Monday rather than getting something done on Saturday. Raul Neto, the team’s lone non-guaranteed player, appears safe, meaning the decision will likely come down to Joel Bolomboy vs. Royce O’Neale. Both players have fully guaranteed minimum salaries.

Western Notes: Leonard, Exum, Hood, Nurkic

Kawhi Leonard won’t be ready when the season opens because of a lingering quad injury, relays the Associated Press. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich confirmed the news to reporters Friday night, saying the team will be cautious with its star forward, who didn’t play in any preseason games or participate in camp. ”He’s still rehabbing and when he’s ready, he’ll be ready,’‘ Popovich said.

Leonard is in a rehab program for quadriceps tendinopathy, and Popovich admitted last month that recovery is taking longer than anticipated. Leonard began experiencing the condition last season, and it is not related to an ankle injury in the Western Conference finals that knocked him out of the playoffs.

There’s more from the Western Conference:

  • Leonard, who finished third in the MVP voting last season, is this year’s favorite for the award, according to Tom Haberstroh and Titus Smith of ESPN. The writers examine the criteria used in MVP balloting and believe Leonard has the strongest case. He averaged a career-best 25.5 points per game last year while helping the Spurs win 61 games.
  • Jazz guard Dante Exum is exploring alternatives to season-ending surgery on his left shoulder, writes Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Exum suffered a separated shoulder with ligament damage in a preseason game last week. The fifth pick in the 2014 draft already missed the 2015/16 season with a torn ACL. Exum has a Monday deadline to work out an extension with Utah or he will become a restricted free agent next summer.
  • Also facing a Monday extension deadline is Rodney Hood, who anticipates a larger role in the Jazz offense this season, relays Jody Gennessy of The Deseret News. The fourth-year shooting guard believes Utah, which went unbeaten in the preseason, will be able to replace the contributions of free agent losses Gordon Hayward and George Hill. “It won’t necessarily be easy, but it will be easier than people think because we’ve got guys who can pass the ball and play without the ball,” Hood said.
  • The Trail Blazers won’t work out an extension with center Jusuf Nurkic before Monday, but that doesn’t mean his future won’t be in Portland, according to Mike Richman of The Oregonian. The Blazers traded for Nurkic in February, and the organization would prefer to watch him for a full season before committing to a long-term contract. Nurkic helped propel the team into the playoffs after being acquired from Denver and makes no secret of his affection for Portland. “I love this team,” Nurkic said Friday. “I love this city. I love these teammates. I enjoy it here.”

Jazz Waive Naz Mitrou-Long

The Jazz continue to inch toward the regular season roster limit, announcing today in a press release that they’ve waived another camp invitee, Naz Mitrou-Long. Mitrou-Long signed with Utah as an undrafted rookie out of Iowa State, and appears likely to play for the Salt Lake City Stars in the G League.

Following the release of Mitrou-Long, the Jazz are now carrying 18 players. Two of those players are on two-way contracts, so the club needs to make just one more cut – or trade – to get its NBA roster down to the 15-man limit. However, it’s not clear which player will be on the chopping block.

The Jazz have 15 players on guaranteed salaries, but Raul Neto and his non-guaranteed contract should start the regular season with the club. That means parting ways with a player on a guaranteed deal — a Friday report indicated that Utah’s decision figures to come down to Joel Bolomboy vs. Royce O’Neale.

The Jazz may not make a final decision on Bolomboy and O’Neale until Monday. Since both players have fully guaranteed contracts, there’s no rush to waive either of them today. Mitrou-Long’s non-guaranteed salary, on the other hand, would have started to count against Utah’s cap if he had remained under contract beyond today.

Jazz Sign, Waive Kendall Pollard

OCTOBER 14: Less than 24 hours after signing him, the Jazz have waived Pollard, the team announced in a press release. Utah is now in position to make Pollard an affiliate player for the Salt Lake City Stars, the club’s G League squad.

OCTOBER 13: The Jazz have signed forward Kendall Pollard, Matt Sanchez of the team’s official site writes. The 22-year-old Dayton product went undrafted in the 2017 NBA Draft.

The signing brings Utah’s roster count up to 20 players, 15 of whom are already on guaranteed contracts. The franchise likely signed the free agent with the intention of waiving him to make him an affiliate player for their G League squad.

Joel Bolomboy, Royce O’Neale Compete For Last Jazz Slot

The final roster spot on the Jazz will come down to Joel Bolomboy and Royce O’Neale, Tony Jones of the Salt Lake Tribune tweets. Bolomboy was a second-round pick of the club’s in 2016 and O’Neale signed on with the franchise as a free agent in July.

Notably, both players have guaranteed deals, the latter having impressed the club enough to land a three-year deal with a guaranteed first year despite having played internationally since going undrafted in 2015.

Bolomboy was a mainstay on Utah’s G League affiliate last season and performed admirably at that level. He never did secure a sizable role on the Jazz amid their impressive 2016/17 campaign, however.

Jones specifies in his tweet that a decision between the two players has not been made. The transitioning club, fresh off of a busy offseason that saw them lose a pair of significant free agents, could use either Bolomboy or O’Neale as a depth piece this season.

At first glance, the club’s stable of solid, veteran swingmen appears more established than their frontcourt, a potential impediment to O’Neale.

Regardless, the team would likely bring either into the fold with their G League affiliate when they officially determine who to waive.

Jazz Waive Torian Graham

Three days after signing him, the Jazz have waived guard Torian Graham, the team announced today in a press release. He’ll become an unrestricted free agent on Saturday if and when he clears waivers.

Graham, a 6’4″ shooting guard, spent last season at Arizona State. In 33 games, he averaged 18.6 PPG with 4.2 RPG, and was the team’s biggest outside shooting threat — he made three-point shots at a 38.7% rate, pouring in 3.3 per game.

Graham’s brief stay on Utah’s NBA roster will allow the Jazz to make him an affiliate player for the Salt Lake City Stars, their G League team. Assuming Graham doesn’t sign with another NBA club, he figures to open the G League season in Salt Lake City.

Utah’s roster count is now at 19 players, including a pair on two-way contracts. The Jazz will need to make two more roster cuts before the regular season begins.

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