Utah Jazz welcome back its own free agents
SALT LAKE CITY – It seems the saying “The strength of our team is the team” resonated so much last year, the Utah Jazz opted to essentially bring the same group back for next season.
The team held a press conference Friday to officially announce the signings of its returning free agents in Derrick Favors, Dante Exum, and Raul Neto.
“Chemistry is a hard thing to predict,” Utah Jazz General Manager Dennis Lindsey said. “You can get five great people together and it just not click for whatever reason so we didn’t want to overthink that and certainly continuity.”
And for those who were hoping to see the Jazz shake it up? Lindsey says the organization saw a benefit to running it back.
“Look, I get it, it’s not probably the most sexy PR thing to come back with the same group, especially when we had some flexibility, but we had to understand the associated upside with the continuity.”
Utah Jazz beat writer for the Deseret News, Eric Woodyard, reported when Lindsey met with Dante Exum on July 1, one of the Jazz guard’s main concerns was whether or not Favors would be back.
The next day the Jazz locked up Favors to a two year, $36 million.
“It means a lot,” said Favors, Utah’s longest-tenured player. “They stuck by me through the ups and downs, they believed in me.”
Earlier Friday the Jazz’s power forward took to the team’s website in a Player’s Tribune format to tell why he was staying in Utah.
“I love Atlanta. It’s my home. Atlanta—my mother, my family, my friends, the city—shaped me in so many ways.
But Utah is my home, too.”
Derrick on why he’s staying in Utah.
— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) July 6, 2018
“I love Atlanta. It’s my home. Atlanta-my mother, my family, my friends, the city-shaped me in many ways,” wrote Favors. “But Utah is my home, too.”
Exum agreed to come back to the Jazz on a 3 year, $33 million deal. He also expressed optimism with the group returning. He only played 14 games last season after shoulder surgery and so Exum talked about watching the team gel from the sideline.
“Going through last year, being out and kind of being behind, watching what the team was able to do when we were clicking and everyone felt it,” Exum said. “It was coming to the facility and it wasn’t one guy you weren’t looking forward to seeing and go at and battle for or get better for so I’m glad Quin (Snyder) and Dennis (Lindsey) realized that.”
The Jazz also signed Raul Neto to a 2 year, $4.4 million deal. The point guard from Brazil, was in and out of the lineup due to injuries but he also sees value in the squad returning the same players.
“We’ve got a great group of guys and on the court, off the court, we’re all friends,” Neto said. “We have a great locker room.”
So it seems Jazz fans who loved last season’s team will get another opportunity to cheer for the same group.
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