According to Dennis Lindsey, executive vice president of Jazz, sixth man Jordan Clarkson had some “options for the big market, the glamor market” when the free agency opened on the afternoon of Nov. 20.
According to Clarkson himself, the only offer that mattered was that of the Utah front office.
“I absolutely didn’t want to leave these guys – it’s crazy how quickly I connected with these guys and this group,” Clarkson told the media in a Zoom appeal Wednesday afternoon. “It’s been great for me and I just didn’t want to lose it.”
Lindsey praised Clarkson and his agent “for working with us” on the parameters of the deal – a reported four years and $ 52 million – that saved the man who saved Utah’s struggling second unit a season ago after a pre-Christmas trade, in the US. will stay near.
However, according to Clarkson, there wasn’t much to the negotiation, which is why a deal came within an hour and a half after the window was opened.
“They wanted me to be here and I wanted to be here too,” he said. “That’s probably why it happened so quickly.”
The Missouri product cited his relationship with teammates and coach Quin Snyder, and the people of Salt Lake City who embraced him as reasons for returning. Knowing that everyone ‘has the same goal: to win and grow together’ gave him some ‘peace of mind’.
Royce O’Neale, on the other hand, hasn’t found much of that in the wake of the Jazz’s post-season loss against the Denver Nuggets.
Despite playing the entire series without injured forward Bojan Bogdanovic, and the first two games without point guard Mike Conley, Utah built a 3-1 lead against Denver, but lost the next three games and the best-of-seven series. The Nuggets eventually made it to the conference finale, while the Jazz dealt with the fallout from another premature shutdown.
The sting of what could have lingered during the shortened low season and fueled his work.
“To be honest, I’m still not over it. I still think about it every day. I thought about it with every workout I had out of season. I still watch the last game all the time, ”O’Neale told the media in his own Zoom interview after Clarkson’s. “We don’t want that feeling to happen again.”
To that end, he’s worked to become a more consistent outside shooter, hone his playing skills, and take ownership of the team’s defensive performance alongside All-NBA center Rudy Gobert.
Clarkson said he’s been eager to learn how to break down his shot division and was looking to become more efficient at taking layups or 3s; he’s getting better at finding teammates to get out of isolation sets; and, like just about everyone at the Jazz, added that he finds ways to improve defensively.
Both players meanwhile said that the close-knit vibe of the Jazz will be an underestimated asset next season.
They both admitted that Bogdanovic was missed in the postseason. They both praised Favors’ signing and its impact not only on the court, but in the locker room as well. Clarkson said it was imperative for teammates to hold each other accountable. But again, given that aforementioned band, that shouldn’t be too much of a challenge.
This group has an unspeakable chemistry – as evidenced by O’Neale’s response to BFF Donovan Mitchell’s recent contract extension.
“I’m not paying for any more dinners!” O’Neale said. “After next year he has all the dinners!”
The hope, of course, is that such camaraderie translates into more victories.
Clarkson, who said winning was important to him in determining his predicament, is confident it’s going to happen.
“With this team at full strength,” he concluded, “I think we can really make some noise.”