SALT LAKE CITY — Despite what was perceived to be a very successful draft night, there was a small uproar among some Utah Jazz fans after what the organization did on Thursday.
To sum it up:
Jazz fans were ecstatic when Australian standout guard Dante Exum and Duke forward Rodney Hood both slipped to them in the first round.
Jazz fans were perplexed when the team drafted Tennessee big man Jarnell Stokes and then traded him to Memphis in the second round.
The common thought was that Utah should have received more in return for the 35th pick in this loaded draft than the Grizzlies’ second-round offering in 2016.
Turns out, the Jazz will receive a second-rounder from Memphis in two years, but that selection will not be the Grizzlies’ pick, which is owed to Dallas from a different trade.
Boston and Toronto will both defer their second-round spots to Memphis in 2016 from different deals. The Jazz will get the better of those picks from the Grizzlies as a result of trading Stokes.
Although there were some good options available at 35, Jazz management didn’t want to bring three rookies into camp this season, considering how youthful the team will be.
Utah’s front office had considered drafting an international player to stash away for a couple of years (a la Ante Tomic and Raul Neto), but that can get complicated. Some players the Jazz were interested in preferred trying to play in the NBA right away, while Utah just wasn’t intrigued enough to use a pick on others. So the team punted until 2016.
NO NETO: Speaking of Neto, the Brazilian point guard will return home to his native land to participate with his national team in the next couple of weeks. That will prevent him from participating in the Las Vegas Summer League with the Jazz next month.
The Jazz, team sources say, are still high on Neto, whom the organization traded for after Atlanta drafted him 47th overall in 2013. Coincidentally, Jazz coach Quin Snyder, then a Hawks assistant, was among those to be impressed by the 6-foot-2 point guard last year.
Utah hasn’t made an official decision about Neto for the 2014-15 season, but it’s most likely he’ll return to play for his Spanish team, Lagun Aro GBC. Despite the addition of Exum and last year's acquisition of point guard Trey Burke, the Jazz still have future plans for Neto.
Jazz center Rudy Gobert posted an Instagram photo of him and Neto on a hike in the Wasatch Front mountains. Neto spent a couple of weeks in Utah before leaving for Brazil.
Also, the Jazz haven't decided whether to buy out the contract of Tomic to allow the 7-foot-2 center to finally begin his NBA career in Utah or be used as part of a trade, although that remains a possibility. The 27-year-old Croatian, who plays for FC Barcelona, was picked 44th overall by the Jazz in 2008.
FLYING HIGH: The Jazz chartered a plane to bring Exum and Hood from the NBA draft in New York to Utah for their introductory press conference on Friday.
“It’s (my) first time being in a private jet,” the 18-year-old Exum admitted. “You kind of realize that this is the big times now.”
Exum is traveling to North Carolina with his family this week to visit relatives, while Hood is headed back home to Mississippi for a few days. Both rookies will return in time to begin training for the Summer League.
FREE-AGENCY FRENZY: The Jazz and other NBA teams can begin negotiating with free agents Monday at 10 p.m. MDT (July 1 Eastern time). Utah has four players from last year’s roster who will be on the market: restricted free agent Gordon Hayward and unrestricted free agents Marvin Williams, Richard Jefferson and Brandon Rush.
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