Another season ending injury threatens Dante Exum's career
With a hard thud in Fridays win over the Phoenix Suns, the Utah Jazz hard season got even harder. Just a few minutes into the second quarter Jazz guard Dante Exum's night had ended before it even started, and now it looks like for the second time in four seasons Exum's season with the Jazz will end before it started.
Exum was diagnosed with a separated shoulder with ligament damage. The news comes at a time when the Jazz were just starting to get their hopes high on the former #5 pick who missed all of the 2015-16 season with a torn ACL. It also comes at a bad time for Exum who will be a free agent at the end of the year and this is an injury that could cost him millions.
The Jazz have had a rough time of things lately after losing star forward Gordon Hayward to Boston, and the team was hoping that Exum could rise to his #5 pick status this season. The Jazz and Exum had also been in negotiations about a contract extension. Rumors where that the contract extension would have started around 11 million next year for Exum, but with his injury it is unknown if the Jazz will continue to negotiate with Exum. Despite the injury, sportsbook lines for Utah Jazz games did not move much in recent days.
Utah has always been know as an organization that takes care of its players, so there is a good expectation that they will continue to negotiate with Exum to see if they can still sign him to something more long time.
Even with Exum's injury history, it is undeniable that he is a talent and his long athletic body is an asset to have for a team like Utah which will desperately need scoring this season.
If the Jazz and Exum do not work something out, there is also the possibility that the Jazz could trade Exum, even though he is injured, to a team that is trying to acquire assets for a rebuild. The Jazz would likely get pennies on the dollar for Exum, but there is little chance the Jazz are able to retain Exum in free agency. Exum would be a restricted free agent, but Utah has lost it's own top free agent target in every off-season dating back to 1997 and with Exum, Favors and possibly Rodney Hood all being free agents the Jazz do not have the money to re-sign Exum should he hit free agency.
Any way you slice this, this is a terrible event for all those involved and a lose-lose situation. Hopefully Exum can recover before the season ends and salvage what looked to be a promising season for a young player.