Top 5 free agent signings in Jazz history|
The Jazz are not known as a destination for free agents, so it is no surprise that they lack quality free agent signings. During their early years in New Orleans nobody wanted to go there because the Jazz were terrible. Once the team moved to Salt Lake City, nobody wanted to sign because Utah does not have a good nightlife compared to the rest of the country. Add to that, for the majority of their history they have had their stars locked in long term, really limiting their ability to sign free agents.
So who are the Jazz top free agent signings? To qualify for this list the player had to be a free agent who signed with the Jazz, and played with an NBA team the season before. So that eliminates guys like Wes Matthews and Joe Ingles. It cannot have been a trade acquisition either, for obvious reasons. Waiver claims are also eliminated because the player didn't willingly choose to sign with the Jazz, thus eliminating someone like Rickey Green.
Honorable mentions: Joe Johnson (2016), Matt Harpring (2002), Chris Morris (1995)
So here are the Jazz top 5 free agent signings in team history.
5. Antoine Carr 1994
The Jazz picked up the big dog in the summer of 1994 to fill the role to back up Karl Malone. Carr had been a quality player for the Spurs before an injury derailed him the season before signing with the Jazz. He averaged 20 ppg in 1991 with the Kings.
He wasn't a sexy pickup but became one of the greatest Jazz sixth men in team history, during the teams glory days to boot. Carr played 306 games with the Jazz between 1994 and 1998, a period that seen the team reach 3 straight western conference finals and 2 NBA finals. Carr did not score a lot, only averaging 7.5 ppg in his 4 years in Utah, but what he did was help take the team to the next level. They finally had a quality backup for Malone, which allowed them to cut his playing time and preserve him for the playoffs
4. Gail Goodrich 1976.
Goodrich was a star with the Lakers, he appeared in 5 all-star games with the Lakers and was a key part to their 1972 NBA championship. So when the Jazz got him there was reason to celebrate. The Jazz were looking to pair Goodrich with Pete Maravich to form one of the most dynamic backcourts in the NBA.
He is without a doubt the most high profile signing in Jazz history. He is the only hall-of-fame player to have ever signed with the Jazz and one of only a handful of former all-stars to sign with the team.
Goodrich was solid for the Jazz, but not great. averaging 14 points and 4 assists in 182 career games. He, Maravich and Truck Robinson combined to lead the Jazz to a then team record 39 wins in 1978 and nearly made the postseason. Injuries and age derailed his time with the Jazz and when the team announced it was moving to Utah he called the NBA quits.
The signing of Goodrich cost the Jazz though, and it cost them dearly. The NBA use to have a policy where a team would be forced to give up compensation to the players previous team for signing a veteran free agent. The Lakers wanted a first-round pick and the Jazz decided to give them their 1979 first-round pick. Following the success of the 78 season it seemed like a good idea, unfortunately, the 1979 season was a disaster and the Jazz finished with the worst record in the NBA. The Jazz were forced to give the Lakers the #1 overall pick in the 1979, the Lakers used that pick on Magic Johnson.
3. Bojan Bogdanovic 2019
It may be soon to add Bogey to this list, but his impact has been undeniable. The Jazz have needed another scorer and Bogey gives them just that. He is average over 20 points a game and takes pressure off of Mitchell.
No Jazz free-agent signing has had has many 30 point games their first season with the Jazz as Bogey and they got him for a relative bargain as well.
Time shall tell if he goes higher on this list. The website OnlineCasinoSnoop.com suggests that Bogdanovic will likely become the top Jazz free agent signing in 3-4 seasons.
2. Mehmet Okur 2004
Memo was a key part to the Pistons 2004 title run, and the Pistons wanted to re-sign him but just could not afford it. The Jazz came into the offseason with a lot of money and added the Turkish Center.
Memo did not wow immediately, he struggled a bit his first season. He averaged under 13 points and 7 rebounds a game coming off the bench. The Jazz had envisioned him as their starting center but he started only 25 of the 82 games losing the starting job to Jarron Collins. The Jazz sucked that year too only winning 26 games.
The next year Memo turned into the Money Man as he became one of the clutchest players in Jazz history. Memo would also average a career high 18 points and 9 rebounds that season. The 2007 season seen the Jazz return to winning as the team made the WCF. Memo also made his only all-star game that season, as he became the first Jazz free agent signing to eventually make the all-star game. He is also the only Jazz player to be selected as an injury replacement to the all-star game.
Okur would be a key part to the late 2000s Jazz and became one of the favorite players of many fans. His cool demeanor and clutchness endured him to fans.
1. Carlos Boozer 2004
Probably the most controversial signing in Jazz history, not just for signing but for what happened after. The Jazz had a ton of cap in 2004, and they used it on Okur and Boozer, both of whom were restricted free agents. The Pistons knew Okur was going to leave so it did not become an issue, but with Boozer the Cavs felt like they had an understanding that Boozer would re-sign. Apparently, the Cavs only agreed to not pick up his option because they thought Boozer would re-sign, and he did agree to re-sign with the Cavs. Hours later Boozer signed with the Jazz.
The issues do not stop there. Boozer got hurt early in his first season, and an abysmal season for the Jazz, and according to internet rumors told some dude in a Best Buy parking that he was getting traded to the Lakers. Boozer missed a year due to various injuries.
The Boozer the Jazz signed finally came to fruition in the 2007 season. Boozer 21-points and 12-rebounds and was named to the all-star team. Boozer would have been the first Jazz free agent signing to make an all-star game, but an injury cost him the ability to play in that game and so that honor fell to his teammate Mehmet Okur.
The Boozer-Jazz fan dynamic never really healed from the early days. Jazz fans loved Boozer as long as they were winning and winning they did during most of Boozers tenure with the Jazz. His tenure was surrounded by controversy and rumors. Every so often a report of Boozer getting traded for pennies on the dollar would come out and piss Jazz fans off. Oddly enough, the Jazz would eventually trade Boozer after he agreed to sign with the Chicago Bulls. The Jazz did a sign-and-trade and got a trade exception they used to acquire Al Jefferson.
Controversy aside, Boozer is the best free agent the Jazz have ever signed. In 354 games he averaged 19 points and 11 rebounds. During his prime, he was a 20/10 machine. He is also the last Jazz player to get a triple-double, which he did in Seattle in 2008.