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Utah Jazz waive Ian Clark, sign Jack Cooley, Chris Johnson to multi-year deals

Jazz have now made 90 individual moves since July 1st, 2014 -- with draft night still to come!

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

To be frank, the Utah Jazz keep making small moves, and have been doing so all season long. If you could be critical of the front office during the John Stockton and Karl Malone days you could say that they sat on their hands quite a bit. Sure, they had some great teams, but they didn't do a lot once they had their star players. The current GM Dennis Lindsey may have some young stars on his team now, but he's not one to stop working. As a result, the "Sic parvis magna" motto has kept everyone who reports on the team pretty busy as well. The grant total so far this season now sits at 90 players drafted, traded for and away, free agents signed, waived, or cleared waivers, and assigned and recalled from the NBADL. Injuries had a part to play in the revolving door of 10 Day contracts this season, but Lindsey and crew have used that crisis as an opportunity. After all, there would be no Minisap on the team if everyone was healthy all season long.

ANYWAY, the team made three more big-ish moves. They waived former Belmont star and Las Vegas Summer League hero Ian Clark. Clark went undrafted as a rookie last season, and was being used by the Jazz as a garbage time player at shooting guard while trying to see if he could successfully transition to a combo guard role capable of backing up point guards. The fact that the team needed wing depth but kept signing and playing NBADL call ups over him, under contract, tells you that the brain trust wasn't sold on Clark. I love the dude, but I trust in their ability to actually evaluate talent. He would have been a free agent this off-season, and unable to be used in any potential draft day trades.

The second move was that the Jazz bigman experiment with Jack Cooley will continue for a little while longer. Cooley was in Utah for two predraft workouts in 2013, was part of a free agent minicamp in the summer of 2014, got a training camp invite in the fall, but did not initially make the team. He was signed by the Idaho Stampede (now owned by the Jazz), and was called up for a 10 day stint. He represents the first ever call up by the Jazz from the team they were affliates with. After his 10 days were up he was replaced by Jerrelle Benimon. Cooley was then signed for a second 10 days after Benimonster's time was up. Now Cooley's 2nd 10 day contract expired and he was signed for the rest of the season, and beyond in a non-guaranteed multi-year deal.

The third thing the Jazz just did was bring back wing player Christapher Johnson (Chris Johnson). You may remember him from his time with the team AFTER Elliot Williams ' 2nd 10 day contract expired. Johnson only got the one 10 day, then the Jazz made the Kanter/Novak for Perkins/crap trade. Chris is now back with the team for the rest of the season, and beyond in another non-guaranteed multi-year deal.

What's with the non-guaranteed mulit-year deals? It's simple. The Jazz have used them before on guys like Jerel McNeal, Erik Murphy (Murphy Prime), Diante Garrett, and so forth. These contracts are assets. If the Jazz don't like them, they can shed them in the off-season before the season starts and not have to pay them. If they want to use the assets they can be used in trades. Lindsey and company did exactly that last season -- Murphy's contract was part of the deal that brought Carrick Felix to the Jazz. Garrett's contract was part of the deal that brought Steve Novak to the Jazz. Sure, neither of them worked out -- but they were assets that were cashed in.

Ian Clark, heading into possible UFA liberty cannot be used as such. Is Ian Clark better than Chris Johnson? No one will ever know. Can one of them be used an an asset still, for the Jazz? Yes. It's Chris. So can Cooley.

That's what these moves are. Small almost nothing moves that will or will not be part of larger deals in the future. Novak (and Kanter) got the Jazz picks and TIbor. And Novak was had from one of these types of deals. Sic parvis magna.

So what does the team look like now?

Player Primary Secondary Tertiary Agency
1 Dante Exum 1 2 Rob Pelinka Landmark Sports
2 Alec Burks 2 1 Andy Miller ASM Sports
3 Gordon Hayward 3 2 Mark Bartelstein Brad Ames Priority Sports
4 Derrick Favors 4 5 Wallace Prather WP Sports
5 Rudy Gobert 5 Bouna Ndiaye Comsport
6 Trey Burke 1 Austin Brown Benji Burke Leon Rose Creative Artists Agency
7 Joe Ingles 2 3 Brad Ames Priority Sports
8 Rodney Hood 3 2 Happy Walters Travis King Chris Patrick Relativity Sports
9 Trevor Booker (NG) 4 Andy Miller ASM Sports
10 Jack Cooley 4 5 Ben Pensack Pensack Sports
11 Bryce Cotton 1 Harold Woolfalk Passing Lane
12 Elijah Millsap 2 3 Daniel Hazan HSM Group
13 Christapher Johnson 2 3 Marc Cornstein Ian Rubel Pinnacle Management
14 Jeremy Evans (UFA) 4 Mark Bartelstein Priority Sports
15 Grant Jerrett 4 Brian Dyke Shibumi Sports

As you can see, Booker has a a special contract where most of it is non-guaranteed for next season. Evans will be an unrestricted free agent. And Jerrett has a contract that is similar to that of Cotton, Millsap, Johnson, and Cooley. They all can be easily shed. Ingles has a similar contract, but it's likely that the Jazz actually show him some money this off-season. But I'd rather keep Millsap instead if we can keep only one. But for the most part most of these guys are coming back next season. The team also has the rights to some players outside of the USA.

Player Primary Secondary Tertiary Agency
1 Raul Neto 1 Dan Fegan Aylton Tesch Relativity Sports
2 Ante Tomic 5 4 Marc Cornstein Ian Rubel Pinnacle Management
3 Tibor Pleiss 5 Bill Duffy Rade Filipovich Enrique Villalobos BDA Sports

Yeah, it will be interesting to see if any of them come over next season. But you'd think that I'd be tired of all the roster moves this season. Here are some of the guys who were cast away during the season:

Player Primary Secondary Tertiary Agency
1 Carrick Felix 2 3 Todd Eley Nick Lotsos Stratosphere Sports
2 Jordan Hamilton 3 2 Ty Sullivan Aaron Mintz Creative Artists Agency
3 Toure' Murry 2 1 Bernie Lee Lee Basketball Services
4 Enes Kanter 4 5 Max Ergul --
5 Steve Novak 4 3 Mark Bartelstein Brad Ames Priority Sports
6 Kendrick Perkins 5 Arn Tellen Lee Melchioni Wasserman Media Group
7 Ian Clark 2 1 David Mondress BDA Sports

And here are some of the guys who did not make it past the 10 day contract stage:

Player Primary Secondary Tertiary Agency
1 Patrick Christopher 3 2 Sam Goldfeder Excel Sports Management
2 Elliot Williams 2 3 Thad Foucher Arn Tellem Wasserman Media Group
3 Jerrelle Benimon 4 5 Mike Kneisley The Neustadt Group

And of course, here are the guys who were used as Training Camp Fodder (Cooley excused from here):

Player Primary Secondary Tertiary Agency
1 Dee Bost 1 Max Ergul John Spencer --
2 Tre Bussey 1 Danny Servick ProOneSports Agency
3 Dahntay Jones 2 3 Mark Bartelstein Priority Sports
4 Kevin Murphy 3 2 Ty Sullivan Creative Artists Agency
5 Brock Motum 4 Sammy Wloszczowski Michael Lelchitski SIG Sports

All in all, that's 33 different Jazz players / assets this season, not including the horde of picks the team has in the future. I've included the agents / agencies here because this is something that obviously matters. It's how we knew that Burks would be coming back, and that Booker had more security than Kanter. So if you sort by agency what do you get for the 2014-2015 Utah Jazz?

Agency # Players
1 Priority Sports 5 G.Hayward J.Evans J.Ingles S.Novak D.Jones
2 Creative Artists Agency 3 T.Burke K.Murphy J.Hamilton
3 ASM Sports 2 A.Burks T.Booker
4 Relativity Sports 2 R.Hood R.Neto
5 Wasserman Media Group 2 K.Perkins E.Williams
6 Pinnacle Management 2 A.Tomic C.Johnson
7 BDA Sports 2 I.Clark T.Pleiss
8 WP Sports 1 D.Favors
9 Comsport 1 R.Gobert
10 Landmark Sports 1 D.Exum
11 HSM Group 1 E.Millsap
12 Pensack Sports 1 J.Cooley
13 Shibumi Sports 1 G.Jerrett
14 Passing Lane 1 B.Cotton
15 The Neustadt Group 1 J.Benimon
16 Stratosphere Sports 1 C.Felix
17 SIG Sports 1 B.Motum
18 Excel Sports Management 1 P.Christopher
19 ProOneSports Agency 1 T.Bussey
20 Lee Basketball Services 1 T.Murry
21 Mark Ergul (Independent) 2 E.Kanter D.Bost

This isn't sorted by power, but you get a good picture of which groups are more important than others. Are there connection that matter? Well, if you are repped by Ergul don't expect a call back. Beyond that the major power brokers for most teams are the same here. Priority Sports (Mark Bartelstein, Brad Ames, etc) hold a lot of sway. They represent our best player. ASM seems to be doing well because they got two contracts from the Jazz last summer/fall.

One connection that I am happy about is with Relativity Sports, who hold sway over both Hood and Neto. The other one that piques my interest is Pinnacle Management. The Jazz just got in their good books a little bit more by signing their guy Johnson for the rest of this season and beyond. They also represent Tomic. If you add Neto and Tomic to this team and bring back a healthy Burks you have a powerful team. Making these minor power groups happy is smart thinking by the Jazz.

An agency that is a pretty big deal that the Jazz aren't killing it with is Landmark Sports. Former Michigan Wolverine Rob Pelinka isn't getting his client in a lot of TV ads anymore, and while he represents a lot of players, there is only one guy on the Jazz. Maybe in the next few seasons we'll see some more?

Time will tell.

And while the time for this season is almost over, the Jazz continue to make smart moves to gather assets for the sake of using them. These moves don't wow anyone, and personally for me I was always rooting for Ian Clark. I'll miss him. But from what we've seen this team do with small pieces, over time if you are smart they can build up into franchise cornerstones.

No one was crying about Luis Flores when years later the Jazz used the pieces they got for him on moving up to draft Deron Williams. Years from now we may not even remember Ian Clark.

Rudy Gobert Ian Clark Moose Squirrel

Who am I kidding, I always will.

I wish you nothing but the best of luck man. I hope you stick on here in America so I can still watch you without having to be up really early, and catching a shady internet feed. It sucks to see the Jazz getting rid of Gobert's Jeremy Evans. But we will survive. And we fans need to survive, because this June is going to do nothing buy bring smiles to our collective faces! Big things are coming, and they all start with very small beginnings.