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Kyle Lowry the Jazzman?

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Plus Royce O’Neale’s inspiring story

Toronto Star via Getty Images

I know this story has made the rounds a time or two, but I don’t recall it ever getting a focal point of a downbeat. A few media outlets, including nbcsports, reported that the Jazz were confident in their likelihood of landing Kyle Lowry 2 summers ago:

Entering 2017 free agency, rumors swirled Kyle Lowry would leave the Raptors. He ultimately re-signed with Toronto, but maybe that was only due to the timing of Gordon Hayward‘s decision to leave the Jazz for the Celtics.

He goes on to quote some and other sources, including Andy Larsen at the Tribune, that illustrated how confident the Jazz felt in landing Lowry heading into that summer. I know that this is beating a dead horse and all, but can you imagine a talent like Kyle Lowry on this team right now!?

Check out this awesome Jazz mural from @trencall that was posted this week!

Pretty impressive work! I wish I knew where this actually was. Can someone help a guy out?

We’ve got some interesting some interesting thoughts/ideas from BellFrazierRookies consider the Utah Jazz starting lineup:

Jazz need to start Crowder in Place of Ingles. Start Thebalosha/Niang at power forward...

Thoughts?

CBS Sports put together a really inspiring story about Royce O’Neale and his path to the NBA this week. I’d really recommend reading the entire thing, but I’ll throw in some important quotes here. I know it’s quite a bit to read, but I just couldn’t find a way to leave much out:

Deborah Kingwood was sitting on the sidelines of the Utah Jazz practice facility the other day with a big smile on her face. As she spoke about the past several years of her son’s life, you could see the tears starting to well up in the corners of her eyes. She was contemplating just how well things had worked out for her son, Royce O’Neale...

“I asked him when he was a kid, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’” Kingwood recalled as her son was finishing up practice. “He said, ‘I want to play in the NBA.’ I said, ‘OK, if that plan doesn’t work out, what do you want to be?’ He stared at me and said, ‘I’m going to be in the NBA.’”

”Then, leading up to the draft, a lot of agents were giving us feedback, saying, ‘You’re going to have a great career overseas,’” she continued. “Nobody was talking about what he could do in the NBA. And Royce said, ‘If that’s the route I have to take, I’ll take that route -- but I’m going to play in the NBA.’ People told him, ‘Oh, you’ll do well overseas.’ I told Royce, ‘Don’t ever let someone tell you what you can and can’t do.’” ...

Now is where the proud mama’s tears start to come in. After O’Neale went undrafted, he played in summer league, didn’t get any offers from NBA teams and signed with MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg, near Stuttgart and in Germany’s top-tier league, for about $85,000. The next summer, he played in summer league, didn’t get any offers, and signed with Herbalife Gran Canaria, a team in the Canary Islands in the top Spanish league. The next summer -- the summer of 2017, when O’Neale was 24 and his NBA clock was ticking -- he played in summer league. The day after summer league, Jazz head coach Quin Snyder called. Snyder offered his congratulations. O’Neale was invited to the Jazz; they were signing him to a deal. He called his mother.

”I got some good news and I got some bad news -- what do you want to hear first?” O’Neale told his mother. She smiled as she remembered the phone call: “And I said, ‘Give me the bad news first.’ And he said, ‘The bad news is you won’t get a chance to visit Lithuania.’ I said, ‘What?’ He said, ‘Mama, we made it.’ I started crying.”

Aaron Falk continues his great work for the Jazz, this time putting together a nice piece on Jae Crowder and how he feels at home here in Utah.

Corey Crowder sees a difference in his son’s game.

With half a season, a summer and a full training camp with the Jazz now under his belt, Jae Crowder looks at home.

“He’s playing with a lot more confidence,” Corey Crowder said. “I think his energy level is higher and he’s taken on more of a leadership role. He had to figure out what his place was, what is his role on the team.

“I ask him, ‘Why are you always so angry on the court?’ He said, ‘Dad, I think you used to play like that too.’”

Jae Crowder’s passion for the game is all the way back.

“I’m naturally fired up,” he said at a shootaround in Memphis. “I’m naturally excited to play each and every time I lace the shoes up.”

Crowder has been huge for the Jazz this year. I’m glad he’s found a home and a fanbase that can appreciate him. I encourage reading the rest of that story and the nuggets about his dad Corey, who also played for the Jazz.