12/16/2011 - 16:22
The Show Heads to Utah
After weighing all his options, Josh Howard is headed to Utah to play for the Jazz.
Josh signed a one-year contract on Friday to play the 2011-2012 season in Utah where he will join former Dallas teammate Devin Harris on the Jazz. He told SI.com's Zach Lowe that the excitement in Energy Solutions Arena when he's played there in the past played a role in his decision.
Josh Howard always enjoyed playing in front of the passionate fans in Utah as a rival and hopes they embrace him as a member of the Jazz (Getty Images)
"It was really looking back at my years playing in the NBA and coming to Utah, and seeing that home-court advantage they had, as far as the fans coming out and supporting them nonstop," he said. "And I know guys here will play hard 24-7."
Josh said the Jazz contacted him a few days after free agency began and his choice came down to Utah or San Antonio, two perennial playoff contenders. But The Show saw a better fit in Utah.
"It was ultimately about Utah and the right fit. San Antonio is a great organization and had me come in for a workout as well," Josh told SI. "I didn't really know what to expect. [from Utah]. I was excited for another team to want me and for them to stay in the hunt this long made me feel better. I just had to weigh my options."
Utah GM Kevin O'Connor visited Josh in Winston-Salem and watched him workout this week. After seeing that The Show had fully recovered from his knee injury, O'Connor was convinced he'd be a solid fit with the Jazz as well.
"I think we've added a good player. We're excited to have him," O'Connor told the Deseret News. "I watched him workout the knee and from all indications, from a layman's point of view, his knee's stable and strong."
For a young team like Utah, O'Connor believes having veterans like Josh is crucial. Bringing in a player with the experience of playing for a championship and excelling in that setting, was paramount to the team's development, as he told the Salt Lake Tribune:
"The risk is limited and the potential for reward is enormous," O'Connor said. "He rebounds his position just about as well as any small forward for rebounds-per-minute. He's played on teams that have won and won consistently and been to the Finals and averaged double-figures in the Finals."
Harris, who played with Josh on the Mavs during those Finals in 2006 is elated to be reunited with his former teammate.
"He's a good teammate and he loves what he does," Harris told the Standard-Examiner. "It's exciting, we've been close friends for a while, since the Dallas days. I think he's a guy that can really help this team and I'm excited to have one of my close friends back on the team."
The Jazz have a lot of depth all over the floor so Josh said he has no expectations of playing time. He realizes that nothing will be given to him and he will have to earn every opportunity he receives. He told SI that he is ready to make the most of this one.
"Ultimately, my goal is just to earn playing time, and to play my game the way I always have — intense, hard-nosed defense and scoring when I can. I'm going to push those guys like I know they are going to push me. How the coaches use us, we're just going to have to roll with it."
- Q&A with Jazz forward Josh Howard (SI.com, December 16, 2011)
- Jazz ready to give Josh Howard a second chance (Standard-Examiner, December 16, 2011)
- Josh Howard headed to Utah (The Washington Post, December 15, 2011)
- Utah Jazz sign Howard to one-year deal (Deseret News, December 15, 2011)
- Kevin O'Connor discusses risk vs. reward in Josh Howard (Salt Lake Tribune, December 15, 2011)
- Jazz hope free agent Josh Howard can rebound in Utah (Salt Lake Tribune, December 15, 2011)
- Josh Howard, Jazz agree to deal (ESPN.com, December 15, 2011)
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