Utah Jazz general manager Kevin O’Connor watched Josh Howard work out in North Carolina this week. It was enough to convince him the small forward could help in the condensed season.
Howard agreed to a deal with the Jazz on Thursday, pending a physical. O’Connor said he expects Howard to be in uniform Saturday night when the Jazz have an intrasquad scrimmage.
“The first thing he brings is an ability to play in the NBA,” O’Connor said Thursday night. “He’s a guy that at the 3 spot has rebounded the ball exceptionally well. And he’s played on a winning team and in an NBA championship series.”
Utah’s GM Kevin O’Connor added
O’Connor said he relied on Harris’ input on Howard and said he came “highly recommended.”
O’Connor also took a trip back to North Carolina on Wednesday to work out Howard and discuss his role with the Jazz.
“It went well enough to sign him,” O’Connor said.
No word on the contract yet so we’ll have to wait to pass judgement on that.
It’s very difficult to know what Josh Howard has to offer at this point. He has only managed 18 games over the past two seasons following an ACL injury. I believe he had some serious ankle injuries prior to that.
When last seen on an NBA court, Josh Howard had become a very poor possession creator + more inefficient offensively + was still a capable defensive player. Overall, he was playing at a level expected of a low level main reserve small forward.
Utah Jazz’ Wings
SG – Gordon Hayward, CJ Miles, Alec Burks
SF – Josh Howard, Jeremy Evans
Utah had plenty of two guards but was under-manned — and undersized if forced to play one of their twos there — at the small forward position. Josh Howard could be a good signing here because there was a definite need at small forward and he could fill it.
Utah continues to lack rebounding on the wing in major way and will likely struggle mightily with perimeter rebounding all season long. Jeremy Evans is the only player who can provide quality rebounding at the three for Utah.
Update: Appearently, the Jazz used part of their midlevel exception (luxury tax payers MLE) to sign Josh Howard. It’s unknown how much.