Jazz making noise with two trades
Salt Lake City, UT (Sports Network) – The Utah Jazz were busy prior to the
trading deadline Thursday, making two separate deals that netted them Gordan
Giricek, Tom Gugliotta and two first-round draft picks.
Giricek, a guard, was acquired from Orlando in exchange for swingman DeShawn
Stevenson and a second-round draft pick. The Jazz then traded centers Keon
Clark and Ben Handlogten to the Phoenix Suns for forward Tom Gugliotta, two
conditional first-round draft picks, a 2005 second-round draft pick and an
undisclosed sum of cash.
The 22-year-old Stevenson, who bypassed the collegiate level and was selected
23rd overall in the 2000 draft, had a rocky stay in Utah, clashing constantly
with head coach Jerry Sloan. However, the talented young player has seen
increased playing time this season and it has paid off to the tune of a
career-best average of 11.4 points per game.
“DeShawn (Stevenson) is young, athletic and a fierce competitor,” said Magic
general manager John Gabriel. “He has grown nicely under the leadership of
Jerry Sloan and the Jazz organization, and we look forward to him taking the
next step with us.”
Giricek is just 26 years old, but is headed to his third team in the past
year. A year ago to the day, he was traded from Memphis to Orlando prior to
the trading deadline. Giricek, in his second season in the NBA, owns a career
average of 11.5 points per game. He played in 48 contests for Orlando this
campaign and averaged 10.2 points per outing.
The 6-foot-11 Clark was traded from Sacramento to Utah during the offseason.
His first season in Utah, however, has been slowed by an ankle injury that
has limited him to just two games. Handlogten is a rookie out of Central
Michigan who has played sparingly in 17 games during the current campaign. He
is also currently injured and will be out for the remainder of the season due
to torn ligaments in his left knee.
“This deal was clearly driven by the luxury tax. The end result puts us
comfortably under the expected tax threshold,” said Suns president and general
manager Bryan Colangelo.
The Jazz obtain the injury-plagued Gugliotta, who like Clark is also in the
final year of his current contract. The 34-year-old Gugliotta, a former All-
Star, has been hampered by injuries the past few years, slowing down what was
once a productive NBA career. He averaged 15.1 points and 8.8 rebounds in 97
games with the Suns prior to reconstructive knee surgery in 2000. He has
averaged just 5.3 points and 4.0 rebounds in 158 games since the injury.
Gugliotta has played in 30 games this season, posting an average of just
2.3 points per contest.