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SALT LAKE CITY — According to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, the Utah Jazz have signed former Kansas and New Orleans center Jeff Withey to a partially guaranteed two-year contract.
According to Wojnarowski, the second year is a team option for the Jazz. Team options are unusual in today's NBA; the second year appears to be non-guaranteed, which would offer the Jazz more flexibility.
Withey is a 7-foot defensive specialist center who has averaged 3.8 blocks per 100 possessions in his 943 NBA minutes thus far. In college, Withey set a Big-12 conference record in blocks in a single season. A good example of the kind of impact Withey has on the defensive end: opponents shoot 10.8% less than their average when Withey is around the rim.
On the offensive end, Withey typically doesn't take a tremendous amount of shots, but those he does take are generally near the hoop; Withey has shot just 10 shots outside of 15 feet in his career. He does show good ability in rolling in the pick-and-roll and can finish in the restricted area well. Here's a highlight video of his career high performance in scoring:
After being drafted in 2013 by the Portland Trail Blazers, Withey was traded to the Pelicans in a deal that facilitated Tyreke Evans' arrival in New Orleans. But Withey didn't get a tremendous amount of time as the Pelicans had two other mostly defensive centers in Alexis Ajinca and Omer Asik.
This signing does complicate the Jazz's roster situation moving forward. The Jazz currently have 19 under contract, and look very likely to complete a deal with former Utah Ute J.J. O'Brien to get to the 20 maximum training camp roster limit. They're allowed to take just 15 players into the season, though, and that includes injured point guard Dante Exum, who is out for the season with a torn ACL.
Out of that 20, the Jazz will have 13 guaranteed contracts and 7 unguaranteed contracts. Grant Jerrett, though, is one of those guaranteed contracts, and will likely be cut. That leaves three spots for the group of Bryce Cotton, Chris Johnson, Elijah Millsap, Jack Cooley, J.J. O'Brien, Jeff Withey and Treveon Graham.