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Jazz sign SF Thabo Sefolosha to 2-year contract



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SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Jazz have agreed to a contract with free agent small forward Thabo Sefolosha, a league source confirmed to KSL.com. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski was first to report the deal.

Sefolosha's contract is for two years and will pay $10.5 million to the 33-year-old defensive wing, who has spent the last three seasons with the Atlanta Hawks.

The signing fills a hole that was left in the wake of Gordon Hayward's departure, where the team needed more contributors at the small forward spot. Sefolosha fits that description. Like teammate Joe Johnson, he's also capable of playing power forward in small-ball lineups.

Sefolosha is known as one of the league's best one-on-one perimeter defenders, thanks to his length and defensive smarts. But Sefolosha's game is limited on the offensive end, where he struggles shooting the ball. Sefolosha shot 34 percent from the 3-point line last season.

Jazz head coach Quin Snyder is known to be a fan of Sefolosha. In 2016, he compared his defense to that of the 60-win Hawks. "We don’t have Dennis Schroder. We don’t have Kent Bazemore. We don’t have Thabo Sefolosha," Snyder told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “To me, those guys have a unique level of length and quickness."

Overall, Sefolosha averaged 7.2 points per game last year, along with 4.4 rebounds and 1.7 assists per contest.

Charles Lee, the Hawks' summer league coach, was part of the Atlanta staff that managed Sefolosha for three seasons. "Thabo's been a great influence in our locker room, first of all. He's a real pro, came in to work on a daily basis. I think our young guys and everybody around him recognized how hard he played on a daily basis," Lee said.

He continued, "Offensively, he was really good at being able to slash backdoor and be another ball-handler for us in pick and roll situations. And then defensively, he was a versatile as they come as far as who he could guard. He can guard a point guard, he can guard a power forward. We'll definitely miss Thabo."

This story will be updated throughout the afternoon.

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