Facing a deadline to waive players with non-guaranteed contracts or have to pay their entire salary for the season, the Utah Jazz waived journeyman forward Mike Harris on Tuesday.
The Jazz made no move regarding guards Diante Garrett and Ian Clark, the only other two players on the team with that type of deal, meaning their contracts will become fully guaranteed.
The Jazz’s roster now stands at 14 players.
“Whether to keep 15 or 14, we talked about it before and the decision was made to have a spot open,” Jazz coach Ty Corbin said. “We’ll see what’s available as we go from here.”
Harris, 30, played 20 games for the Jazz this season, averaging 4.2 points and 1.7 rebounds in 11 minutes. His best game of the year came on opening night, when he scored 13 points and grabbed four rebounds against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
“I think he brought a lot of energy,” Jazz center Enes Kanter said. “To me, he was helping me when I came on the bench. He was always telling me things because he was watching on the bench. I think he was really good for our team, but it’s a business.”
Contracts become fully guaranteed on Jan. 10, but teams had to waive players by 3 p.m. MST Tuesday in order for them to clear waivers before the deadline.
With Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook sidelined by another knee surgery, Kevin Durant has elevated his already superstar-level game.
In the six games without Westbrook leading up to Tuesday’s matchup with the Jazz, Durant averaged 32.8 points, 9.5 rebounds and 5.5 assists, while shooting nearly 52 percent from the floor.
“He’s a special player,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “He wants to get better and he’s driven to get better every year. He’s come back a better player. That’s kind of mind-boggling.”
Is this the year he takes the MVP award away from LeBron James?
“He’s been in the race every single year,” Jazz forward Marvin Williams said. “He’s right there.”