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GM: Jazz were impressed with Carrick Felix's defense

Carrick Felix is a former skateboarder, a former team barber — and the newest member of the Utah Jazz.

The franchise on Tuesday acquired the 23-year-old Felix along with a 2015 second-round pick and $1 million from the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for John Lucas III, Erik Murphy and Malcolm Thomas.

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The deal was a win for Cleveland, which grabs $3.3 million in non-guaranteed contracts to help facilitate a possible trade for Kevin Love.

And the deal was a low- to no-risk move for the Jazz.

Lucas struggled mightily in his lone season in Utah. Murphy's shooting touch was absent during summer league. And Thomas, despite an impressive showing Las Vegas, faced an uphill battle to make a roster already filled with young big men.

Carrick will also have to fight for what little playing time might be left after Dante Exum, Alec Burks, Gordon Hayward and Rodney Hood get their time.

But the Jazz believe he'll have a chance to contribute.

"He's another young wing, but he's a little different from what we've got," Jazz General Manage Dennis Lindsey says. "He sees himself as a defender first. Anybody that can defend and move the ball and make the corner three, that's a role we can envision we'll have going forward. Certainly Carrick's game defensively is where he hangs his hat."

Felix played at the College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls before transferring.

He initially committed to Duke, but ended up choosing Arizona State.

Walt Perrin, the Jazz's vice president of player personnel, saw plenty of Felix.

"He had a very good coach in Herb Sendek, in a very defensive program," Lindsey said.

And in his senior year as a Sun Devil, Felix broke out. He averaged 14.6 points and 8.1 rebounds that year.

"He was able to develop some shooting touch," Lindsey said.

During the draft process last year, Felix's interview left an impression on the Jazz.

"He was one of the guys that stood out, who said, 'I defend. That's what I do. That's how I get on the court,'" Lindsey recalled.

The franchise did not end up using a pick on the 6-foot-6 guard out of Arizona State last summer, but the team kept tabs on him.

"We don't really close the book on any player unless we think they're just not good enough or not of the right character," Lindsey said. "We kept that book open and [director of pro player personnel] David Fredman tracked. We watched him a little bit this summer. This is a chance for us to take a look at a young developing defensive wing."

Felix saw action in just seven games with the Cavaliers last year and spent some time in the D-League.

But Utah is holding out hope he can provide depth going forward.

Felix is due about $800,000 this year and he has two non-guaranteed years left on his deal.

— Aaron Falk

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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