The Utah Jazz are fielding two of the four teams that will be participating in the Salt Lake City Summer League.
Rookie guard Jared Butler is not on either of them.
While fans who were hoping to get a look at the team’s No. 40 overall selection from the 2021 NBA Draft will no doubt be disappointed, they can at least be assuaged by the knowledge that what’s keeping him out is a procedural issue as opposed to a health one.
Utah has an agreement in principle to acquire Butler via a draft-night trade swung with the Memphis Grizzlies. The hold-up is that the pick used to select Butler was acquired by the Grizzlies in their not-yet-officially-approved trade with the New Orleans Pelicans, headlined by a swap of Jonas Valanciunas and the 17th pick for Steven Adams and the 10th pick.
Because that trade can’t be processed by the NBA until the league’s new year begins Aug. 6, the Grizzlies don’t technically own the No. 40 pick yet to send to the Jazz. Approval of both deals is considered a formality, but it’s simply a timing issue that will keep Butler from playing in front of his home fans.
In his introductory news conference at the Zions Bank Basketball Campus on Saturday, Butler — who had to pass an NBA-mandated Fit to Play panel due to pre-existing heart and knee conditions just to be eligible for the draft — was asked about Summer League and replied simply, “I’m healthy enough to play.”
Just because he won’t, though, doesn’t mean there aren’t other intriguing names to keep an eye on.
The “White Team” includes five players who played for the Jazz this past season — Udoka Azubuike, Jarrell Brantley, Trent Forrest, Elijah Hughes, and Juwan Morgan.
The “Blue Team” features a more eclectic roster of guys just trying to get a(nother) look, and includes former lottery pick Justin Patton, one-time first-round draft pick Jarell Martin, and former University of Utah guard Isaiah Wright.