Utah signs Kenny Lofton Jr. and Darius Bazley to multi-year deals

The Jazz are taking a chance on two young players who were recently released by their teams.
Kenny Lofton drives against Dallas' Dwight Powell
Kenny Lofton drives against Dallas' Dwight Powell / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Utah signed two young prospects to multi-year non-guaranteed contracts on Monday morning, and I mean this whole-heartedly when I say that I am so excited.

The Jazz are bringing in Darius Bazley, who was funnily enough drafted in 2019 with Utah's 23rd pick. Bazley played well in his first 3 seasons with Oklahoma City, averaging 13.7 and 10.8 points per game in his second and third years with the Thunder, but struggled to keep up those numbers in his following seasons and spent time in the G-League and with Phoenix and Philadelphia on a limited basis. This season with the Delaware Blue Coats, Bazley has been really impressive. He's putting up averages of 21 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game according to G-League Stats.

He likely won't become a star, but he has the potential to contribute to Utah's future in significant ways. He has shown flashes of a very well-rounded game that could be valuable down the road. We'll see what Bazley brings to the table.

As excited as we all were to see Darius Bazley sign with Utah, the main event of the day is Kenny Lofton Jr. who was released by the Memphis Grizzlies earlier this season. Many of you remember Lofton for the time that he man-handled Chet Holmgren in the 2022 Summer League. Lofton has a huge frame, standing at 6' 6" and a hulking 275 lbs. When most people hear that, they would assume Lofton is just a big body whose game is to overpower his opponents but can't do much else. Anyone who thinks that couldn't be more wrong.

Lofton was a fan-favorite during his time in Memphis, and his release in such a down season was surprising to most who have followed him since he joined the league. Lofton has an impressive skillset for someone his size. As an impressive ball handler, and showing surprisingly soft touch, Lofton shows a lot of promise for Utah moving forward. His weight does slow him down, and he likely isn't the type of player that starts for a Finals champion, but Lofton is a fantastic pickup for Utah. Just take a look at the highlights from his first career NBA start, where he dropped a ludicrous 42 points and 14 rebounds.

In NBA games, Lofton has seen very limited minutes and produced limited numbers due to that fact. In the G-League, Kenny has averaged 26 points, 9.3 boards, and 3.7 assists. He's unorthodox, but I believe that Lofton is an NBA player, and so do the Jazz. Don't be surprised to see plenty of fans dot the Delta Center with Lofton jerseys if he stays with the team long-term--and I hope he does.

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