The Utah Jazz unveiled John Amaechi as the newest member of their playing roster
After passing a
medical in the morning, he met the media in Salt Lake City that afternoon.
Amaechi, who had
previously been courted by the Jazz last summer prior to signing on for an additional
season with the Magic, now faces the exciting prospect of lining up alongside
NBA veterans Karl Malone and John Stockton, plus the talented young Russian forward
Andrei Kirilenko - their 1999 first-round draft pick - who recently arrived in
Salt Lake City from CSKA Moscow.
The news certainly
caught the Orlando media on the hop, as they had expected Amaechi to re-sign as
a free agent, but the big man spots at the Magic have become very crowded, with
this week's acquisition of both Horace Grant and Patrick Ewing, in addition to
their recent draft picks Steven Hunter and Brendan Haywood who play the power
forward and centre spots respectively.
By his own admission,
Amaechi had a tougher time with the Magic this past campaign, but still posted
an average of 7.9 points and 3.3 rebounds a game during regular season play.
As per team policy,
salary details were not revealed, but Amaechi is expected to ink a multi-year
deal with the Jazz.
A product of Joe
Forber's youth development programme in Manchester, John Amaechi will now likely
find his name posted on the lists of the UK's sporting high earners, but one suspects
it's not money that's the motivating force in his world, having passed on a sizeable
offer from the LA Lakers last summer.
from Penn State in 1995, Amaechi had a brief initial spell in the NBA with the
Cleveland Cavaliers, which he followed up by playing for European teams in Greece,
Italy and France, as well as the 1997/98 season spent with the Sheffield Sharks
here in the BBL.
Amaechi interviewed at the BBL Finals in May: Click