Utah Jazz: Ronnie Price signs with Phoenix Suns to backup Steve Nash

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 13 2011 10:00 a.m. MST

Austin Hulse gets a five from Alec Burks during a clinic with the Boys and Girls Club at the Zions Bank Basketball Center.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — The sun has set on Ronnie Price's days with the Utah Jazz.

Now on Price's horizon: the Phoenix Suns.

The former Utah Valley standout and ex-Jazz combo guard signed a one-year contract with the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday.

Price has kept his ties with the state since playing for the Wolverines from 2002-05. He married a Utah woman, embraced the community and spent the past four seasons with the Jazz.

Despite his desire to return to play in Utah, the Jazz did not bring Price back to camp.

Now they won't see Price until visiting Phoenix on March 14.

Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said he has "tremendous respect" for the energetic, athletic guard.

"First of all, he's a great, great guy. He's a tremendous competitor," Corbin said Tuesday, the final day of the team's two-a-day sessions.

"He's a guy (who) when things are tight and guys may be feeling sorry for themselves or tired, he's going to come and lay it out and pick everybody up. We're going to really miss him."

Though they didn't close the door on a potential return for Price, Utah brass opted to bring former Jazz player Keith McLeod and ex-NBA starter Jamaal Tinsley into camp to battle for the No. 3 point guard position behind Devin Harris and Earl Watson.

When asked about Price this past weekend, Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor spoke highly of the spunky 28-year-old who's averaged 4.1 points and 3.0 assists in six NBA seasons.

"We've had teams call on Ronnie," O'Connor said. "And we've told them he's a professional and how tough a kid he is and how hard he works."

The 6-foot-2 Price, who averaged 24.3 points as Wolverine senior in 2004-05, was inducted into the UVU Hall of Fame in 2010.

Showing how quickly things change in the NBA, the Deseret News article about Price's ceremony listed Jerry Sloan, Deron Williams and Kosta Koufos as Jazz members who supported him that February night.

Price spent his first two NBA seasons in Sacramento — where he once famously dunked on Carlos Boozer — after making the team as an undrafted free agent.

Price replaces waived point guard Zabian Dowdell on Phoenix's roster. The Suns also recently signed point guard Sebastian Telfair to spell Steve Nash.

Email: jody@desnews.com

Twitter: DJJazzyJody

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