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Reports: Utah Jazz to sign point guard John Lucas III

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 4 2015 12:21 a.m. MDT

Toronto Raptors point guard John Lucas (5) yells out a play in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Houston Rockets Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012, in Houston. Houston won 117-101. (AP Photo/Bob Levey) (Bob Levey, ASSOCIATED PRESS) Toronto Raptors point guard John Lucas (5) yells out a play in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Houston Rockets Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012, in Houston. Houston won 117-101. (AP Photo/Bob Levey) (Bob Levey, ASSOCIATED PRESS)

SALT LAKE CITY — It appears the Utah Jazz are finally going to dip their toes into the free-agency pool.

Point guard John Lucas III reportedly will be signed to a deal this week with the Jazz, according to ESPN's Marc Stein and multiple reports.

Lucas, son of longtime NBA point guard John Lucas II, played for the Toronto Raptors last season, averaging 5.3 points and 1.7 assists in 63 games.

The 31-year-old has played for three NBA teams since 2005-06, including the Raptors, Bulls and Rockets. Lucas, a 5-11 playmaker from Oklahoma State, had his best season in 2011-12 with Chicago, when he averaged 7.5 points and 2.2 assists in a backup role to Derrick Rose.

Lucas' signing would bring the Jazz's roster up to the league minimum of 13 players, including guard Jerel McNeal's non-guaranteed deal.

Though the Jazz have added six other players this offseason, Lucas will be the first via free agency.

Toronto Raptors' John Lucas, left, and Charlotte Bobcats' Jannero Pargo, right, chase a loose ball during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday, March 20, 2013. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton) (Chuck Burton, ASSOCIATED PRESS) Toronto Raptors' John Lucas, left, and Charlotte Bobcats' Jannero Pargo, right, chase a loose ball during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday, March 20, 2013. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton) (Chuck Burton, ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Utah acquired point guard Trey Burke, center Rudy Gobert and point guard Raul Neto in draft-day deals, while center Andris Biedrins, small forward Richard Jefferson and shooting guard Brandon Rush all came from Golden State in a three-team trade with the Warriors and Nuggets.

It's possible the Jazz will still bring in another player via free agency or a trade. Last week, general manager Dennis Lindsey said he's more than willing to take on salaries from other teams to acquire future assets.

Lucas' professional career began in 2005 with the Tulsa 66ers of the D-League. Since then, he's also played in Italy, Spain, China and with the Colorado 14ers in the D-League.

Lucas had also engaged in talks about returning to the Bulls, where he played from 2010-12. But, according to the Chicago Tribune, those discussions "never grew serious."

Toronto Raptors coach Dwane Casey talks to John Lucas during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013, in New York. The Raptors won 92-88. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II) (Frank Franklin II, AP) Toronto Raptors coach Dwane Casey talks to John Lucas during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013, in New York. The Raptors won 92-88. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II) (Frank Franklin II, AP)

Barring a surprising move to bring in a different point guard, this transaction almost certainly paves the way for Burke to begin his NBA career in the starting lineup for the Jazz this fall.

Utah traded the 14th and 21st picks of the June 27 draft to acquire Burke from Minnesota after the Timberwolves selected him in the No. 9 position.

Burke's debut in a Jazz uniform was a rough one. He only shot 1-for-12 in his first action at the Orlando Pro Summer League last week, and finished the session averaging 8.8 points on 24.1 percent shooting to go with 4.0 assists, 3.5 rebounds, 2.2 turnovers and 0.3 steals in four games. Burke's outside shooting was particular rough as he only hit 1 of 19 3-pointers.

The Jazz appear as if they're going to completely reload at the point guard position from this past season when they went with a veteran crew of Mo Williams, Jamaal Tinsley and Earl Watson. Williams and Tinsley remain on the free-agent market, but Lindsey made it sound like the organization wouldn't be bringing either back. Watson recently signed a one-year deal with Portland to help mentor NBA rookie of the year Damian Lillard.

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