SALT LAKE CITY — Among the reasons John Lucas III ended up as a member of the Utah Jazz were a long-term relationship with Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey and good reviews of the organization and city from none other than former Jazzman Carlos Boozer.
Lucas was introduced Monday afternoon at EnergySolutions Arena as the latest Jazz signee. Terms of the contract were not released. Lucas has played parts of five seasons in the NBA since leaving Oklahoma State, most recently with the Toronto Raptors in 2012-13.
The soft-spoken 30-year-old had some options as a free agent, but chose Utah after talking with his father, John II, a former NBA star and coach, Lindsey, and a couple of his former Chicago Bulls’ teammates — Boozer and Ronnie Brewer.
Lucas said Lindsey had “a lot” to do with him coming to Utah.
“He told me, ‘I believe in you and want you to come up here and show everybody what you can do, but also be a mentor and bring guys along too,’’’ he said.
Lucas said he’s known Lindsey since he was about 8 years old. Lindsey was involved with the Houston organization, where Lucas’ father began and ended his career.
Lucas also checked in with his old teammates from Chicago, where he played in 2011-12 and had his best success in the NBA, averaging 7.5 ppg and 2.2 assists in 49 games.
“Ronnie Brewer is a good friend of mine and Carlos Boozer, I know really well,’’ he said. “The first thing I asked them was, ‘How is the organization?’ and they had nothing but great things to say about it. They said it was like a family. I asked how the city was and Ronnie had nothing but high things to say about it and same with Boozer. So I felt like it was the best opportunity for me coming into a city where I knew the fans had your back as long as you give them 100 percent.’’
Lucas was seen at the Jazz summer league games in Orlando earlier this month, so his signing was no surprise. He said he had a good chance to watch point guard Trey Burke and said despite his shooting woes, he is going to succeed in the NBA.
“I would tell him, ‘Don’t look at your shooting numbers. We know you can shoot.’ Other than that, I feel like he did a lot of great things out there. He really got his teammates involved and didn’t let the pressure get to him. You can see he has a lot of poise.’’
Lucas also understands one of his big roles will be to help mentor the young guard out of Michigan.
“I’ve learned a lot from a lot of players and I feel I have a lot to give,’’ he said. “With Trey being so young and everybody projecting him to be a superstar — and I feel like he will be — I’m just here to push him and hopefully he pushes me too so we can go ahead and get this thing rolling and get to that next level.’’
But Lucas says he’s in Utah to do more than be a mentor.
“They also want me to come in and compete and be ready to play,’’ he said. “I love the game, so whenever I’m on that court, I’m giving it all I have.’’
Lucas also doesn’t see this as rebuilding year for the Jazz.
“We’re coming to play. ... We’re trying to make the playoffs. ... Anything’s possible,’’ he said. “I don’t look at it as a rebuilding year, but as a new beginning.’’
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