The Jazz took care of their only veteran free agent Monday when they signed guard Bart Kofoed to a two-year contract.
The first year of the deal is guaranteed. "It's designed to give Bart some time to develop without a whole lot of pressure," said Jazz president-general manager David Checketts.Kofoed is one of only four guards on the Jazz roster, now that Kelly Tripucka and Rickey Green are gone. In June, the team drafted Jeff Moe of Iowa in the second round and Ricky Grace of Oklahoma in the third.
A fifth-round draft choice from Kearney (Neb.) State, Kofoed started last season on the injured list with a broken foot. He was activated Jan. 1 and appeared in 36 of the remaining 54 games, moving up in the playing rotation when Tripucka and Darrell Griffith were sidelined. Kofoed later backed up starter Bobby Hansen during the Jazz's five-game winning streak at the end of the season and played well against Portland in the playoffs, even when Tripucka was available.
"We think he's got a chance to become a good player," said Checketts, who was distressed by having to work hard to negotiate a deal for a reserve player.
Kofoed's agent, Ron Grinker, turned down a two-year offer of about $110,000 a year in June, pressing for the Jazz to make a one-year, $250,000 offer to keep the right of first refusal for the free agent. Finding no better deal around the league, Grinker returned to the Jazz and accepted a contract close to what Checketts promised Kofoed in the team's final meeting with each player after the season.
Upon signing, Kofoed was expected to join Jazz forward Scott Roth on a team in the Summer Pro League in Los Angeles. They'll both come to town later this month for the Jazz's rookie-free agent camp and the Utah Pro-Am Summer League.