LAS VEGAS — Jairus Lyles has been holding a secret for a couple of days.
On Thursday, the cat came out the bag.
Prior to Thursday’s 75-70 NBA Summer League first-round tournament win against the Orlando Magic, the former UMBC star signed with the Utah Jazz.
He ended with five points, four rebounds and two assists on the night.
“They told me where to go and what time to be today, and I went to the room and signed the contract,” Lyles said. “It was an amazing feeling. I’m very excited to be a part of the Utah Jazz.”
The Jazz brass are impressed with Lyles’s defense and scoring ability, and he fits the DNA of the organization with his high character. Lyles’s deal includes an Exhibit 10 attachment, which means the team has the option to convert his contract into a two-way deal. He will likely spend time with the Salt Lake City Stars, Utah’s G-League affiliate team.
“I’m just someone who’s going to work hard every single day in practice, in the games and do whatever the coaches ask of me,” Lyles said. “I’m someone who’s not going to get in trouble off the court and just a gym rat. I’m working on getting better every single day to develop an NBA game.
Utah was playing the latest summer league game without second-year center Tony Bradley (left wrist contusion) and rookie guard Grayson Allen (rest). No. 6 pick Mo Bamba and second-year forward Jonathan Isaac were also held out against the Jazz with general soreness.
Entering September’s training camp, the Jazz can bring in 20 guys total — which includes a couple of two-way players — but they have to trim the roster to 15 by the actual season. So, in hindsight this move was to likely get Lyles on the Salt Lake City Stars G-League affiliate roster.
Diamond Stone led the Jazz in scoring against the Magic with 14 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks. The Jazz now advance to the second round of the NBA Summer League tournament against the Memphis Grizzlies at 8:30 p.m. MT Saturday night in the Thomas & Mack Center.
The 6-foot-2, 175-pound Lyles averaged 8.3 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.7 assists in his three games for Utah leading up to the Magic. He is perhaps most well-known nationally for leading the No. 16-seeded UMBC Retrievers in their historic win in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament over No. 1-seeded Virginia. In that game, Lyles scored 28 points and added six rebounds, four assists and four steals.
He may now have a target on his back in summer league as the latest Jazz signee.
“I’ll find out pretty soon,” Lyles said, laughing.
SPECIAL DELIVERY: Joining Utah swingman Royce O’Neale, legendary Jazz forward Karl Malone enjoyed the Jazz-Orlando Magic Summer League game from a courtside seat. Donovan Mitchell recently sported a throwback Malone jersey on the sidelines in Las Vegas, which caught his attention via social media. “Way to represent young fella! Send me one of yours..haven’t worn a jersey in a while but I’ll rep yours,” Malone tweeted at Mitchell.
NEWEST WARRIOR: Free agent forward Jonas Jerebko signed a one-year deal with the back-to-back NBA champion Golden State Warriors on Thursday. Jerebko was waived by the Utah Jazz on July 7, two days before his $4.2 million contract was set to become guaranteed. He averaged 5.8 points and 3.3 rebounds per game last season for the Jazz.
SPIDA CAMP: Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell will host a Salt Lake City basketball camp on Monday, July 30 at Juan Diego Catholic High School for grades 1-9. Registration opens Monday, July 16, for $149.00. All campers will receive a T-shirt, bags from Adidas and the Utah Jazz plus special keepsakes. For more information, visit www.myway45.com.