Jordan Clarkson just signed the biggest contract of his NBA career late last month with a four-year extension worth $52 million to remain with the Utah Jazz.
But behind that contract lies a deeper reason why he decided to agree with the deal. It’s definitely more than just business and getting paid.
The bond he had formed with his teammates and the warm welcome from the Utah community made Clarkson realize that the Jazz needed him for the years to come.
And the feeling is mutual.
“They’ve been great,” said the Fil-Am guard to select American sportswriters in an online video conference. “The relationship with coach [Quin Snyder] and overall, I just think that I fit. The city has been great to me as well.”
The Fil-Am guard averaged 15.6 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 41 games with the Jazz and has been instrumental during their run in the first round of the NBA Western Conference playoffs.
Against the Denver Nuggets, Clarkson posted norms of 16.7 points, on 46.4 shooting percentage with 3.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists. But the Nuggets overcame a 3-1 deficit and eventually advanced up to the Western Conference Finals.
Clarkson’s attachment to Salt Lake City became one of the factors why he ultimately chose the Jazz, adding that he felt a sense of “comfort” and “peace of mind” with the squad.
“I wanted to continue to grow here, to keep [doing] great things here in Utah, with this team,” said the 28-year-old Clarkson. “So definitely, I didn’t want to leave these guys [and] it’s crazy how fast I connected with these guys, this group. It’s been great for me and I just didn’t want to lose that either.”
Aside from that, Clarkson has grown accustomed to be alongside a young generation of athletes which includes core players Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert.
The Florida-born guard said having a personal connection and tight camaraderie despite adversities and heated moments make it easier for them on and off the court.
“When you have a group of guys that are able to do that, it’s a good formula for a win. That’s what we had going into this,” he added.
Looking into the long run and the bigger picture, Clarkson believes that it’s just the right decision for him to keeping playing with the Jazz.
“You look at the key players here, we’re all kinda still young. That definitely [will] give us some time to accomplish what we want to accomplish and try to win a championship here.”