In a weird twist of interesting news on Tues. July 7, guard Raul Neto, the Utah Jazz second round pick back in 2013, was back in town with some buddies, taking in a summer league game at EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City.
He was chumming it up and laughing with guys like Jazz center Rudy Gobert and others–while watching Dante Exum, Rodney Hood and Co. tear up the basketball court.
So where was Trey Burke? Wasn’t he supposed to have been the Jazz’ next big point guard? And if so, why on Earth did the Jazz ever sign Exum in the first place? Moreover, conspiracy theorists wanna know, why is Neto–who isn’t even a member of the Jazz yet–hanging out in little old Salt Lake City at the moment?
According to David Pick, the answer is as simple as a technicality. Well, ANY technicality coming from Spain is actually a big technicality; ask any NBA player who has had to endure the nightmare of securing a release from Liga ACB, the biggest pro basketball league in that country.
Because according to Pick, drum roll please, the Jazz should announce any day now that Neto is coming stateside to play point for the Jazz. Strike up the mariachi band, muchachos and muchachas, cause it’s time for Carnival, Utah style. Your Brazilian knight in shining armor is coming home!
“Raul Neto isn’t expected back in Espana, his coach told me. He said Utah Jazz will sign the Brazilian guard,” Pick tweeted on Tuesday, insinuating more or less–whether Trey Burke fans want to believe it–they’re probably trading Burke sooner rather than later.
Apparently the pic of the uh, D, and mocking a handicapped kid–and losing his starting spot to Exum midseason–were all too much for the Jazz, who apparently have seen enough, er, too much of Burke.
Haven’t we all, really? The former college player of the year out of Michigan–and playa to many of them ladies, dawg–watched in vain from the bench last season as his minutes tumbled. Yet in an amazing twist, his production didn’t falter one bit–leading some to believe he still might have the goods to be a 12 point scorer in the league from here to eternity and possibly be worth some money to a different NBA team.
The problem is twofold for Utah. Burke’s contract doesn’t hold a team option until next season, meaning that the only way the Jazz can unload him is to trade him. It isn’t like the Jazz are trying to re-sign him, and so it’s pretty clear–especially when Neto’s camp is so adamant about their guy getting playing time–that Trey is the odd man out here.
If you need another reason why the Michigan man is not your man, Jazz Nation, Burke’s assist count actually fell to 4.3 per game from five in his rookie season. So too fell his shooting percentages in nearly every category, leading Jazz brass to believe that maybe, just maybe they hadn’t seen enough of Neto, who blew up a past summer league as many recall with crazy mad behind-the-back assists–and actually improved his game by staying in Europe.
Of course, all the detractors of Neto will argue that yeah, the Brazilian hasn’t played NBA-caliber opposition like Burke–and maybe they’re right. But, maybe just maybe Neto is a better, more dynamic option playing alongside Exum than the fiery Burke, who really isn’t a good fit for this new and super dynamic Jazz team.
Again, you didn’t see Trey laughing it up beside his Jazz teammates on Tuesday evening at the ESA and you didn’t see him being a teammate, period. Well, you did but it was like eons ago–like three weeks ago when nobody had said a word about Burke clowning with Rudy at Park Cafe after a team activity.
And nobody said a word about this crazy exchange of thoughts on Burke’s Instagram that makes you wonder whether Rudy and Trey knew what was going down before this Neto sighting threw everything into a tailspin in public circles, anyway.
“taylorharris9:Can’t wait for you guys to tear it up this next season,” she tweeted. Replied gobert27: I wish, to which madelinedunfff@abigailpark replied: WAIT NO WHAT,” making everyone wonder why Gobert would make this Freudian slip–or if he was talking about something else. For the record, Gobert didn’t elaborate.
So everyone can take a moment, go hmmm collectively and consider thanking Burke for his time in Utah–because apparently Neto is now in the building. Meanwhile, for everyone else who missed that simple but meaningful exchange on Instagram, Gobert may know more than others are letting on but only time will determine what happens next in this ongoing saga.