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JAZZ PICK UP OPTION ON GUARD JOHN CROTTY

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The Utah Jazz picked up the option year on guard John Crotty's contract and tendered qualifying offers to Bryon Russell, Stephen Howard and Walter Bond, it was announced Monday.

Crotty, a two-year veteran, had an option year on a two-year contract worth about $460,000. He averaged 2.9 points and 1.7 assists, appearing in 45 games last season."I'm psyched," said Crotty. "It's a good feeling. It shows they have a lot of confidence in my abilities. I'm happy to be part of the Jazz again."

In signing qualifying offers for Russell, Howard and Bond, the Jazz ensured the three will become restricted free agents July 1. The Jazz can now match any offer made by another team.

Russell, who started 48 games as a rookie, will almost certainly be offered a guaranteed contract next year. Howard, who played 49 games for the Jazz in 1992-93, appeared in nine games last season, averaging 3.4 points and 1.8 rebounds. Bond appeared in 56 games last year, averaging 3.1 points.