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Jazz, Brown finally put ink to contract

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Rookie guard Dee Brown's contract was finally wrapped up on Tuesday, and he planned to quickly head to Salt Lake City to spend much of the next month working out in the town where he hopes his future lies.

A less-than-spectacular showing at July's Rocky Mountain Revue apparently cost the second-round draft pick, No. 46 overall. Brown signed what is essentially a make-good contract that goes beyond October's training camp but includes no guarantees.

The Jazz do not disclose contract terms, but senior vice president of basketball operations Kevin O'Connor acknowledged Brown's contract isn't the same as that signed Aug. 1 by No. 47 overall pick Paul Millsap, who had a strong Revue and said he got a partially guaranteed one-year deal with a team option for a second year.

Sources in Illinois, Brown's home state, said his contract includes no guarantees.

Brown and his agent were unavailable for comment Tuesday.

The 6-foot University of Illinois combo guard, winner of the Bob Cousy award as the nation's top point guard, named 2005 player of the year by The Sporting News and a consensus first-team All-American as a junior before switching to point guard as a senior, was the No. 3 career scorer in Illini history with 1,812 points. He was second in 3-pointers with 299, in assists with 674 and in steals with 231.

It took a while to get Brown's deal done, though O'Connor said it had pretty much been agreed upon for some time. "It's a contract that's pretty simple. We kind of agreed to it with a couple of little minor points that we were still talking about. In essence it was completed, but we just hadn't finished signing it yet," he said while he was signing his portion of it in the Delta Center Tuesday.

"I think he's got to understand that the NBA is a bigger, faster, quicker league, and he's got to earn his minutes on the defensive end and by coming in and being a change-of-pace kind of guard," O'Connor said of Brown, who is apparently taking things seriously enough to come in quickly for voluntary work under Jazz supervision.

"He and Roger have to compete to prove they can play in the NBA," O'Connor added about Brown and another former Illini teammate, Roger Powell Jr., who is a non-guaranteed training-camp invitee after playing in the Revue.

Brown is expected to stay in Salt Lake City until NBA rookie orientation in mid-September and then return for more Utah workouts after that.

He is still learning the point position, which was occupied for his first three college seasons by Deron Williams, the Jazz's starting point guard now entering his second NBA season. Williams and Brown are close friends. Brown played shooting guard until Williams left Illinois a year early for the NBA, and then Brown took the point, only to see his shooting percentages drop, though he continued to win honors.

O'Connor said it would be up to Jazz coach Jerry Sloan to give Brown some time at the shooting-guard position if he wants. Brown can be a strong long-range shooter, but his size could be a worry. "That's Coach's call. I think he'll feel his way through that a little bit," O'Connor said.

While Brown did not have a great Revue, Jazz coaches and management chalked it up to still learning the position and seemed willing to give him time to develop. O'Connor said as much again on Tuesday.

"I think his competitiveness is something that you've got to like about him," he added. "When he was at Illinois, he was a kid that you could count on competing every night. He can make an open jump shot, and he's got good speed."

For the Jazz's Revue team, Brown started four of six games and shot 40 percent from the field while making 4-of-8 3-pointers and 8-of-13 free throws, averaging six points a game. He had 18 assists to rank fifth in the six-team summer league but committed 11 turnovers.

The Jazz officially report for fall camp Oct. 2, with workouts beginning Oct. 3.

E-mail: lham@desnews.com