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Utah Jazz sign Raul Neto to multi-year contract

SALT LAKE CITY — Two days ago, Raul Neto had a hard time getting past security at EnergySolutions Arena.

That probably won't happen again.

Arena employees — and Utah basketball fans — will get to know Neto well in the next few years. In a move that's been speculated about for a while, the Brazilian point guard signed a multi-year contract with the Jazz on Thursday.

Neto's contract is for three years and $2.8 million, according to Yahoo! Sports.

"When I got drafted, that was a dream come true," said Neto, who was picked 47th overall in the 2013 draft by Atlanta. "But now is really a dream come true. I’m really excited to be here next year. I’m really happy to be here."

Neto's dad, Raul Togni Filho, is pretty dang excited too. He is a former basketball player and huge fan of Hall of Famer John Stockton.

"I think he’s really happy," Neto said. "I’m really happy. I think it’s a good deal for me."

The 6-foot-1 Neto played in Spain the past two years after the Jazz traded a future second-round pick for him in 2013.

Jazz management has been high on Neto for years. Coach Quin Snyder is also a fan of the play of Neto, whose expertise is running an offense. Neto said he hasn't talked to his new coach yet, but he knows his outside shot will still need some work to get up to NBA standards.

"I just want to learn every day. I just want to improve," Neto said. "I think it’s going to be his choice the time I’m going to pay. I’m here to do my job."

Neto, who's been in Salt Lake City for a week, will travel with his new NBA team to Las Vegas on Friday for the NBA Summer League. The 23-year-old will not play but will practice with Jazz veterans while there.

Listed at 6-1, 172 pounds, Neto is from Belo Horizonte, Brazil, and was a member of his national team which finished sixth in the 2014 World Cup. His highlight in that tournament was a 21-point game against Argentina in the round of 16.

This past season, Neto averaged 8.9 points, 3.9 assists and 2.1 rebounds for Murcia in Liga ACP in Spain.

He was preparing for the upcoming PanAmerican Games in Brazil when the Jazz asked him to visit Utah a week ago. Jazz management wanted to see if Neto would be willing to come in and be the third point guard behind starter Dante Exum and backup Trey Burke.

The new Jazz player's name is pronounced Hah-OOL Nett-oh in Portuguese, but he smiled and said he doesn't mind if his first name is pronounced with an r.

Terms of Neto's contract were not disclosed.

Former BYU sharpshooter Jonathan Tavernari has been an advocate of Neto coming to the Jazz. The two are teammates on the Brazilian national team.

After the news broke Thursday, Tavernari, who has his own overseas basketball career, tweeted:

Earlier this week, Tavernari listed off some of his compatriot's qualities that he thinks will help Neto succeed in the NBA: "Deceptive quick, amazing court vision, great composure. Handles himself well. Plays at his own pace. Will do well."

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