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How Jordan Clarkson is dealing with Utah Jazz uncertainty

Though the future is unknown, it’s business as usual for the Jazz sharpshooter

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Utah Jazz’s Jordan Clarkson shoots while participants eagerly watch during the Jazz star’s camp in Farmington on Aug. 6, 2022.

Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson shoots while participants eagerly watch during the Jazz star’s basketball camp in Farmington on Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Jordan Clarkson stood under the awning of the Farmington Gymnasium on Saturday as rain poured down.

A storm moving through the area could have put a damper on the day, just as some of the recent news and rumors circulating about the Utah Jazz could have. But it should come as little surprise to anyone that Clarkson was as unfazed by the downpour as he is by what could become of the Jazz.

Hundreds of kids, from first to 12th grade, streamed into the gym for Clarkson’s basketball camp Saturday and were treated to a Clarkson family affair. Clarkson’s parents, brother and friends help run a series of camps around the country, and Clarkson attends each one, showing off his skills, sharing wisdom, taking photos and spreading joy, no matter the circumstances.

So, even as rumors of a Jazz rebuild swirl amid reports of trade talks involving Donovan Mitchell, Clarkson stays even-keeled.

As the rain fell around us and kids yelled in the distance — pleading for Clarkson to stay in Utah and telling him that he is their favorite player — I took a serious tone and asked Clarkson how he was feeling considering everything that could potentially happen.

“I’m chillin’,” he said with the wide and honest smile that has endeared him to Jazz fans for the last two years. “My mood is — I’m always good. My vibe is always good. It doesn’t change. This is my ninth year going into the league. I know how the business of basketball works.”

It’s not as if Clarkson is facing a decision himself. He’s under contract with the Jazz this year and he’s happy about that. But if the Jazz were to trade Mitchell it would signal an immediate rebuild of the team, and he would likely be one of the next to go. Clarkson is well aware of the possibilities and different scenarios that could play out.

Those are things that are out of Clarkson’s control, though. So he’s taking everything in stride and moving forward as if nothing has changed or is going to change.

That means holding camps, training, keeping his body ready and making all the necessary preparations for the upcoming season — including meeting the man who could be his next head coach.

Newly minted Jazz coach Will Hardy stopped by to meet Clarkson in person and have a brief get-to-know-you session on Saturday while Clarkson was in town, and Hardy made a solid impression with the former Sixth Man of the Year.

“I’m not that good at texting or calling people, so it was really cool to just kick it with him today and shoot the (expletive),” Clarkson said. “He’s tight. I like him a lot.”

Clarkson doesn’t have all of the answers about what is going to happen with the Jazz, and he knows that there is some uncertainty looming. But rather than let himself get caught up in what could happen, and what it could mean if he’s traded at some point this offseason, he’s more interested in what’s concrete and what’s certain.

What Clarkson knows for sure is that he is currently on the Jazz roster, he still has many years of basketball ahead of him, and he’s ready for whatever life throws at him.

“Am I happy in Utah? Yes. Do I like my teammates? Yes. I met the new coach and love him,” Clarkson said. “This is all part of what it is. But my preparation never changes and I’m going to wake up every morning and be me and do what I do. Everything is good.”

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Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson talks with the kids during his basketball camp in Farmington on Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News