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Bogdanović Outduels Former Jazz Target Harris

during a opening night game at Vivint Smart Home Arena on October 23, 2019 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Bojan Bogdanović might have saved the Jazz $107-million Wednesday night.

Going into the summer of 2019, the Utah Jazz had the ability to clear enough salary-cap space to sign a max-level free agent. 

The name most closely associated with the Jazz was Tobias Harris, who had spent half of the previous season with the Philadelphia 76ers, after getting traded by the Los Angeles Clippers mid-season. 

Instead, the Jazz traded for Mike Conley, eating up a portion of the free-agent money the Jazz had, changing their summer targets. The Jazz wound up agreeing to a four-year $73-million contract with Bojan Bogdanović.

Harris resigned with the 76ers on a five-year $180-million contract in July. 

If Wednesday’s game was any indicator, the Jazz should have no regrets after landing Bogdanović, and it’ll save them $107-million over the next five years. Bogdanović finished the night with 20 points, six rebounds, and five assists. He finished the night shooting 9-18 from the floor and 2-5 from the three-point line en route to a 106-104 win. 

Bogdanovic was a game-high +21 on the floor in 35 minutes.

Harris added 16 points and seven rebounds of his own but missed a clutch free-throw with 1:51 remaining in the game that could have closed the Jazz lead to just two. On the following possession, Bogdanović hit a three-point shot to extend the Jazz lead to 106-101.

“I saw that they were trying to double Donovan (Mitchell),” Bogdanovic said of his clutch basket, “I slipped the screen and he made a great read and I was wide open for a three.”

The 76ers were outscored by 13 points with Harris on the floor.

The performance against the 76ers was anything but Bogdanović’s lone bright spot this season. 

The 6th year forward has scored in double digits in every outing so far for the Jazz, including three 20+ point outings in the Jazz first eight games. 

Entering the game, Bogdanović was averaging 20.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 1.8 assists. He’d converted 49.4 percent of his field goals and 45 percent of his three-point shots. 

Harris was averaging a comparable 20.3 points, 8.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists, shooting 52.2 percent from the floor and 32.3 percent from three entering the night. 

It’s not just the offensive side of the ball where Bogdanović shined.

Drawing the task of defending 76ers big-man Al Horford for the majority of the night, Bogdanović helped limit the five-time All-Star to his worst night of the season. Horford finished with just seven points on 3-14 shooting. 

“I was just trying to make him take a tough shot over me,” Bogdanovic said, “Don’t allow him to get second chance points or an easy bucket.”

Jazz coach Quin Snyder applauded Bogdanović’s effort on the defensive side of the ball. 

“He had a big stretch there, defending on the post, really defending everywhere,” Snyder said, “I thought he was really, really solid and competed in those situations.”

Only time will tell how the two compare when their contracts are said and done, but as of this season, Bogdanović appears to be an incredible bargain for the Jazz.