UTAH JAZZ

Jordan Clarkson Comfortable With Jazz Return

Jul 6, 2020, 1:23 PM | Updated: 1:26 pm
Jordan Clarkson (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)...
Jordan Clarkson (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah –  Jordan Clarkson said he’s comfortable with the NBA’s Orlando return plan. On Tuesday, the Utah Jazz guard will join his teammates as they travel to The Walt Disney World Resorts in Florida. The team will begin training camp once they arrive in Orlando, and reopen the season against the New Orleans Pelicans on July 30.

The NBA’s return plan has been heavily criticized by current NBA players in light of the racial justice protests and the COVID-19 pandemic that are at the forefront of most American’s minds. The timing of the league’s return has caused some players to choose to skip the remainder of the NBA season. Meanwhile, the risk of injury has caused other soon to be free-agents to skip the league’s return.

Clarkson was on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic with teammates Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell became fo the first NBA players to publicly test positive for the virus. During the league’s hiatus, Clarkson was seen marching among protesters demanding equal rights. Adding further concern, Clarkson will enter free agency this coming offseason after arguably his best stretch of basketball with the Jazz.

Despite the many obstacles in Clarkson’s way, the guard said he is excited about retaking the floor.

“I’m just ready for this,” Clarkson said. “This opportunity to go to Orlando and compete for a championship.”

Finishing the Season During Social Unrest

During the NBA’s hiatus, Clarkson flew to his Los Angeles home to spend time with friends and family. After George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police in May, Clarkson joined the protestors on the streets of Los Angeles.

“It was a big moment in time,” Clarkson said of the protests. “We ‘re all pushing for change.”

While Clarkson recognized the difficult timing of resuming the NBA season while the nation is in a state of unrest, he said the NBA can serve as a platform to further change.

“The Orlando stuff isn’t the ideal situation for us to play right now,” Clarkson said. “But we definitely are going there. I know a lot of players have agendas and things that they want to put out using the platform in Orlando. It’s a plan that has to be executed well so that everybody can get the message and everybody can still be affecting, still changing, and making things happen.”

Clarkson on the NBA’s Safety Protocols

Clarkson was among several Jazz players who voiced concerns about the NBA’s safety protocol in Orlando. While initial reports of a bubble environment surfaced, the inconsistent testing practices of onsite workers drew the criticism of NBA players.

​However, after reading the NBA’s 100 plus page safety protocol pamphlet, the Jazz guard said he’s comfortable with the NBA’s plan, despite his looming contract negotiation.

“You’ve got to factor in our own stuff as well. Being a free agent after this year, injuries, stuff like that,” Clarkson said when considering his return. “But I feel like after I read through a lot of stuff to NBA is doing I don’t feel like they’ll put us in any kind of harm’s way,” Clarkson said.  if something was pulling that way so I was kind of just kind of like, yeah, I want to go hoop. I’m bored sitting at home. I’m ready to go back to work.”

The Jazz have been working out individually at the Zions Bank Basketball Campus since June 22 as they prepare to resume the season.

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