Jazz Exercise Options On Walker Kessler, Ochai Agbaji

Oct 23, 2023, 4:39 PM | Updated: 4:43 pm

Utah Jazz center Walker Kessler (24) jumps to block a shot attempt by Phoenix Suns forward Torrey C...

Utah Jazz center Walker Kessler (24) jumps to block a shot attempt by Phoenix Suns forward Torrey Craig (0) during an NBA game against the Phoenix Suns (Credit: Ryan Sun, Deseret News)

(Credit: Ryan Sun, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Jazz announced that they’ve exercised the team options on the contracts of second-year players Walker Kessler and Ochai Agbaji.

First-round draft picks sign four rookie-scale contracts, but only the first two seasons are guaranteed.

Kessler was one of five players acquired by the Jazz in the Rudy Gobert blockbuster trade last summer but is the only player that remains on the roster from the move just 15 months later.

Agbaji was acquired alongside Lauri Markkanen and Collin Sexton in a trade that sent guard Donovan Mitchell to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Walker Kessler Had Strong Rookie Campaign

During his first season with the Jazz, Kessler was named to the NBA’s All-Rookie First Team, earning the honors after averaging 9.2 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks in Utah.

Due to a late-season concussion, Kessler came up just two field goal attempts short of qualifying as the league’s leader in field goal percentage at 72 percent.

Kessler became the first rookie since Tim Duncan to have four games with at least seven blocks, and is the first player ever to record a double-double while shooting 100 percent from the field in his NBA debut.

The defensive stalwart was joined by Rookie of the Year Paolo Banchero, runner-up Jalen Williams of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Pacers guard Benedict Mathurin, and Sacramento Kings wing Keegan Murray on the All-Rookie First Team.

Kessler is just the eighth Jazz player to earn All-Rookie First Team honors.

Agbaji Closed Rookie Season Well

After spending most of the first half of his rookie season in the G League with the Salt Lake City Stars, Agbaji had several bright moments over the final 42 games of the year with the Jazz roster.

Upon entering the rotation, Agbaji averaged 10.1 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 1.5 assists while shooting 43 percent from the floor and 37 percent from three in 25 minutes of action, including 22 starts.

The Kansas product would add significant depth to the Jazz roster on the wing if he can continue to build on his late-season push.

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Ben Anderson is the Utah Jazz insider for KSL Sports and the co-host of Jake and Ben from 10-12p with Jake Scott on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone. Find Ben on Twitter at @BensHoops or on Instagram @BensHoops.

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Jazz Exercise Options On Walker Kessler, Ochai Agbaji