Veterans Jeff Green and Ed Davis say they had title aspirations in mind when they signed with the Utah Jazz

by Aaron Falk

They wanted to win.

Simple as that.

That’s why veterans Jeff Green and Ed Davis were quick to say yes when the Utah Jazz came calling earlier this month.

“At this stage of my career,” Davis said, seated next to Green at the Zions Bank Basketball Campus on Friday morning, “I wanted to play on a veteran team, a team that had a chance to contend for the title at the end of the year.”

“Same,” Green replied. “With the personnel, they were building on this team, the opportunity to win, which is most important, it was a no brainer.”

Davis, the 6-foot-10 center and nine-year NBA veteran, and Green, a 6-foot-9 forward entering his 12th NBA season, were introduced as the newest Jazzmen on Friday, rounding out a roster with title aspirations.

Green, who averaged 12.3 points and 4 rebounds a game last season in Washington, said he sees intriguing possibilities for his new team on both ends of the court.

“For me, it’s the defensive side,” Green said when asked what excited him most about playing in Utah. “Having Ed, having Rudy [Gobert], two guys that are going to be in the trenches, that are going to battle. They’re going to fight. Having bigs like that, for a guy that has to guard on the perimeter, that’s very comforting.”

On offense, Green sees plenty of shots to go around with Donovan Mitchell, Mike Conley, Joe Ingles, and Bojan Bogdanovic all spacing the floor.

“There are a lot of guys that open space,” Green said. “It’s going to create a lot of shots for everybody. It’s going to create a lot of opportunities for people to have great games. And with an unselfish group, you’re going to have a lot of guys that are proud of that.”

Green said he has had multiple “long conversations” with Jazz head coach Quin Snyder already and knows he’ll be relied upon to bring his experience, which includes a trip to the NBA Finals, to his new squad.

“I’ll be relaying experiences. The Finals,” he said. “How do you get there? What’s it going to take?”

Davis was one of the league’s best rebounders and defenders off the bench last season in Brooklyn, where he grabbed a career-best 8.6 boards in 17.9 minutes per game. The center figures to provide that same tough-minded approach to Utah.

“We haven’t really gotten in-depth with the roles and X-amount of minutes,” he said of his conversations with Jazz coaches, “but I think it’s kind of obvious what my role will be.”

The veteran free agent signings said they have both long respected the Jazz organization.

“It’s always been respected,” Davis said. “You don’t hear about a bunch of B.S. happening. There aren’t really a bunch of players coming in and out. There’s a lot of consistency. A team that every year is respected and they’re going to fight and be in the playoffs.”

“You’ve got an organization that fights for their players and then you’ve got players that fight for the city and the organization,” Green added. “They battle together. This is going on 13 years [in my NBA career] and it’s been that way every year, with all the players that have come through from Deron [Williams] and Carlos [Boozer] to now.”

That “now” includes star point guard Mike Conley, who had a hand in luring two of his old Memphis Grizzlies teammates to Utah.

“We’re great friends. We talk a lot,” said Green, who like Davis previously played alongside Conley in Memphis. “Our families are close. Our wives became good friends during our time in Memphis. Our kids are the same age. He’s a good guy. He’s somebody who’s going to be there for you and always lend a helping hand.”

“I talked to him before I made the decision to come here,” Davis added. “He definitely gave me confidence that this team was ready.”

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