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The Jazz tendered second-round draft pick Goran Suton a non-guaranteed qualifying offer Friday, setting the stage for the former Michigan State center to come to training camp next month and try to win a roster spot.
Even with no guaranteed money, Suton is believed to be committed to going to camp with the Jazz, as his agent, Dan Tobin, asserted earlier this month. Tobin didn't return messages Friday and Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor is away.
The Jazz faced a Sept. 6 deadline to tender the offer. If Suton decided not to sign and opted to head overseas, the Jazz would retain his rights. But Suton has shown little interest in playing in Europe since he was drafted with the No. 50 pick.
With 13 players under contract and a payroll pushing $82 million plus an additional $12 million in luxury tax penalties, the Jazz might not have a spot for Suton. They already have two other young centers in Kosta Koufos and Kyrylo Fesenko.
By signing the qualifying offer, Suton would become a free agent if he were released by the Jazz.
He helped lead Michigan State to the NCAA championship game, but struggled in summer league play with the Jazz. Suton averaged 4.8 points and 4.4 rebounds in five games but shot 35.7 percent overall and went 0-for-10 from three-point range.
Also Friday, the Nuggets learned they will open the season against the Jazz on Oct. 28 without guard J.R. Smith, who was suspended seven games by the league after pleading guilty to reckless driving in connection with a fatal accident.