Utah fans were very excited about the Jazz’s acquisition of Michigan point guard Trey Burke on draft night. Maybe they were a bit too excited.
Within days of the Jazz trading the 14th and 21 overall picks to the Timberwolves for Burke’s rights, official jerseys for the rookie turned up in stores in the Salt Lake City area. Burke’s No. 3 jersey hung in windows at multiple Fanzz shops, according to fan tweets, showing just how thrilled they were that their team might finally have a bona fide point guard for the first time since Deron Williams was traded in 2011.[tweet https://twitter.com/Utah_JazzNation/status/351878958213648384 align=’center’] [tweet https://twitter.com/Nike_Cam01/status/351885271274508288 align=’center’]
There is only one problem. The Jazz have a player who wears No. 3, and it’s not Burke.
Two days before the Burke jerseys showed up, a story in The Salt Lake Tribune quoted hustle player and fan favorite DeMarre Carroll saying how much he looked forward to the day his No. 3 jersey was available in pro shops. He got his wish, sort of. Although Carroll is a free agent, he still owns the number, so Burke cannot wear it until Carroll signs with another team or “sells” it to him.
Selling jersey numbers is not rare in pro sports. The price can range from a case of beer to all-expenses paid vacations. But Carroll was as surprised as anyone to find out Burke was already anointed the new No. 3.[tweet https://twitter.com/DeMarreCarroll1/statuses/351909514980757505 align=’center’]
(“SMD” is the dreadlocked Carroll’s version of “shaking my head,” as in “shaking my dreds.”)
If Carroll does re-sign with the Jazz, he could have leverage over Burke now that jerseys are already in stores. Carroll made less than $900,000 last season, so he would welcome a slice of the roughly $2.5 million guaranteed Burke is set to make as the ninth overall pick. Or Burke could just stick with No. 33, which he was issued for Utah’s summer league team, and make those No. 3 jerseys into collector’s items.