Jackson could back up or share time with Stockton

SALT LAKE CITY -- Point guard Mark Jackson signed with the
Utah Jazz on Wednesday, a deal that would give the team a dependable backup to John Stockton.

The 37-year-old player passed his physical, and the Jazz made his signing official by bringing him out for evening practice.

"It feels real good and I'm real excited to play for this team because of the class they have and the two Hall of Famers they have,'' Jackson said, speaking of forward Karl Malone and Stockton. "I admire the way they play the game as hard as they can every single day.''

Terms were not announced, but newspaper reports had Jackson signing a one-year contract for just over $1 million, the veteran's minimum.

Jackson averaged 8.4 points and 7.4 assists a game with the New
York Knicks last season. He was traded to Denver on draft night,
but after he made it clear he didn't want to play for a rebuilding
team, the Nuggets bought out his contract and he became a free

"I just think he wanted to play with a team that had veterans,'' said Kevin O'Connor, Utah's vice president of basketball operations. "He's a veteran who knows how to play the game. He's guarded our offense enough, I think he knows what we run offensively. I don't think he'll have a problem adjusting.''

Jackson has spent 15 years with five teams, and he ranks fourth
in the NBA in assists with 9,840 -- behind only Stockton, Magic
Johnson and Oscar Robertson.

Jazz coach Jerry Sloan didn't say what his role might be, but indicated he could end up playing either behind or alongside Stockton.

"I never have any questions about guys who can pass the balls on my team,'' Sloan said. "When you look around the league, all people talk about is who can shoot. We need guys that can pass first and feed the post.''