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John Stockton Signs New Contract With Jazz

October 3, 1996 GMT

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) _ NBA All-Star guard John Stockton has formally signed a new contract with the Utah Jazz.

The length and terms of the contract were released. Last month, The Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret News reported the contract would extend over three years and be worth $15 million.

Owner Larry Miller, in a prepared statement, acknowledged that Stockton, a free-agent, ``would be able to get more money on the open market, and that fact was open between him and me.

``John did make some sacrifices to stay in Utah, and I can’t say enough about the way he has conducted himself,″ Miller said, noting that Stockton’s stock has risen considerably after winning his second Olympic gold medal this summer.

Stockton said there never was a question that he wanted to remain in Utah, and realizes that, at 34, his career is entering its twilight.

``It looks like it could be my last contract and I’m delighted to be able to finish my career here,″ Stockton said. ``That’s been my hope all along.

``I think it would have been hard for me to pull it off, even if I’d wanted to, to go out there and say I’ll go anywhere.″

The value of the contract likely is millions below what Stockton could have made on the open market. But Stockton previously said the money was less important to him than other considerations.

He said last season that he intended to re-sign with the Jazz and that he hoped to finish out his career with the team that drafted him out of Gonzaga in 1984.

Few teams believed Stockton would change his mind and, as a result, there wasn’t bidding for his services. Only Miami inquired about his availability, the Tribune reported.

``John’s commitment to this organization is so strong, so focused and so fair,″ Miller said.

Miller said that during negotiations, Stockton put the well-being of the team on a par with his own needs. ``There just aren’t a lot of guys like John Stockton around any more,″ Miller said.

Stockton has missed only four games in his 12-year NBA career. He is the league’s all-time leader in assists and steals. He is an eight-time All-Star and has won Olympic gold medals in 1992 and 1996.

Stockton and Karl Malone have helped the Jazz win at least 51 games in seven of the past eight seasons and reach the Western Conference finals three times since 1992.