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Jazz's Corbin, management plan to meet with Raja Bell

Published March 12, 2012 11:24 pm
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Before Raja Bell plays another game for the Jazz, a discussion is planned between the veteran shooting guard, coach Tyrone Corbin and team management.

Utah General Manager Kevin O'Connor said Sunday he'll be involved in the meeting, which is expected to occur prior to the Jazz's game Monday against Detroit at EnergySolutions Arena.

O'Connor declined to discuss specific details about why a healthy Bell was unexpectedly removed Saturday from Utah's starting lineup against Chicago. Ruled out less than five hours before tipoff due to an unspecified internal matter, Bell was not with the team during a 111-97 loss to the Bulls.

O'Connor spent the last few days scouting NCAA men's basketball conference tournaments and was not with the Jazz during the end of a five-game road trip that saw Utah go 2-3. As a result, he wants to have a private conference with Bell and Corbin before moving forward with the situation.

"I want to sit down with Raja, and have a meeting with coach and Raja first," O'Connor said.

Bell acknowledged Sunday he's expecting to soon meet with Utah's GM.

A confrontation between Bell and Corbin — who have long had an on-off relationship — appears to be at the heart of the situation, and O'Connor didn't mention any other Jazz players or team personnel when asked about the internal matter.

Bell started for the Jazz on Friday during a road defeat to Philadelphia and spoke with the media afterward. However, Corbin said the guard wasn't with the team for a normal pregame meeting Saturday morning in preparation for the Bulls. The exact time Bell left the Jazz hasn't been specified.

While Bell and Corbin at times have been at odds, the second-year coach has consistently stuck by the 12-year veteran since taking over in February 2010 for Jerry Sloan. Bell has started all 30 games he's played for Utah during the 2011-12 season, and Corbin decided Wednesday to keep Bell in the Jazz's first unit after he'd missed six consecutive games due to a strained left adductor.

Bell, 35, is averaging 6.9 points while shooting 48.1 percent from the field and 41.3 percent behind the 3-point line. He's under contract through the 2012-13 campaign.

Meanwhile, the Jazz have recently been involved in general trade talks and have an open ear as a Thursday deadline approaches. But the organization isn't willing to sacrifice its long-term future for short-term gain.

"Sometimes addition is subtraction, and that's what we don't want to do," O'Connor said.

Many NBA teams are equally hesitant, since there's little time for practice and player development during the lockout-shortened season. The Jazz (19-21) have only 26 games left this year, and less than seven weeks remain before Utah's regular-season finale April 26 against Portland.

Overall, O'Connor is pleased with the progress he's seen from the Jazz — especially the development of youngsters Derrick Favors, Alec Burks, Enes Kanter and Hayward — and believes an 11th-place Utah team still has a strong chance to make the Western Conference playoffs.

"We're playing meaningful games, and that makes a big difference," O'Connor said.

bsmith@sltrib.com Twitter: @tribjazz


Check The Tribune's Jazz Notes blog at sltrib.com/Blogs/jazznotes for exclusive news, interviews, video and analysis. —

Pistons vs. Jazz

P At EnergySolutions Arena

Tipoff • 7 p.m., Monday

TV • ROOT Sports

Radio • 1320 AM, 1600 AM, 98.7 FM

Records • Pistons 15-26, Jazz 19-21

Last meeting • Pistons, 120-116 (Feb. 26, 2011)

About the Pistons • Detroit has won three consecutive games and is 6-4 in its past 10. The Pistons knocked off the Lakers and Atlanta last week.

About the Jazz • Utah went 2-3 during its five-game trip. ... The Jazz entered Sunday in fifth and last place in the Northwest Division.






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