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Jazz's Al Jefferson clears air on Boston remarks

Published November 15, 2012 12:31 pm
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

LOGAN INTERNATIONAL — Boston fans' hearts were fleetingly all aflutter Wednesday after multiple local websites reported that Al Jefferson was interested in returning to Boston when free agency hits next summer.The Celtics drafted Jefferson No. 15 overall in 2004 out of Prentiss, Miss., and with many questions about the future of the Jazz frontcourt, these are questions we'll start hearing more and more.

"This will always be my home away from home," Jefferson told WEEI. "Danny Ainge gave me a chance when nobody else did. If that situation were to happen, I'd love to do that again. But right now, like I said, it's all about taking care of business and finishing out the season right."

Of course, that was picked up by other outlets, including SLAM Online, and by the end of Wednesday, Jefferson was genuinely concerned that he had been misrepresented in his comments.

To be clear, everyone in Boston quoted Jefferson as saying both that he enjoyed his time in Boston, and that he felt he had a good situation in Utah.

Following the Jazz's 98-93 loss at TD Garden, Jefferson was unequivocal.

"Utah Jazz are my first choice," he said, "and the only way I won't be there is they don't want me there."

Jefferson is in the final year of a five-year, $65 million contract and will make $15 million this season. It remains unclear whether the Jazz will a) be able to afford Jefferson on the open market or b) opt to pursue a long-term deal given the development of young centers Derrick Favors (until he stops playing like a center, we'll call him a center) and Enes Kanter.

Rotation, rotation • Ty Corbin has significantly trimmed his rotation, and key players from a year ago — namely DeMarre Carroll and Alec Burks — are the primary victims. However, other interesting things are happening. For example, as the use of the "big" lineup has become more common, Marvin Williams has played 25 minutes or fewer in three of the last five games.

In Monday's triple-OT win in Toronto, Kanter was held to just 12 minutes, the same number he played on Wednesday in Boston.

"I'm playing guys a few more minutes this early in the season than I like to," Corbin said, "but it's just where we are right now on the road and the rotation's been tight." The guys have been going pretty good and they feel pretty good right now. But we got so many games on the road coming up, that I may have to loosen that a little bit."

The Jazz have been significantly more effective playing Favors, Millsap and Jefferson together, but said Wednesday he doesn't yet see that as an option for a primary starting unit. As for the rest of the rotation, Corbin said it is, of course, subject to change.

"We got so many games on the road coming up," Corbin said, "that I may have to loosen that a little bit."

On to Philly.

— Bill Oram




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