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Atlanta • Utah Jazz forward Richard Jefferson will be a free agent next summer for the first time in his 13-season NBA career. His Arizona Wildcats came up short in the national championship game during his college career. He fell short twice in the NBA Finals as a pro and had to settle for a bronze medal at the Olympics.
So a day after he told SiriusXM's "Off the Dribble" that he planned to go "championship hunting," Jefferson stood by his comments.
"I wouldn't say I'm unapologetic, but who doesn't want to win a championship?" Jefferson said when asked Friday about his comments to former NBA player and analyst Kenny Smith.
"If I get an opportunity to play for a championship team, I'm going to go hunting for that," Jefferson, who believes he has two or three years left as a player, told Smith. "I have no loyalty. I'm not one of those guys that played for the same team for 15 years like a Reggie Miller, who has to decide whether or not he's going to do that. No. I'm a gun for hire."
Jefferson said Friday that he's focused on Utah and helping the Jazz's young team improve.
He added that he would be "more than ecstatic" to stay in Utah if it was the best opportunity for him.
"The context was never that I'm unhappy with my situation," he said.
Jazz coach Ty Corbin said he had not heard the interview. When asked about Jefferson's "championship hunting" remarks, the coach said: "Well, we're trying to be a championship-contending team," adding that Jefferson is "part of our family now. Who knows what happens down the road. But we want to make sure we do everything we can to help us be as good as we can be now and focus on this and not anything other than that."
'Learn the business'
The Jazz players elected John Lucas III as their NBAPA representative, a position he's held with other teams. The veteran point guard said Gordon Hayward "didn't really have a choice" in being the team's alternate representative.
"I know the ins and outs of it," Lucas said. "I was trying to get some of the young guys to be a part of it, so they can learn, because I figure I got like five or six more years left ... so it's time for them to learn the business."