Jazz notes • Utah's player rep discusses shake-up in NBPA.
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For Mo Williams, the removal of Billy Hunter from his role as the National Basketball Players Association union chief was important stuff.
"We are going forward as a union," the injured Jazz point guard said, "to try and get everything back on track. Obviously some things have been going on that we, as players, are trying to get more information about."
Hunter was placed on an indefinite leave of absence after an independent investigation revealed that Hunter withheld knowledge that his contract did not undergo the proper approval process, used poor judgment in hiring practices and spent union money inappropriately.
Ron Klempner, a longtime union lawyer, was appointed acting successor to Hunter until the NBPA could vote on its next step.
Hunter was in the public spotlight during last year's lockout, which limited the NBA regular season to 66 games. Williams, the Jazz's player rep, said the lockout made players more aware of union issues.
"The more guys who showed up during the lockout," he said, "the more guys we saw who were confused, if I can say that. So the more we can get everybody educated what's going on, the better it will be. … We can do better if everybody is involved. Hopefully, this is a step in the right direction."
He added: "The good thing is every team has a guy like myself whose job it is to inform their teammates exactly what is going on."
Hayward still waiting
Gordon Hayward continues to sit out with a sprained right shoulder, and coach Tyrone Corbin didn't sound optimistic that the Jazz's top reserve would return for several more days.
Corbin prefers players get a full practice in before returning to the lineup, and the Jazz are unlikely to practice again until Tuesday, between games against Sacramento and Milwaukee.
The Jazz are unlikely to practice Sunday coming off a back-to-back, but Hayward may still be able to get a satisfactory workout in.
"If there's a chance," Corbin said, "we may have to bring the guys in a little bit and see if we can get some action. We'll play it by ear, nothing's written in stone just yet. But we want to do the right thing by Gordon and for this team."
Following Friday's shootaround Hayward said he was getting better "slowly but surely" but that he was not yet good enough to play.
"Certain movements, I still have some problem doing," Hayward said. "It's just some pain [but] until those are gone I won't be able to get out there."
Hayward averages 13.5 points and 2.9 rebounds per game. He also adds to the Jazz's defensive versatility.
Some considered Blazers power forward LaMarcus Aldridge a fringe All-Star, a guy who might have been left off in favor of someone else. However, Corbin doesn't see it that way, saying Aldridge "absolutely" deserved an invitation to his second consecutive All-Star game.
"I think after the last couple of years," Corbin said. "he's actually been understanding how to make himself the tremendous talent that he is, and he's actually been able to expand that by being consistent every night. He's a tough cover from the perimeter for guys to get out, the way he shoots it up top. He can post up, can block shots, can rebound. The versatility of his game, that he's been consistent on both ends of the floor the last couple of years."
Aldridge averages a team-high 20.9 points and 8.9 rebounds per game, and his game has been enhanced by the addition of former Weber State point guard Damian Lillard and center J.J. Hickson.