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When the San Antonio Spurs traded away Boris Diaw last summer, coach Gregg Popovich lost more more than a savvy veteran big man with a flare for playmaking.

"It made our dinners a lot less fun," the coach said Wednesday, when asked about the trade. "He was one of the only guys who would drink with me. I try to corrupt all my players with wine. He was easy. He was an easy target."

The Jazz acquired Diaw and cash last summer in exchange for the rights to former second-round pick Olivier Hanlan, knowing they would get a smart player. They did not, however, expect to have to rely on Diaw as much.

But due to a series of injuries to Derrick Favors, the 34-year-old Diaw started his 34th game of the season, the most starts he has made since the 2011-12 campaign.

Along the way, Diaw has averaged 4.6 points and 2.3 assists in 17 minutes per game.

"You miss Boris because his basketball IQ is really high," Popovich said. "Every once in a while you have to threaten him to shoot the ball. A couple of little things like that. Every player has little things that you get on them for. [But] he's a great team player. He's a great teammate for everybody and he really knows how to play. We do miss that. … A lot of corporate knowledge, but Boris has brought that here and Quin [Snyder] knew he would. He's been good for them."


Rudy Gobert is great at catching lobs. Jazz fans are about to see how good he is at lobbying.

Gobert's $100 million contract extension kicks in next season, but that money won't mean as much if he's suddenly playing without all-star forward Gordon Hayward.

To that end, Gobert plans to pitch Hayward, who is likely to opt out of his contract this summer and become a free agent, on sticking around Salt Lake City.

"I know he likes it here," Gobert said recently. "He wants to win. Over everything he wants to win. Sometimes you got personal decisions, but I'm going to lobby my best."

Last man sitting

The Jazz's injury report Wednesday was as empty as it has been in a long time. Only backup point guard Raul Neto was sidelined, as he recovers from a sprained ankle.

Twitter: @aaronfalk