Training camp and free agency officially start in a week but things are going as planned. Remember, the lockout hasn't been officially lifted yet. However, the players union officially reformed yesterday after receiving over 300 forms from the players. They will officially vote next week to accept the CBA on the 8th according to Marc Stein. NBA.com has finally reverted back to previous form and UtahJazz.com is showing players again.
While CJ was at the practice facility late Wednesday night, more players joined Thursday with Paul Millsap and Devin Harris reporting. The only people more giddy about being back in the gym are the reporters who get to ask basketball questions now. And with Millsap back, the trade rumors are going to come up. From Jody Genessy,
"I hope I'm here. This is the team that drafted me. I hope to be here for many years," Millsap said. "In the case that it don't happen, you've got to move on."
All I have to say to that is that when you have so many quality players that don't want to come to Utah via free agency, shouldn't you hold on to the ones that want to stay here? That's not saying that any of the other players don't want to be here, but shouldn't we keep the ones that do? We traded a player on a gut feeling that he didn't want to be here yet Karl Malone openly stated several times that he had played his last game in a Jazz uniform and we managed to keep him here.
If it gets to the point where Millsap isn't happy with his role here -- whatever that becomes -- and the team can get good value in return, then so be it. But shouldn't your gut feeling tell you that he wants to be here?
Despite "irresponsible" media members leaking these details a couple of days ago, the Jazz officially announced that the team will play their two preseason games against the Blazers with one at home on the 21st and in Portland on the 19th. There will also be a free open scrimmage on Saturday, December 17th. Tickets to the pre-season game can be found here. They range from $8 to $100.
The regular season schedule won't be released until December 6th when it will be revealed on NBA TV. They've never made a big deal out of the schedule release before but I'm guessing that NBA TV is hurting for anything right now. No word on whether Stern will be wearing a plaid shirt and if the schedule won't be announced until five minutes before the special ends. I suspect though that there will be leaks prior to Tuesday.
Randy Rigby stated on KFAN the other day that he expects the Jazz to have more B2B2B games that most because of their insistence of no Sunday games at home. Every team will have at least one and the most a team will have is three. Don't be surprised then if the Jazz are one of the teams with three.
Travis Hansen spoke with Andrei Kirilenko recently on the NBA, adoption, the Jimmer, and the Book of Mormon. Hansen played in Russia and knows AK while they both trained for the Russian national team. Hansen was granted dual citizenship. AK on his return to the NBA,
Before Dec. 9th I will listen to offers from the NBA. I am happy in CSKA and it will be a tough decision. Utah Jazz is in my heart and is on the priority list. I will look at everything on the table. You know here in Russia my kids are in school, the team is great and I have been playing really well. It will be a difficult decision.
I haven't gotten the feeling that the Jazz want him back. I'm sure there will be discussions but it seems as if he's not part of the overall plan and the direction that the team are going. He stated that he's looking to play three to four more years.
Brian T. Smith reported that the Jazz haven't actively pursued AK while they have looked into a few other FAs,
Utah has expressed initial exploratory interest in unrestricted free agents Rasual Butler, Sebastian Telfair and Roger Mason, a source said. Meanwhile, a source close to forward Andrei Kirilenko gave no indication the Jazz are actively attempting to re-sign him. Kirilenko did draw immediate interest from multiple teams, though.
I think AK will get an offer he can't refuse from another team. It won't be for money though, it will be because of opportunity.
In that same BTS article, he lists what the Jazz are apparently looking for in free agency,
The main areas the Jazz are expected to target during free agency: two backup point guard spots, small forward and perhaps shooting guard.
Greg tweeted out this home video -- which moni had linked to the day before -- showing players getting ready for a playoff basketball game. That video spawned one of the greatest gifs of all-time from moni,