Jazzmen not immune to trade rumors

Feb 20 2013 - 5:47pm

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SALT LAKE CITY - Paul Millsap hears his name in trade rumors and he figures that's probably a good thing. 

The Jazz power forward's name has been in the news lately, specifically regarding a trade rumor that surfaced over the weekend, hinting he may be dealt to the Los Angeles Clippers. 

The trade deadline is set for Thursday at 1 p.m. MST. 

Good luck getting a Jazz official to comment on a trade rumor. As for Millsap, though, he said it's nice to be wanted. 

"You're name's being called, obviously somebody wants you," he said. "That's how you've got to look at it. I try to keep it positive. When they're not talking about you is when you should be concerned."

Millsap, 28, is now in his seventh season with the Jazz. No other player on the roster has been with the franchise longer. He is in the final year of his contract and can become a free agent before next season. 

The most recent rumor involving Millsap is a deal with the Clippers that would send Millsap to L.A. in exchange for point guard Eric Bledsoe, who has two years and a player option remaining on his contract. 

The ESPN report which surfaced over the weekend indicated there is mutual interest between the Jazz and Clippers in "exploring" a deal.

Jazz center Al Jefferson also is in the final year of his contract. Like Millsap's, his name has also been in the rumor mill. 

"I don't feed into the rumors," he said.

Jefferson, 28, said he believes the Jazz are so professional in the way they conduct their business, it's hard to imagine them leaking information to the press. 

"One thing I know about Utah, they're very professional," he said. "If a trade does go down, we won't know until our agent calls or we see it on ESPN."

Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said Wednesday he is pleased with his team, which beat Golden State to move into a virtual tie for the No. 6 spot in the Western Conference playoff chase. He gave credit to his players, particularly Millsap and Jefferson for not allowing the trade deadline to cause a distraction. 

"They've been tremendous, just going out and doing whatever they can to help this team and help us be as good as we can be right now," he said. "(They are) not worrying about things they can control. We really appreciate their focus."

Jefferson scored 24 points and added five rebounds and three blocks in Tuesday's win. Millsap finished with 14 points and nine boards. 

"I love everybody on this team," Corbin said. "I love what these guys bring. I love how they've stayed focused and (are) trying to get better from where we are right now."

"These are Utah Jazz kind of guys, from 1 to 14," he added. "These guys have been great for us."

The Jazz were hampered by injuries throughout much of the first half of the season. 

Swingman Gordon Hayward missed 10 games with a sprained right shoulder, finally returning to action against the Warriors. He scored 17 points in 24 minutes off the bench.

Starting point guard Mo Williams suffered a right thumb injury just before Christmas and required surgery to repair ligaments. 

He spent six weeks in a cast and last week underwent are procedure to remove two pins from his thumb. 

Williams, who averaged 12.9 points and 6.7 assists per game, has not played since Dec. 22. 

Corbin said the 30-year-old has been doing a few basketball-related drills with the team but has yet to participate in a full practice. 

After six weeks in a cast, Williams' thumb is sore and stiff. 

"He's can't move it and it's weak," Corbin said. "As he can take the soreness or the pain or whatever that is, with the ball in his hands, then proceed."

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