Utah Jazz: Al Jefferson says he's upset at loss, not Tyrone Corbin
SALT LAKE CITY — After waving off media Monday night, Jazz center Al Jefferson spoke to reporters at Wednesday's practice.
But he didn't moan about sitting out the fourth quarter and overtime in the loss to Washington. Jefferson didn't groan about his coach, either.
Big Al did squelch any speculation — reported or otherwise — that he has a beef with his bench boss.
"(Coach) made a joke about it earlier," he said, "and I kind of got upset because I really hate it when people put words in my mouth or say that I'm upset about something."
Which, he insisted, isn't the case — aside from the sniffles (and speculation).
"Besides this cold I got, I got no problem. I'm not upset about nothing, especially with coach," Jefferson said. "I think coach is doing a wonderful job. I don't know. I guess that just it — people don't have nothing else to write about. They just want to make up some stuff. I don't have no problem with coach."
Though Jefferson left the door open for conjecture that he was upset for not finishing the game by not talking to media Monday night, he said that wasn't his reason for the silent treatment.
"I have a right to be upset. We just lost a game that we should've won," Jefferson said. "I was more upset for the simple fact that the young guys played hard and get us back into the game and push it in overtime and lose, but not one time did I say I was upset with coach or anybody else."
Jefferson believes media try to ask questions to stir the pot, something he also said when asked Monday about his ejection Saturday.
"And," he added, "I'm pretty sure there's going to be many more nights when I'm not going to want to talk to y'all, but that don't mean I'm upset with my coach."
According to Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor, Jefferson will be required to talk to reporters even on those upset nights. It's team and NBA policy for players to make themselves available.
"He'll address the press afterwards, as far as that goes," O'Connor said. "You've got a job to do. We've got a job to do. Players have a job to do and we'll make sure that all of our jobs are done and done professionally."
After his interview Wednesday, Jefferson did chide one reporter, whom he thought unfairly connected dots between him not playing, not talking to media and being miffed at Corbin in an article Tuesday. He eventually stopped answering that reporter, who didn't get responses after asking whether the Jazz had given up on the playoffs and if Corbin had mentioned at halftime that the rookies would play more.
Jefferson laughed when asked by a different reporter if he'd be in the starting lineup Friday against the Lakers.
"I would think so. I don't see why not. Like I said, me and coach talked. I don't think he has a reason not to start me. This is funny to me," Jefferson said. "This is coming out of nowhere. ... I guess that's why my agent called me this morning and asked me if everything's OK, and I'm like 'Yeah, everything's fine.'"
On Monday, Corbin said he was not sending a message to Jefferson by sitting him. He also explained that Paul Millsap returned because rookie Jeremy Evans was tired, and Earl Watson replaced a banged-up Ronnie Price. Derrick Favors stayed in for Jefferson.
When pressed about Jefferson not getting back into the game, Corbin replied: "What are you looking for? I thought that the group I had on the floor was playing well and I rewarded them with more time on the floor."
Corbin gave duplicate responses when asked about Jefferson not seeming happy about sitting and not talking to media afterward: "Talk to Al about that."
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