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Plenty of action for Jazz players — off the court

Published: Sunday, Dec. 4 2011 9:50 p.m. MST

SALT LAKE CITY — Real basketball action remains a few weeks away.

This week, however, will be action-packed for everybody involved with the NBA.

Out-of-Utah Jazz players, for instance, must complete their final to-do lists at home, pack for the season and head to the Wasatch Front from as far away as Miami (Raja Bell) and Turkey (Mehmet Okur).

General managers have to rapidly work to throw together deals and full rosters, although transactions can't officially take place until Friday.

The NBA has to release its schedule, which it will do live on NBA-TV at 5 p..m. Tuesday.

The tentative collective bargaining agreement's B-level issues — such as age eligibility — have to be ironed out, and then players and owners will have to ratify the labor deal to keep the wheels moving toward the Dec. 25 season-opener.

Coaches have to put the final touches on their training camp itinerary for Friday's first practice session.

And fans have to decide whether or not they're willing to forgive and/or forget everybody involved in the lockout, which has had the league shutdown since July 1.

"It's a fun time in the NBA right now," Jazz point guard Devin Harris said.

Finally.

Harris is among Utah's players who'll be returning this week. He made a quick visit last week, giving him enough time to do house-hunting and work out in the practice facility.

Most of the 11 Jazz players are expected to be here by Tuesday or Wednesday..

The sooner, the better for Paul Millsap, who is in town. He hopes Jazz players can get together for informal workouts and scrimmages before camp begins.

The hope, Millsap said, is "to get a little chemistry going, to go out and run. It's going to help us."

Harris said it's important for the team to get into a routine as quickly as possible.

Second-year swingman Gordon Hayward tweeted out his excitement before leaving Indiana for Utah this weekend: "Back to the #801 tomorrow ! Excited! #jazznation."

Today will be the first day NBA teams can talk with free agents, ESPN reported. Deals can't be struck until the player-movement period officially begins Friday, meaning most camps will start without their full teams.

GOOD NEWS: Bell was in New York for the important players' meeting that resulted in the union disbanding. But a complication with his wife's pregnancy prompted the Jazz player representative to quickly return home and miss that session.

Bell said his wife, Cindy, was put on bed rest for a little while, but she has improved.

"She's moving around," he said. "She's all good."

The Bells' third child is due in January.

KEEPING PERSPECTIVE: Bell's response when asked if he feared the 2011-12 season would be lost before the surprising resolution:

"I hadn't really given up hope. I just kind of went about my life," the Jazz veteran said. "Basketball's my job. It's what I love to do, but I tried my best not to let it consume me and take away from the time I get to spend with my family and the things I love to do here in South Florida. I just kind of went about my business."

Email: jody@desnews.com

Twitter: DJJazzyJody

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