Lennie Mahler, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Jazz fans who became twitterpated with Earl Watson's skills and style last season received a scare Wednesday afternoon.
HoopsWorld reporter Alex Kennedy reported on Twitter that the free agent point guard is "leaning toward signing with the Atlanta Hawks." That sent fans engaged in a "BringBackEarl" Twitter campaign to reach for the panic button.
Watson, who's taken to the social-media site lately, is trying to alleviate their worries.
"I haven't decided yet," he told the Deseret News. "Can't negotiate till Friday."
From his hometown of Kansas City, Watson also publicly tweeted, "I have not made any commitment to any team yet. ... Awaiting patiently."
Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor reiterated that teams and free agents can't come to terms to new deals until Friday — after the collective bargaining agreement has been ratified.
O'Connor also said it's uncertain whether the Jazz will carry three point guards, which Jerry Sloan liked to do for emergency situations and practice.
Seeing as starter Devin Harris is the only point guard on the currently 11-deep roster, it's obvious that acquiring another playmaker (or two) is a key focal point for the Jazz through free agency or a trade. But O'Connor pointed out that rookie guard Alec Burks "can handle" point guard duties along with his natural shooting guard skills.
"We do need to sign one more guard and a 13th player," O'Connor added, "and don't know where it will come from."
It's also possible the Jazz will bring back backup combo guard Ronnie Price. The former Utah Valley standout has made it clear since last spring that he wants to return to play for Utah, where he's played the past four seasons.
Aside from Price and Watson, the Jazz might be running out of veteran point guard options. Ex-Jazz point Carlos Arroyo, T.J. Ford and Sebastian Telfair are inclined to end up elsewhere, according to various reports.
ANOTHER COACH: O'Connor and Corbin strongly hinted the Jazz could add another member to the coaching staff on Wednesday, and the addition would likely be made by Friday.
The hire might not necessarily be an in-game bench position, Corbin said, but rather a development-focused coach.
Former NBA assistant and 11-year player Mike Sanders has emerged as the likely addition, according to multiple reports, including by Scott Schroeder of D-League-centric website RidiculousUpside.com.
Sanders, a point guard, played 11 NBA seasons for the Spurs, Suns (one season with Corbin), Cavaliers and Pacers. He has served multiple stints as an assistant in the NBA with Detroit, Charlotte and Milwaukee.
"It would be (important). It would help us," Corbin said without naming names. "It would give the staff that's doing all the other stuff more time to focus in on that and the guy can really zoom in on developing guys."
This summer, the Jazz hired former point guard and NBA head coach Sidney Lowe to be Corbin's third assistant along with Scott Layden and Jeff Hornacek.
ANOTHER UNIFORM: In an effort to create support and win back some fans, the Jazz are hosting an open house at EnergySolutions Arena on Friday afternoon to debut an alternate third uniform.
The Jazz will offer free T-shirts, hot dogs, drinks and a sneak peek of the uniform from noon to 2 p.m.
The new duds — and don't be surprised if they're similar to the green ones used two seasons ago — can be used at home or away. They'll go on sale at Fanzz stores Friday.
TICKETS: The Jazz event will also offer access to single-game tickets — along with season packages, mini-plans and holiday packs — for their 33 home contests beginning Friday.
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