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Utah Jazz face tough personnel decisions

Published: Friday, Dec. 16 2011 10:00 p.m. MST

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Jazz now have enough guys on guaranteed contracts to fill an NBA roster.

Small forward Josh Howard is Lucky No. 13.

That leaves decisions for the Jazz between now and the end of next week, when rosters must be trimmed to between 13-15 players ahead of the Dec. 25 NBA tipoff.

Utah has 18 players in camp, counting Howard. That puts 3-5 guys on the chopping block.

"They're making it tough on us because they've competed so hard," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said.

The good news for campers is that nothing will be officially decided until Utah returns from its first preseason game in Portland on Monday.

The NBA hopefuls most likely affected by the former All-Star's signing are free-agent forwards Trey Gilder and Paul Carter, whose contracts aren't guaranteed.

But their fate isn't necessarily doomed.

"I don't know," Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor said when asked if Utah's roster is finalized. "I don't think we're going to cut somebody if we think they can really play in the league."

O'Connor hasn't ruled out a possible trade.

The Jazz aren't divulging whether they will keep a third point guard as they have in the past, either.

Jamaal Tinsley, Keith McLeod and Scottie Reynolds are the non-guaranteed contract guards in camp trying to earn their way onto the team.

Corbin likes the idea of adding another point guard, perhaps a combo guy, to give depth and versatility (think small ball).

"I think it will help us," he said. "We'll see how things work out and what we're allowed to do."

Friday was the final day the Jazz could have used the amnesty option from the new collective bargaining agreement, but O'Connor confirmed that wouldn't happen this year.

HEADBANNED: The first order of business for Corbin to address to the media before practice was whether Josh Howard could sport his trademark sweat-stopping piece of cotton.

Corbin's Jerry Sloan-approved comment was accompanied with a chuckle.

"He used to wear a headband," Corbin said of Howard.

If the Jazz change their minds — which they won't — rule-abiding forward C.J. Miles said he'll join Howard in the headband category.

"If he wears one," Miles said, "then I'll wear one with him."

Told of Corbin's definitive anti-headband statement, Miles quickly added with a smile: "Well, then, there it is."

Or isn't.

IN-N-OUT: Center Al Jefferson stretched but did not participate in practice Friday because of a sore left hamstring. His status for today's practice and scrimmage is unknown.

Tinsley, however, did practice again after missing three practices this week due to stomach flu. The veteran earned the praise of Corbin because he tried to practice through his illness when it initially hit him. Jazz training staff eventually advised him to rest.

"He understands the sense of urgency for him, and how hard he wants to show his best basketball, and he's done that," Corbin said. "He's played well, showed himself well. It's unfortunate he got sick."

Jazz play tonight

For the first time since April 13, Jazz fans can catch a glimpse of their entire team on the court together tonight. The annual intrasquad scrimmage begins at 7 p.m., with EnergySolutions Arena doors opening at 6:30. Admission is free. The game will not be televised.

—Jody Genessy

Email: jody@desnews.com

Twitter: DJJazzyJody

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