Utah Jazz players welcome time off

Most heading out of state for a vacation during All-Star break

Published: Friday, Feb. 13 2009 12:00 a.m. MST

None of them are headed to Phoenix, where the NBA is putting on its annual All-Star Weekend extravaganza, but most Utah Jazz players headed out of town for a much-needed break.

The majority of them went out of state. Some even left the country. One coach headed out to the country.

One player, however, might be seen window-shopping or creating a furry friend at the Build-a-Bear across the street from EnergySolutions Arena.

"I still don't know where I'm going to go," said Jazz center Kyrylo Fesenko. "Probably I'm going to go to The Gateway."

Rest assured, he'll be the only Jazz player who's contemplating a march around this mall during this midseason vacation.

For the next four days, Fes' teammates will be spread out from coast-to-coast and all over the continent — from Southern California, to the Deep South, to South Beach, to somewhere south of the border.

Backup guard Brevin Knight might've been more excited to leave than anyone. Because he's played for nine teams during his 12-year NBA career, Knight and his wife, Deena, decided to take up permanent residence in Charlotte, N.C. To avoid a killer Tobacco-Road-to-the-Wasatch-Front commute, Knight lives in Utah during the season while his family stays on the other side of the country.

That's why Knight was eagerly anticipating a red-eye flight after Wednesday's win over the Lakers. He could hardly wait to go "home" — which he said with a huge smile — to see his three children.

Quality time is on his itinerary.

"They have their 'Daddy Countdown' going," Knight said. "I'm excited, too."

Mehmet Okur tried to keep his plans on the down low. In the jovial locker room late Wednesday, Okur joked with an inquiring Fesenko that he was flying to Turkey. He even invited the Ukrainian to come along with him for the 15-hour flight.

Okur smiled but wouldn't reveal his real itinerary to reporters during the postgame interview. "I can't tell you right now," he said, not adding the "or I'd have to kill you" part. "It's a secret."

(Psssst. Andrei Kirilenko let the cat out of the baggage. Okur is heading to Mexico with the Russian forward, Kyle Korver and Deron Williams.)

Kirilenko was going to visit Russia, but he opted to check out Mexico for the first time because of his recent ankle surgery.

What part? OK, besides the Spanish-speaking part?

Well, that's a secret, too.

"Not Tijuana," Korver said.

Williams didn't divulge any vacation plans, either. He's just hoping he finds a comfortable corner in (shhhhh ...) Mexico.

"I'm just going to relax, man," Williams said with a smile. "Get some rest." He — and the other Jazz guys — have until 6 p.m. Monday to soak up some sun and get some R&R. That's when the team practices again.

Until then ...

• Rookie Kosta Koufos will be in Ohio with his mom and — this should come as no surprise considering how big of a hoopsaholic he is — "playing more basketball."

• Jarron Collins will be spending time in his old stomping grounds in the Los Angeles area.

• Carlos Boozer will be at his home in Miami, rehabbing his surgically repaired left knee in hopes of returning to the court soon after the All-Star break.

• Ronnie Price will be at a relative's home in St. George, enjoying the company of his wife's family.

• Paul Millsap, Ronnie Brewer and C.J. Miles will be hanging out at their families' homes in Louisiana, Arkansas and Texas, respectively.

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