The Jazz were still debating late this week whether to pick up the third-year option on reserve center Kyrylo Fesenko's rookie contract.
And although their ultimate decision is not expected for a few more days, indications seemingly suggest they were leaning toward exercising the $870,000 option for next season.
Pros and cons believed to be under consideration include weighing Fesenko's potential, the investment the Jazz already have in him and his relatively inexpensive price tag versus issues surrounding his maturity and level of dedication to the game.
The 2007 second-round draft choice appeared in 30 games during his first two NBA seasons but has never won a regular-rotation job.
Including salary from his first two NBA years and the buyout they paid Fesenko's former club in his native Ukraine, the Jazz have spent more than $2 million on the 7-foot-1, 300-pounder.
There's also a chance he could develop elsewhere in the league, perhaps Sacramento, where his former agent, Jason Levien, is now an assistant general manager.
Combine those facts with his size and sub-$1 million salary, and a case perhaps can made that bringing him back for a third season in Utah makes sense.
On the other hand, however, coach Jerry Sloan spoke after the Jazz's season ended with a first-round playoff loss to the Los Angeles Lakers about how the team needed players committed to winning.
Fesenko's happy-go-lucky personality, questionable commitment to training demands and recent off-court social networking activity via means including Facebook posts — including questioning how he sparingly he was used in the playoffs — could be viewed by some as cause for concern.
Fesenko, 22, also will no longer be eligible to be sent by the Jazz to the NBA Development League, which they did for parts of the past two seasons.
GM Kevin O'Connor wouldn't comment this week on the team's plans for Fesenko, and a decision on exercising the option likely won't be made known until Monday's deadline for doing so.
BEAR HUG: Sloan and retired point guard John Stockton are headed to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in September, but another franchise member has been inducted into a different hall.
Jazz mascot Bear was enshrined Thursday into the Utah Summer Games Hall of Honor at Southern Utah University — in a ceremony coinciding with a kickoff of the state's annual amateur sports competition.
Bear, inducted into the Mascot Hall of Fame in 2006, has been a Summer Games regular since beginning his Jazz career in 1994.
Other Jazz-organization members honored by this hall include late owner Larry H. Miller, retired broadcaster Hot Rod Hundley, former coach and president Frank Layden and former players Mark Eaton and Thurl Bailey.
NBA RANKINGS: ESPN.com writer John Hollinger devised a formula to rank the best overall NBA franchises, and it'll likely surprise few which two topped his chart.
The Jazz were ranked No. 7, trailing (in order) the Lakers, Boston, San Antonio, Chicago, Phoenix and Philadelphia.
Memphis is last, at No. 30, just ahead of the Los Angeles Clippers.
In Hollinger's system, each franchise received or lost points for wins (giving more weight to playoff victories), championships, all-star selections, intangibles, relocation and even ABA playoff results.
Although Hollinger dubbed Phoenix the "best franchise never to win a championship," he credited Utah for reversing its fortunes following six rough years in New Orleans.
"It's amazing," he wrote, "that a franchise that started so badly could end up being so good for so long."
MISC.: According to New Orleans Times Picayune reports, former Jazz guard Randy Livingston and fellow New Orleans native and NBA retiree Robert Pack are among the candidates for an assistant coaching vacancy with the New Orleans Hornets. Various online mock drafts updated this week now project the Jazz will take University of Pittsburgh swingman Sam Young (ESPN.com, SI.com), University of North Carolina power forward Tyler Hansbrough (DraftExpress.com, NBADraft.net) or Gonzaga forward Austin Daye (InsideHoops.com). Reports from Europe are that one of the Jazz's second-round picks last year, Serbian forward Tadija Dragicevic, has announced he'll soon leave his Adriatic League team, Crvena Zvezda — even though he's under contract for another year. However, neither Dragicevic nor Utah's other second-rounder from 2008, 7-foot-2 Croatian center Ante Tomic, will join the Jazz next season.
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