ATLANTA — The question came up late Thursday, when Jazz point guard Deron Williams stopped by TNT's Atlanta studios to appear on the cable network's NBA postgame show.
It came from Charles Barkley, who recently has been rather outspoken on the subject of Jazz forward Carlos Boozer and his expiring-after-this-season contract.
Said Barkley: "There has to be tension in your locker room. When you're on a team, everyone has to buy into 'we're trying win' and you think you're going to be together for a long time.
Clearly the elephant in the room is Carlos Boozer, who is going to be a free agent and who you guys are probably not going to re-sign. Is there talk or tension about that at all?"
Answered Williams: "I think in the offseason there was and maybe early on the season, but not now. The way he came back and played and got along with everyone, there's really no tension in the locker room. We've been enjoying playing with each other and we don't know what's going to happen after the season. You don't know what's going to happen until it happens."
Williams also addressed the issues of Utah's road record — 4-7 after Friday's loss at Atlanta — and his NBA All-Star Game candidacy.
On the team's road woes: "It's been a problem the last couple of years," he said. "We seem to get up for the good teams and against the bottom feeders we struggle, they kind of have our number."
On becoming a first-time All-Star: "It would mean a lot to me to be an All-Star, especially since it's in my hometown of Dallas, but it's not the end of the world if I don't make it. I've been disappointed a couple of years now."
FINALLY: His quest recently sidetracked for six games by a bad back, Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko finally passed Greg Ostertag for second place on the franchise's all-time shots-blocked list with 1,253.
He did it against the Hawks on Friday with a second-quarter rejection of a Marvin Williams dunk attempt.
ALUMNI UPDATE: Brevin Knight, the Jazz's backup point guard last season, is working as Charlotte's radio analyst at home games in December, including tonight's against Utah.
Knight lives in Charlotte, and played for the Bobcats from 2004-07.
MISC.: Jazz combo guard Ronnie Price had nine points with 4-for-5 field shooting, all in the fourth quarter, while logging his most extensive action since missing 15 straight games with a toe/foot injury. ... Jazz rookie point guard Eric Maynor plays his first game tonight in his native North Carolina. ... USA Today and Hoopsworld.com reported earlier this week that Orlando Magic guard Jameer Nelson — who tore a knee meniscus four weeks ago — hoped to play as soon as Monday night's game against the Jazz, but the Orlando Sentinel reported Friday that Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said the earliest Nelson could play would be Wednesday vs. Houston. ... Healthy Jazz big man Kosta Koufos was inactive Friday for a third consecutive game. He hasn't played in five straight games, and has appeared in just one of Utah's last nine.
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