MIAMI — When Eric Maynor phoned and said he'd been traded to Oklahoma City — three days before Christmas — Jazz guard Ronnie Price, napping at the time, thought his teammate was joking.
It's what NBA players do.
Maynor, however, wasn't kidding.
He was dealt Tuesday along with the expiring contract of veteran forward Matt Harpring for the rights to a forward from Germany who will never play a day in Utah, all so the Jazz could save more than $10 million, including nearly $7.8 million in luxury-tax penalties.
"I just said, 'Hey man, it has nothing to do with your play. It has nothing to do with anything that you do on the court. It's just a money situation, and a business situation,' " said Price, who immediately went to Maynor's room and consoled the rookie at the Jazz's team hotel here in Miami.
"I said, 'There's plenty of players that's been in this league that had to go through the things that you're going through right now. But you know what? Everything happens for a reason.
And who knows? It might be a better opportunity for you over in Oklahoma City to grow.' "
Price and teammate Wesley Matthews both said Maynor — who joined the Thunder on Wednesday night for its game at Phoenix — was stunned by the news.
"It really did hit home, how fragile everything is," said Matthews, who awoke to the news as well.
"He's in good spirits, and he's just gonna keep moving," added Matthews, Maynor's close friend, before Utah's game Wednesday at Miami.
"He's gonna keep rolling."
Like Price, Jazz starting point guard Deron Williams — who also woke up to the news — is confident Maynor will thrive in Oklahoma City.
"It's definitely going to help their team a lot," Williams said. "It's a (Northwest) division team, so you don't like to see them get better."
Many with the Jazz, though, seemed to accept the deal Wednesday as a reality of their world.
"We coach whoever's here," said coach Jerry Sloan, who broke the news to Maynor.
"That's the only thing I know. ... We've always known there are certain parameters we work under, and you don't do anything about that."
"It makes sense financial-wise. Other than that, it doesn't really make much sense. But you understand why it was done. It was a business move. And, you know, this is a business," Williams said. "I mean, we're saving a lot of money. I know that's important to a lot of teams right now. Like I said, it makes sense business-wise. But as far as helping our team, it doesn't help our team at all."
MORE TRADE REACTION:
Maynor, on his Twitter account: "i wus always told everything happens for a reason."
Harpring, speaking to Fanhouse.com: "It doesn't matter to me. It just means my checks will come from the Thunder. ... (Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor) told me this is strictly financial and that 'You're helping the Jazz.' He said, 'You're still a Jazz guy. We all know that.' "
ESPN.com's Marc Stein: "No way Utah could say no to shedding that much payroll — without surrendering a true core piece — no matter how much you like Maynor."
ESPN.com's John Hollinger: "Utah effectively donated Maynor to Oklahoma City because of the mind-boggling financial savings. ... The big question for Jazz fans, however, is whether this portends a trade of Carlos Boozer.
The Jazz could conceivably slide all the way under the tax line by trading Boozer and receiving a player or players with non-guaranteed contracts, especially if Utah includes Kyle Korver's expiring contract in the swap."55 comments on this story
HE BLOGGED IT: Orlando Magic star Dwight Howard, talking about perhaps playing with Boozer when the Jazz forward — his good friend, and a Team USA teammate — becomes a free agent next offseason: "Of course, that would be a dream come true for both of us, but we'll have to see what happens."
Howard hosted Boozer at his house last Sunday, and the two watched NBA games together on TV one day before Utah lost at Orlando.
"I got to hang out with my man, Carlos Boozer, for a little while," Howard blogged on his Web site. "That guy is like my big brother and my closest friend not on the Magic. ... That's my guy, C-Booz."