SALT LAKE CITY — They'll probably wait until after practice Sunday morning to make their decision known, and they don't have to inform the NBA office until it opens for business Monday.
But the Jazz certainly seemed inclined Saturday to sign rookie point guard Sundiata Gaines for the rest of the season, a decision that must be made because his second 10-day contract expires after today.
"He's carried himself well," general manager Kevin O'Connor said.
"He's done a good job in practice trying to learn what we're trying to do," Coach Jerry Sloan added, "and we like what he's done so far."
Teammates have taken a liking to him, too.
"I think he's done a great job," starting point guard Deron Williams said. "He's coach's type of guy — he doesn't say much, he works hard."
O'Connor repeatedly has said Gaines, a University of Georgia product signed from the Idaho Stampede of the NBA Development League, will be judged on his "body of work" and not just the recent game-winning 3-pointer he hit to beat LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
"The body of work has been good," he said. "Not just the shot.
"I mean, if you look at that game, he really did a good job of trying to guard Mo Williams down the stretch. And he really found people on the pick-and-roll late in the game against Cleveland and the other games he's gotten in."
O'Connor also suggested Sloan's preference for continuity will play a part in the decision.
"Our DNA is that that's what we'd rather do, and that's what coach would rather do," he said. "And my job is to make coach feel comfortable in that respect."
Gaines, for his part, said he felt "confident" about the pending decision. But the 24-year-old was taking nothing for granted.
He said he's still trying to learn the Jazz offense, and acknowledged having his contract guaranteed for the rest of the season would "mean a lot." He's earning a pro-rated NBA minimum $457,588, and if retained will make another $215,336 on top of the $53,834 he's already pocketed.
That compares to a D-League salary of about $19,000.
"Some people say 'Worry about it,' Some people say, 'Don't,' " he said. "For me, I just play basketball. That's what it comes down to for me, and from there everything else will take its course."
The Jazz are 7-2, including Saturday's home win over New Jersey, since signing Gaines to fill their 13th roster spot — left vacant when Eric Maynor was traded to Oklahoma City,.
Not that he takes credit for all that.
"My main thing was to bring energy," Gaines said, "and I definitely saw a little jump of energy with the team, so that's a plus."
LOOKING AHEAD: Jazz forward Carlos Boozer dodged a bit when asked if a team with a track record like Jersey's — the Nets went into Saturday's game with just three wins, but should have ample team payroll salary cap space for next season — would make him shy away from signing with them in the offseason.
"It's one of those things you look at, you evaluate, this summer as a free agent," he said. "But, at the same time, my point is for us as a team is we can't worry about what they're going through. We've got to worry about what we're going through."
When pressed, though, Boozer did suggest it could play a part in future decision-making.
"I think for anybody that wants to win," he said, "it would be tough to walk into a situation like that."
The Nets were among multiple teams that supposedly had interest in Boozer last season.
FESENKO UPDATE: Jazz backup center Kyrylo Fesenko, still wearing a walking boot Saturday, missed a fourth straight game due to his sprained left ankle. Second-season big man Kosta Koufos was on the active roster for a fourth consecutive game.
TV TALK: Usual Jazz TV play-by-play announcer Craig Bolerjack called Saturday's Ole Miss-Alabama college basketball game for CBS, so Steve Brown filled in on FSN Utah's broadcast of Saturday's Jazz-Nets game.
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