Utah Jazz players focus on what they can do, not rumors
Ross D. Franklin, Associated Press
PHOENIX — C.J. Miles had a tattoo inked onto his forearm to help him get through challenging times. Reading from the Bible he carries around also helps.
Inner peace is hard enough to find when your routine is normal, but solace is even trickier to obtain with uncertainty permeating the locker room air leading up to the NBA's trade deadline (today at 1 p.m. MT).
"It's a tough time," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. "You don't know. You can't control that. You just have to play and as much as you can not wreck your mind thinking about it the whole time."
That's the gist of what was said Wednesday by the four Jazz players whose names popped up in trade rumors over the past couple of days.
Starters Raja Bell and Josh Howard along with Miles and fellow reserve Jamaal Tinsley said they're tuning out trade talk. None had any concrete information to share, either.
"I'm happy to be here. I'm happy to get a chance to play," said Miles, who has been with the Jazz since 2005. "I'm happy to get a chance to help my team win when I can, and that's all I can really worry about."
When the storm clouds enter his soul, though, Miles, a preacher's son, recites the words found on his right arm for comfort. They read:
"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference."
That Serenity Prayer is so important to Miles, he rubs the tattoo as part of his pregame ritual. It's his "mental reminder."
"I've got it tatted on my arm for a reason," he said. "All I can worry about is tonight, try to help my team win a game today. … If you miss shots, so be it. All you can control is the next one."
Howard said he hadn't heard news about his name coming up in trade talk, although it didn't shock him.
"I've been a part of this league for nine years. Nothing new. Nothing surprises me," Howard said. "All you can do is be a professional with the team you're with at the time and if it happens, it happens. If it don't, continue to play the way you've been playing."
Ditto for Tinsley.
"I still approach it the way I've been approaching it," Tinsley said. "I can't control that anyway. The only thing I can control is being ready when my number being called and do what I do."
Tinsley has had the fewest playing opportunities on this Jazz team aside from new forward DeMarre Carroll, but he likes where he's at and complimented Devin Harris and Earl Watson for being "two good guys" ahead of him in the playing time pecking order.
"Everybody want more playing time," Tinsley said. "But I'm in a good situation. I have good teammates, a good coaching staff, a good organization."
As for Bell, who's been traded midseason twice in his 12-year career, he said being dealt is especially tough on players' families. To that point, Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor said that is one reason he doesn't like proposed swaps or discussed players being bandied about in public.
"I don't even concern myself. It's not cliché when I tell you there's nothing I can do about it," Bell said. "To be hanging on every rumor that's in the wind … wondering what's going to happen would just drive me crazy. It's just not worth it."
Corbin was traded multiple times during his 16-year NBA career so he knows all too well how difficult this period can be for players.
The Jazz coach had all 14 players with him in Phoenix, so Wednesday was just another day.
"We didn't have anybody sitting out saying (to them), 'Don't get hurt,'" Corbin joked.
But even he wasn't sure if the entire team would still be together for tonight's game against the Timberwolves.
"We aren't planning anything (as of Wednesday)," Corbin added, "but you never know what can happen last minute."
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