Tom Smart, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — The NBA trade deadline has come and gone, but the Utah Jazz roster remains the same.
Though general manager Kevin O'Connor said they Jazz were "actively looking" to improve their team leading up to today's 1 p.m. deal cutoff, nothing transpired on the trade front on what was an active wheeling and dealing day around the league.
Jazz PR director Jonathan Rinehart confirmed that Utah did not make a trade.
Four Jazz players' names came up in late rumors around the NBA, including Raja Bell, Josh Howard, C.J. Miles and Jamaal Tinsley.
O'Connor hinted that the Jazz might be better off to wait until this offseason — either at the June draft or going into training camp — to strike a deal with the "flexibility" he has with the makeup of his roster and trade exceptions.
"One thing you've got to consider if you do make a trade, you've got 20-22 games left by the time the guy gets here if you make the trade, first thing," O'Connor said earlier this week. "And then second thing, if you add up the number of practices that you have, you don't have a whole lot of practices (after) doing it. That's go to play into it a little bit because maybe you can make the same deal during the summer."
Regarding the Jazz's interest in being involved in trades, O'Connor admitted earlier this week, "We're active. We're listening. We're aggressive in trying to talk (about) things."
Coach Tyrone Corbin admitted players get "anxious" at trade deadline time, and O'Connor believes most players will feel relieved now that nothing happened.
"On March 15 at 1 o'clock or 2 o'clock, most of the guys are happy that they haven't been traded," O'Connor said Monday.
The Jazz will have nine players under contract at the end of this season, with about $50 million in salary tied up.
Players under contract through at least the end of the 2012-13 season include: Raja Bell, Alec Burks, Derrick Favors, Devin Harris, Gordon Hayward, Al Jefferson, Enes Kanter, Paul Millsap and Earl Watson.
Players whose contracts expire at the end of this season include DeMarre Carroll, Jeremy Evans, Josh Howard, C.J. Miles and Jamaal Tinsley.
That means at the very least, the Jazz will have to pick up or re-sign at least four players to reach the roster minimum of 13.
Utah also has a valuable $10.8 million trade exception from the Mehmet Okur swap, giving the Jazz multiple wheeling and dealing options this offseason.
As for tonight's game, the Jazz will look to bounce back after a defensive collapse in their 120-111 loss at Phoenix in which the Suns shot 56 percent and scored 98 points over the final three quarters.
Utah, however, will be without reserve spark plug Earl Watson, who left the team to receive laser treatment on his moderately sprained left ankle. Watson missed one game in early February after spraining the same ankle. He did not return after twisting it five minutes into the second quarter Wednesday night at US Airways Center.
The Jazz also announced that Raja Bell will be a game-time decision because of his recurring sprained left adductor (groin).
The T-Wolves will be without point guard Ricky Rubio for the 7 p.m. MT tipoff at EnergySolutions Arena. The Spanish standout is out for the season with a knee injury.
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