Utah Jazz notebook: Center Al Jefferson doesn't want to talk free agency for now
Ravell Call, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Al Jefferson, like the majority of his teammates, will be on the open market this upcoming offseason, but the Jazz center didn't take the bait when asked about free agency Monday morning.
"Nah," Jefferson said at shootaround when asked if he's pondering his future. "Actually, I haven't thought about it. That's something else that I don't want on my mind right now."
Jefferson said he'll have plenty of time to deal with his next contract this summer when he becomes an unrestricted free agent.
"It's all about taking care of this season right there with my teammates," said Big Al, who's in his third year in Utah. "Whatever's going to happen this summer's going to happen regardless. I'm just taking it one game at a time, like I always say, and trying to get this team back to the playoffs."
Jefferson didn't change his tune when asked a follow-up question by a Dallas reporter about whether he could possibly be a good fit with the Mavericks in the future.
"Well, the only team I'm looking at right now is the Utah Jazz as a good fit because that's the team I'm with right now," he said. "I don’t think outside of the box like that. I know I'm not giving you the answer you want, but I'm just being honest because I don't believe in having a lot of things on my mind."
It was then joked that Dallas owner Mark Cuban wouldn’t want to hear an answer like that.
"Like I said, I'm with the Utah Jazz and we're trying to climb over this mountain we have right now," Jefferson said. "That's what I'm trying to do."
The Jazz have nine players on their roster who will be free agents this offseason, including Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Randy Foye, Mo Williams, Jamaal Tinsley, Earl Watson, Raja Bell, DeMarre Carroll and Kevin Murphy.
If Marvin Williams doesn't take his player option, he'll also become an unrestricted free agent.
Jefferson said that the team's uncertain future isn't affecting it.
"I think everybody (is) handling it well. When we going through our little rough time, we stay together," he said. "That's when you know you've got a good group of guys around you — no selfishness or guys worrying about other things. Everybody want to win, want to get the team back to where we need to be, so I think everybody is handling it well."
EAR FEAR: Millsap continues to wear a bandage on his right ear, which required three stitches after a collision in Phoenix during Friday night's game.
The tough power forward cracked a grin when asked if he's peaked to see what his wound looks like.
"I'm too nervous to do it," he said. "I don't want to see it."
Not surprisingly, Jazz personnel haven't held back telling him what to expect.
"Some people say I've got a chunk out of my ear. Some say it's sliced up," Millsap said. "I'm too scared to look at it, really."
NO FEVER: Even before he shaved his fuzzy face and cut his shaggy hair Monday afternoon, the boyish-looking Gordon Hayward was asked if he felt pressure to live up to the hype of the last person who performed at EnergySolutions Arena — Justin Bieber.
"No," he said. "I saw some vans the other day that had all kinds of stuff about Justin Bieber on them, so I’m sure he had a good turnout here in Utah."
Hayward was in Denver, so, no, the young NBA player did not attend the concert.
Two days after Bieber Fever swept through the state, Jazz fans might have experienced Hay(ward) Fever on Monday after the swingman scored a season-high 27 points and played a terrific all-around game in Utah's 100-94 win.
NAME CHANGE: When it was announced that EnergySolutions had been acquired by Energy Capital on Monday, Jazz fans immediately took to Twitter wondering if that transaction would affect the name of their NBA team's arena.
The organization knows that is a possibility, but isn't sure what will happen. The Utah-based low-level radioactive waste disposal facility signed a 10-year deal through the end of 2016 for naming rights of the currently named EnergySolutions, which was known as the Delta Center before the 2006 change.
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