Utah Jazz: For various reasons, Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap relieved NBA trade deadline is in the past

Published: Friday, Feb. 22 2013 10:05 p.m. MST

LOS ANGELES — Even though their names surfaced in discussions about deals — and nothing happened — Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap both claimed to have been completely calm Thursday.

Jefferson was so at peace about the NBA's trade deadline, Big Al counted Zs instead of rumors.

"Y'all was more worried about it than me. I was asleep," the Jazz center said before Friday's practice. "Like I said, if it happens, it happens."

Millsap coolly passed the time leading up to the 1 p.m. player movement cutoff by perspiring in a gym instead of sweating over his name being mentioned all over the place in rumors and reports.

"I didn't hear anything," he said, "so I was good."

Whether or not they truly weren't nervous at all, both players were convincing in expressing gratitude that the deadline is in the past.

So is the rest of the Jazz team, which remained intact after the team defied predictions and didn't do any wheeling and dealing.

"Let's go back to work," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. "We are who we are. We're where we are. So it's good to get past the date so we can go on with the business of just trying to get better."

Added Corbin: "Like me, they were getting tired of hearing about it. They've been trying to put it out of their minds."

The Jazz had Thursday off — not counting general manager Dennis Lindsey & Co. They practiced Friday and will play again tonight against the Los Angeles Clippers for the first time since beating Golden State on Tuesday.

The way they're playing, having won three straight, they're excited to attack the final third of the season with the same group that compiled a 31-24 record in the first two-thirds.

"We've got a great group of guys, some hard-working guys," Jazz guard Randy Foye said. "They understand what our goal is and where we want to be when the 82 games are up and try to make a push at these playoffs."

To the Jazz's credit, they were professional in the way they dealt with trade talk, saying the right things in the locker room and doing the right things on the court during a distracting time.

"You never know what's going to happen," Foye said. "Everybody's main focus was as long as we've got this Jazz uniform on just continue to work as hard as we can to help this team be successful."

The best part about going forward might not be a sense of relief of not being moved elsewhere.

"The only relief I see about it is that y'all can't ask any more questions about it," Jefferson said.

That prompted wise-cracking media to ask about this summer's offseason, which will be a wild one for the Jazz. Jefferson and Millsap will both be unrestricted free agents, and Utah will only have five or six players under contract for the 2013-14 campaign.

"I don’t know, man. What's the day?" Jefferson said, chuckling when asked about this summer. "I can't read into the future."

A similar scenario happened during Millsap's interview when he was asked about the offseason after saying he was happy to be done with trade questions.

"I was looking forward for the questions to be over with this," he said, smiling. "Now it's going straight to the summer. It never ends. But it's the nature of it."

For now, the most important thing, Jefferson said, is that the Jazz haven't changed.

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