Utah Jazz notebook: Reports claim D-Leaguer Travis Leslie headed to Utah, but no roster moves yet
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
CHICAGO — The Utah Jazz are expected to sign D-League guard Travis Leslie, according to national reports.
That might turn out to be true.
However, the team did not make any moves to its maxed-out roster Friday, and it remains uncertain whether any potential moves will happen over the weekend while the Jazz finish off their four-game road trip in New York.
Yahoo! Sports' Marc Spears reported late Friday night that Leslie's signing would happen today.
To bring on a new player like Leslie, the Jazz would have to cut one player because the team's roster sits at an NBA maximum of 15.
But the most likely candidate to be cut, Raja Bell, remains on the team's roster and payroll, continuing to get $3.48 million worth of paychecks for staying away from the squad.
Asked multiple times Friday, Bell's agent, Herb Rudoy, said the exiled Jazz guard's camp did not hear from the organization about the situation.
Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey offered a "No comment" when asked about the reports that originated from Yahoo Sports and HoopsWorld.com on Friday afternoon.
Leslie is a 6-foot-4, 205-pound shooting guard from Georgia who was drafted 47th overall by the Los Angeles Clippers in 2011. He was recently named MVP of the D-League All-Star game.
The 22-year-old is a friend of forward DeMarre Carroll's, although the Utah player said he hadn't heard from Leslie and was unaware of any reports about him heading the Jazz's way.
"He's an athletic player, very athletic," Carroll said. "His name is mostly known for defending."
Leslie currently plays for the Santa Cruz Warriors and is averaging 16.1 points on 51.5 percent shooting, including a 36.5 percent clip from 3-point range.
For what it's worth, Leslie did not play in Santa Cruz's game Friday night.
In his brief NBA experience, the 22-year-old averaged 1.4 points, 0.9 rebounds and 0.5 assists in 10 games with the Clippers last season. He was cut after playing with L.A. again this past presesason.
Though the Jazz haven't confirmed a potential move, Leslie tweeted this from his personal account (@FlightLeslie23) after reports hit the Internet on Friday: "Glad to be given this opportunity. Couldn't be here without the man above #GodIsGood."
Asked if he addressed his team about possible lineup changes, Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said the squad has to focus on who's currently on the team and the task at hand.
"We can't worry about any changes," Corbin said. "We are where we are. Whatever happens, happens."
THAT'S A WRAP: After the Jazz's morning workout, Al Jefferson marveled at the amount of tape that was placed around his sprained left ankle that kept him out of the previous three games.
"This is just for shootaround, so just imagine the game," Jefferson said. "It's a lot of tape. It feels like a cast."
Jefferson became accustomed to sporting a lot of ankle tape when he dealt with similar injury issues in Minnesota a few years ago.
"You get used to it," he said. "I used to get the famous 'Karl Malone tape job' when I was in Minnesota when I used to have ankle problems — taped to the skin and halfway up my leg. I got used to it, though."
Jefferson later said he wasn't quite sure what exactly a "Karl Malone tape job" involved, other than a whole lot of tape.
HOLDING UP: Despite playing through some pain, Jefferson said his sprained ankle felt "good" after going for 30 minutes in Friday's 89-88 loss to the Bulls.
"I took a week off," he said, "so I guess I had a little legs on me."
NOT GIVING UP: Big Al on the team's mentality right now after three consecutive heartbreaking losses on the road in which the team held the lead in the final minute:
"We win together. We lose together. We're not going to turn against each other. We can't let it get us down. We've got to continue to play hard."
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