Utah Jazz notebook: Fuzzy future 'may have affected' the free agent-heavy team
Don Ryan, AP
SALT LAKE CITY — Speaking from experience, Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin knows how difficult of a position some of his guys are in right now.
Eight Jazz players will be free agents this summer — nine if Marvin Williams doesn’t exercise his player option for 2013-14 — and it's only natural to be affected by the unknown.
Though he believes his players are usually able to tune out noise about the future, Corbin admitted it's possible that has played a small role in the team's recent struggles.
"With this group, I like to say that they've been tremendous all year," Corbin said. "Right from the beginning of training camp, we talked about the number of free agents we had. Everybody keeps mentioning it. We tried to get the guys — as much as they could — to not worry about it as much, but it's been there."
Corbin said it's been more evident since nobody was moved on the final day of player transactions Feb. 21.
"Once the trade deadline was over and everybody realized we were going to be this way for the rest of the year, I think we relaxed a little bit," Corbin said of his team that was 3-11 since that deadline before Monday's 107-91 win over the 76ers.
"It may have worn on us a little bit, just the mentioning of it, the presence of it all year long and everything staying the same. It may have affected us some."
It can affect players in different ways, Corbin added. Sometimes, they are "trying too hard." Other times, they're "trying not to get hurt (and) focus on what you're doing more so than what we're doing."
Having played in the NBA for 16 years, Corbin said it's up to the players to put that to the side and just play through the situation.
The difficulty the Jazz have this year is that the team has that situation times eight.
Upcoming free agents include regulars Paul Millsap, Al Jefferson, Mo Williams, Randy Foye, DeMarre Carroll, Jamaal Tinsley and Earl Watson. The team will have the decision on whether or not rookie Kevin Murphy hits the open market.
Overall, Corbin believes it hasn't been a big issue.
"You have so many guys on the same mode it affects your overall play a little bit," Corbin said. "To these guys' credit, I think for the most part all year long they've been focused on trying to control what they can control, and that's how they're playing right now."
LIP SERVICE: Jefferson got popped in the mouth in Monday's win over Philadelphia, forcing the team to call a 20-second timeout so he could get the bleeding under control on the bench.
"I got elbowed in the lip," said Jefferson with a cut and swollen upper lip.
While Big Al was asked about the incident, teammate Millsap coughed and chuckled one locker over while eavesdropping.
"Welcome to my world," Millsap said, laughing.
JIMMERVILLE, UTAH? Philadelphia guard Evan Turner posted a funny line from his Twitter account (@thekidet) Sunday night: "Just landed in Utah. I wonder if they named a town after Jimmer here."
So, Utah County?
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