Utah Jazz, Paul Millsap have 'mutual interest' in pursuing a deal; Big Al gone?
SALT LAKE CITY — It's uncertain who received the first phone call from the Utah Jazz when the NBA's free-agency period opened up Sunday night, but Paul Millsap received the first — and perhaps only — in-home visit.
Moments after becoming an unrestricted free agent, the longtime Utah Jazz power forward entertained a guest.
Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey.
Though an offer wasn't made to Millsap, a source told the Deseret News that the Jazz showed a "high interest" in re-signing the player who's spent his entire seven-year career in Utah.
The source added that there is "mutual interest."
Millsap's camp and the Jazz are expected to pick up talks sometime later this week.
The 28-year-old Millsap, who's averaged 12.4 points and 7.0 rebounds in 540 games with Utah since being picked 47th overall in 2006, is being courted by other unnamed teams, according to cbssports.com writer Ken Berger.
The Jazz are among a number of teams who have also engaged in preliminary discussions with a representative for point guard Mo Williams and small forward DeMarre Carroll, both unrestricted free agents.
It's unknown what level of conversations the Jazz have had with center Al Jefferson, also an unrestricted free agent. However, Yahoo! Sports reported that Big Al "appears to no longer be in the Jazz's plans" and that he'll travel to meet with officials from the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday.
Also from Yahoo!, Warriors power forward Carl Landry has "received interest" from Utah and five other teams, Dallas shooting guard O.J. Mayo is scheduled to meet with the Jazz, and Spurs center Tiago Splitter remains an option.
Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey said he won't discuss any of Utah's moves or intentions during this free-agency moratorium. By league rules, NBA teams are only allowed to verify if they've met or will meet with players, are negotiating, or hope to tender a contract offer.
Kevin O'Connor, the Jazz's executive vice president of basketball operations, did make it sound like the organization is willing to wait to see how free agency plays out before making offers.
"You've got to sit on your hands a little bit," he said in an interview with 1280 The Zone, "and understand that the first five or six days, it's usually a deal that's in favor of the player."
During his weekly interview on the Jazz's radio station, O'Connor also admitted that the team wants to beef up in the middle.
"I think," he said, "we need one more big guy."
Currently, Utah only has three big men under contract: Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter and Jeremy Evans. The Jazz are hoping, O'Connor added, that rookie center Rudy Gobert can jump through the proper hoops (buyout, FIBA clearance, sign Utah contract) to participate in part of next week's summer league in Orlando.
NOTES: The Jazz will begin a mini-camp in Florida on Wednesday before making some cuts in time for the first game Sunday. Along with Trey Burke and Gobert, the Jazz team is expected to include Alec Burks, Jeremy Evans, Kevin Murphy, Jerel McNeal and Michael Stockton, among others. The Jazz's other draft-night acquisition, point guard Raul Neto, is a "big if" to participate in summer league, O'Connor said. It's possible Neto could play in Spain for another year or two before trying to earn a spot on the Jazz roster. ... Veteran point guard Jamaal Tinsley is a free-agent target of the Jazz, according to Peter Vecsey. Also, Earl Watson's camp has had discussions with multiple teams.
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