Utah Jazz notebook: Playing against former team no big deal to Jefferson, Favors
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — When Utah meets Brooklyn Tuesday night, it will be old home night for a couple of Jazz players, Richard Jefferson and Derrick Favors, who formerly played for the Nets.
Actually it won't be a big deal to either player.
Jefferson played for the New Jersey Nets in his first seven years in the league, from 2001 to 2008, after being a first-round draft pick out of Arizona. He played in two Eastern Conference Finals and one NBA Finals.
The team has since moved to Brooklyn and Jefferson said he has few ties to the organization other than former teammate Jason Kidd, who is now the head coach of the Nets.
“There’s nobody on the Nets’ team I have any relationship with, except the coach,’’ he said. “There’ll be some familiar faces, but for the most part, other than Jason Kidd, there’s no connection to the organization, other than a few people in the front office or some fans that have continued to support the team.’’
Jefferson pointed out that the Nets are in their third arena since he left, but he hopes some banners from his time there will be on display.
“The one positive for me will be to see Jason Kidd’s number hanging in the rafters,’’ he said. “That’s something he earned and I feel like the group we were with really accomplished a lot and it will be nice to see that recognized. There were no banners in the history of New Jersey Nets basketball until we got there, so hopefully they’re hanging up.’’
OVER IT: As for Favors, he spent little time with the Nets — just 56 games in 2010-11 before being traded to Utah in the deal for Deron Williams.
Favors says it’s just another game to play the Nets now, unlike the previous two years.
“It might have meant something my rookie or second year, but I’m over it now,’’ he said.
On the other hand, he said he still has a trace of bitterness about the Nets giving up on him so quickly.
“It still does — I got traded halfway through my rookie year, but I’m over having hard feelings about it,’’ he said. “When I got here, it felt like a family thing. They all welcomed me with open arms, and I was happy to be here.’’
INJURY UPDATE: The Jazz have had to play shorthanded so far this year with just 10 healthy bodies out of 15 players on the roster. The team is hoping that one or two players can rejoin the team during the four-game road trip this week, but it may not happen.
Both Marvin Williams, a starter last year at forward, and Brandon Rush, who was acquired in an offseason trade with Golden State, practiced for the first time Monday morning at the Zions Bank Basketball Center, although both are listed as out for Tuesday’s game.
“We’re just trying to continue to manage and we’re asking guys to play a lot of minutes right now,’’ Corbin said. “We’re limited, but the guys in uniform are playing as hard as they can. We need the bodies to get back, but right now, I’m not sure when.’’
While Corbin was hopeful Williams and Rush could play in games soon, it’s going to take awhile for the others to get back.
He said rookie point guard Trey Burke “still has a couple of weeks” and that Jeremy Evans has at least another week to get healed. Andris Biedrins may be a ways off too with his injured ankle. Biedrins was the only one of the five players who stayed in Salt Lake to do rehab.
JAZZ NOTES: Sixth-man Alec Burks leads the team in scoring so far this year at 18.0 points per game, followed by Enes Kanter at 16.7. Favors is the top rebounder at 10.7, followed by Kanter at 10.0. The Jazz are averaging 19.3 turnovers a game, three more than their opponents. Gordon Hayward is the top 3-point shooter at 37.5 percent, but as a team the Jazz are shooting just 24.8 percent. The next home game for Utah is Nov. 11 against Denver.
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