Utah Jazz notebook: Ronnie Brewer hoping trade talk remains just talk

Published: Saturday, Jan. 23 2010 12:00 a.m. MST

SALT LAKE CITY — Ronnie Brewer's phone had about 50 messages on it by the time he woke up Thursday.

Turns out, his friends and family had all heard something he hadn't — that being, of course, the report from the (Memphis) Commercial Appeal that claimed the Utah Jazz's starting shooting guard might be traded to the Memphis Grizzlies.

The news about the rumor was "kind of crazy" for the stunned Brewer.

"It's kind of odd when you have so many messages, 'Oh, you're in Memphis now,'" he said Friday at practice. "I called my agent and I was like, 'Is there something you need to tell me?'"

Brewer's Chicago-based agent, Henry Thomas, confirmed to him that Memphis had expressed interest and told the fourth-year pro not to worry too much because his other clients, such as Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and Devin Harris, are also frequent rumor subjects.

Brewer said his agent told him, "That's not a bad thing that a team actually wants you."

Make that two teams, at least.

The Jazz — who neither initiated the talks with Memphis nor denied they might still be going on — remain plenty interested in Brewer, according to Jerry Sloan. The coach is certainly in no big hurry to get rid of his starter.

"I think he's done pretty well," Sloan said of the restricted free-agent-to-be. "All of us have had our moments where we haven't done as well as we'd like to have done. (But) Ronnie Brewer's a player that's made himself better."

Sloan doesn't seem fazed that Brewer is shooting a career-low 49.4 percent and has seen his scoring average dip from 13.7 points per game last year to 9.9. He acts more impressed with Brewer's improved "overall play" and in-game recognition.

"He's played some really important minutes for us," Sloan added.

Playing in Memphis might mean more friends and family from nearby Arkansas, his home state, could watch him play. But Brewer has no desire to leave Utah.

"I enjoy playing here," Brewer said. "I enjoy the coach. I enjoy the players. I enjoy the fans. ... Hopefully, they (the Jazz) feel like I'm a key piece to this puzzle to try to get better. But if not, it happens."

Brewer smiled while admitting that "everyone on this team has heard their name once or twice on being traded, everybody but D-Will, I think."

As for Deron Williams, he said "you can't worry about rumors" and also expressed confidence in Brewer.

"He might have struggled a little bit shooting the ball, but other than that he's playing great for us," Williams said. "I think he's doing everything else so well. He's passing the ball. He's defending well, rebounding well. He's gotta keep doing that."

That's what Brewer intends to do — focus on his play and not what potential suitors might call this season or in the offseason.

"Right now I'm happy with what my role is on this team," Brewer said. "I try to do everything I possibly can to help this team if it's offensively, defensively or just hustling. I've been doing that since I've been here, and I'll continue to do that for the time I remain on this team."

AWESOME ALL-STAR ANSWERS: Asked to respond about how fans did not vote the inactive Tracy McGrady to be a Western Conference starter for the NBA All-Star Game, Williams offered a mellow, one-word response:


Williams had two more low-key "awesome" answers in him — one after it was mentioned that Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash were named the starting guards, the other after it was suggested that scenario seemed to benefit his all-star chances.

The streak of awesome answers, however, was snapped at three. He said the All-Star Game isn't his top priority now.

"We're just trying to win more games," he said. "Can't worry about that."

INJURY UPDATE: Kyrylo Fesenko didn't practice Friday and said his sprained left ankle "still hurts." But he ditched his crutches Thursday — a big step, he said, because they "really annoyed me." The center is still sporting a walking boot and hopes to return next week after injuring himself last Saturday during shootaround.

SCHEDULE CHANGES: ESPN pulled a switcheroo on its Jazz TV plans. The sports network will no longer televise the Feb. 3 home game against Portland (now a 7 p.m. start). But it picked up the Utah at Houston showdown on April 7.

e-mail: jody@desnews.com

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