LOS ANGELES — Even though their names surfaced in discussions about deals — and nothing happened — Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap both claimed to have been completely calm Thursday.
Jefferson was so at peace about the NBA's trade deadline, Big Al counted Zs instead of rumors.
"Y'all was more worried about it than me. I was asleep," the Jazz center said before Friday's practice. "Like I said, if it happens, it happens."
Millsap coolly passed the time leading up to the 1 p.m. player movement cutoff by perspiring in a gym instead of sweating over his name being mentioned all over the place in rumors and reports.
"I didn't hear anything," he said, "so I was good."
Whether or not they truly weren't nervous at all, both players were convincing in expressing gratitude that the deadline is in the past.
So is the rest of the Jazz team, which remained intact after the team defied predictions and didn't do any wheeling and dealing.
"Let's go back to work," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. "We are who we are. We're where we are. So it's good to get past the date so we can go on with the business of just trying to get better."
Added Corbin: "Like me, they were getting tired of hearing about it. They've been trying to put it out of their minds."
The Jazz had Thursday off — not counting general manager Dennis Lindsey & Co. They practiced Friday and will play again tonight against the Los Angeles Clippers for the first time since beating Golden State on Tuesday.
The way they're playing, having won three straight, they're excited to attack the final third of the season with the same group that compiled a 31-24 record in the first two-thirds.
"We've got a great group of guys, some hard-working guys," Jazz guard Randy Foye said. "They understand what our goal is and where we want to be when the 82 games are up and try to make a push at these playoffs."
To the Jazz's credit, they were professional in the way they dealt with trade talk, saying the right things in the locker room and doing the right things on the court during a distracting time.
"You never know what's going to happen," Foye said. "Everybody's main focus was as long as we've got this Jazz uniform on just continue to work as hard as we can to help this team be successful."
The best part about going forward might not be a sense of relief of not being moved elsewhere.
"The only relief I see about it is that y'all can't ask any more questions about it," Jefferson said.
That prompted wise-cracking media to ask about this summer's offseason, which will be a wild one for the Jazz. Jefferson and Millsap will both be unrestricted free agents, and Utah will only have five or six players under contract for the 2013-14 campaign.
"I don’t know, man. What's the day?" Jefferson said, chuckling when asked about this summer. "I can't read into the future."
A similar scenario happened during Millsap's interview when he was asked about the offseason after saying he was happy to be done with trade questions.
"I was looking forward for the questions to be over with this," he said, smiling. "Now it's going straight to the summer. It never ends. But it's the nature of it."
For now, the most important thing, Jefferson said, is that the Jazz haven't changed.
"We've got the same attitude today that we had two days ago," he said.
That attitude, he pointed out, is to play their best and make a strong playoff run.
"I'm pretty sure the young guys had their thoughts. We all vets around here. We knew every year around this time there will be a bunch of talk," Jefferson said. "We were just focused on what we needed to be focused on, and that's winning games."
Corbin was quick to compliment his players on how they handled themselves during what had to be a nerve-wracking time — despite claims to the contrary.
"They did a great job of just working to get better and playing within what we were trying to do to help us win games," Corbin said. "It showed a lot of character on their part. It showed who these guys are and we're pleased to have all of them. I'm looking forward to the remainder of the year."
Corbin said he didn't spend too much time in the Jazz's war room Thursday.
"Just enough to know what's going on. It's their thing," he said. "I don't need to be in all of the talk. They kept me abreast of what I needed to be abreast of."
In the end, Corbin got his wish — the Jazz remained the same.
"I trust those guys (Jazz front-office executives) completely," he said. "They understand that whatever was offered wasn't where we were and what was good for us."
Millsap said his intuition told him he was probably staying, so he didn't get too anxious. Admittedly, it was somewhat flattering for him to hear about being valued and wanted around the league.
"It's exciting your name being tossed around like that. You never know," he said. "But at the same time it can be nerve-wracking. I'm relieved that it's over with, the whole situation, the whole process."
All that matters, he added, is that he didn't get the phone call from his agent/uncle, DeAngelo Simmons.
"Everybody was pretty confident that this was our team. We were playing free throughout the whole process," Millsap said. "Hopefully, our mentalities don't change. Hopefully, we'll continue to fight for something and keep getting better."
And leave the fretting and sweating over their futures until July's free-agency frenzy.
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