The problems the Jazz have been having lately aren't because of the bench, Karl Malone said on Saturday. The problem is Karl Malone.
One day after complaining that the Jazz needed to "make some changes" in order get some bench help, Malone said he is largely responsible for the 2-5 start."It's a situation where, with me, a lot of times I say things out of frustration," said Malone. "I'm not going to lie. I'm disappointed, but it's not so much with my teammates as it is with me."
Malone, who averaged 31 points a game last season, is averaging 24.6 points and 12 rebounds this year. For most NBA players those are are great numbers. But when you're good enough to talk about yourself in the third-person, they can be better.
"This is not the Karl Malone that Karl Malone knows," he said.
The Karl Malone everyone knows is the one prone to brash statements. Among his Friday claims was that the Jazz need to consider trading some people to become a serious contender.
By Saturday he had narrowed down his list of trade material to one. "I love every guy on this team like a brother," he said. "But hey, if it takes (giving up) me for them (the Jazz) to get one, two, three good players to make it click, then that's what I'm for."
Asked if he meant that he wanted to be traded, he said, "Oh no. I love where I am. But if there are changes needed, maybe it should be me. A lot needs to be done, and I'm not getting it done. I take the responsibility. If I'm not getting it done, it ought to be me (that goes)."
He continued, "If I'm responsible and not coming through for the fans and the team, then maybe I ought to go."
But even in his frustation, the Mailman said he isn't ready to give up, seven games into the season.
"I also don't want to push the panic button, but I'm concerned," said Malone. "I'm really concerned. That's why I'm so disappointed in myself."
With Minnesota, a team that has never beaten the Jazz, coming up Sunday, his hopes have already begun to rise. "You know what?" he said, "winning makes everything better, doesn't it?"