The regular-season edition of the Jazz's 12th-Man Derby ended Monday night. Jazz Coach Jerry Sloan told swingman Scott Roth he would be waived as the team activated guard Bobby Hansen for the six-game road trip that opens Wednesday in Boston.
The Jazz had waived Roth before the season but re-signed him after learning that injuries to Hansen and Mike Brown would leave them with only 10 players for the first month. Roth was happy to come back, saying he knew his return stay could be very brief.But as Hansen's comeback from a broken hand was delayed beyond the original four to six weeks and when Roth played ahead of Bart Kofoed in the off-guard rotation for a six-game stretch in late November, Roth's hopes rose. That made the news harder to take, although Roth knew what was coming when he stayed on the bench for the last three games.
"If it came down to Bart and me, he got twice as many minutes (174-72) and we basically had identical stats - we were both bad," noted Roth. "That's life; I'm happy it's over, and I'm sure they are, too."
Jazz President Frank Layden said Roth never actually moved ahead of Kofoed but was just given a chance to prove himself as a guard. "They both were struggling, because they were so worried about making the team," noted Layden.
Sloan was more comfortable keeping a two-position guard rather than a frontcourt reserve. The Jazz also saved the $125,000 they'd have had to eat by cutting Kofoed, whose contract is guaranteed this season.
"The pressure's still there to stay on the team," said Kofoed. "You can always be released or replaced. I've got to make their decision look like it was worthwhile."
**** While John Stockton and Thurl Bailey keep receiving paychecks at the scheduled wage, their attorneys and Jazz general manager David Checketts are still talking about new contracts. The way Stockton and Bailey are playing, the longer they wait, the better - although Checketts says of the agents, "They're not dragging their feet . . . everybody would like to get it out of the way - I know the players would."
Bob Woolf, Bailey's attorney, says he's "reasonably" close to a deal; David Falk, Stockton's attorney, gave the Jazz a written proposal and awaits a response. "I don't want to see the thing drag at all, but the ball's in their court," said Falk. "I think it's a very easy deal to make; I want to make it quickly and quietly."
With New York's Mark Jackson recently turning down $7.5 million for five years, Falk notes, "The market is very, very high and going up."