SEATTLE Because of illness, Jazz rookie center Kyrylo Fesenko did not travel with the team to Seattle for Friday night's game against the Sonics.
It may have been his last chance to be with the club for a while, too.
All indications Friday pointed toward the Jazz assigning Fesenko, as expected, to the Utah Flash in time for the start of the NBA Development League affiliate's training camp today.
The Jazz are permitted to send rookies and second-year players to their Orem farm team up to three times during the season, each for an indeterminate length of time.
It's uncertain how long Fesenko, a second-round selection in last June's NBA Draft, will spend with the Flash during his first stay. But it's likely he'll at least go through all of training camp with the expansion D-League team, including three straight days of two-a-day sessions beginning Sunday.
Fesenko still hasn't made his NBA debut, and was inactive for the Jazz's first five games of the season.
The 7-foot-2 Ukrainian has battled stomach issues on and off since coming to Utah from his native Ukraine, but Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor suggested Friday that there appears to be no major medical concerns.
Fellow Jazz rookie Morris Almond, meanwhile, may see some time with the Flash this season too. There are no apparent plans, however, to send the first-rounder down right away.Almond didn't dress Friday, marking the fifth times in six games this season he's been inactive.
MUCH TALENT: For now, he's a shooting guard. But what is Seattle rookie Kevin Durant really?
Coach Jerry Sloan, whose Jazz faced the draft's No. 2 overall selection for the first time in the regular season Friday, has a hunch he's much more than a mere one-dimensional player.
Sloan called the 19-year-old "a very, very talented guy."
"Obviously he's very young," he said. "And you've got a lot of growing pains, I'm sure, with him. But it looks like he has tremendous upside, as much as anybody you'll see, for as big as he is. Might even grow a little bit more."
As for position, Sloan didn't want to pin down one for the 6-foot-9 University of Texas product.
"He's just a basketball player, and those guys are valuable as you moved forward," the Jazz coach said. "It's kind of like (the) same questions were asked about (NBA All-Star) Kevin Garnett when he came into the game as an 18-year-old player. What kind of player? What position does he have?"Well," Sloan added, "he could only end up playing probably four or five of them. So, that's a question you've got to answer after he's here a while. But nobody knew that for sure when (Garnett) started."
SEATTLE FAREWELL? The Jazz, who also play here in February, could be visiting Seattle for the final time this season. Team owner Clay Bennett, in fact, already has filed papers with the NBA to relocate the franchise to Oklahoma City starting next season. Then again, litigation regarding the team's lease to play in KeyArena could drag out for some time or viable plans for a new arena could keep the club here.
"They have good fans and obviously, I think, Seattle loves basketball," Jazz forward Carlos Boozer said. "But it's tough, because they want a better arena and if the city's not gonna give 'em an arena, the owner has to do what the owner has to do."
Sloan, for one, seems to hope the Sonics to stay."They've always supported their team really well here, and you hate to see them lose it," he said. "It's been a good NBA city over the years ... From that standpoint, I'm on the side of the fans."
MISC.: Boozer, who grew up in Juneau, is a nominee for the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame ... Utah's game against Memphis tonight marks ex-Jazz big man Marc Iavaroni's first visit as head coach of the Grizzlies ... Also in town tonight: longtime Jazz assistant coach Gordie Chiesa, now Iavaroni's top assistant in Memphis.
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