One of Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan's favored sayings is that his team needs to "play forward," to not dwell on things that have already happened.
That's something, said Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor, that Sloan is good at doing himself. "The one great thing that coach Sloan has is he deals with a situation, and he really does move on," O'Connor said Thursday morning after he, Sloan and Gordan Giricek met prior to practice and Giricek was reinstated after spending a week away from the team at Sloan's request.
The two got into an on-the-bench spat Dec. 19 at Charlotte, and Sloan sent Giricek first to the locker room and then home from the road trip. Giricek missed two road games, Christmas-Day practice and Wednesday's shootaround and home game before the matter was resolved Thursday morning with all parties pledging to play forward.
None of the three would talk specifically about what happened at the meeting, other than announcing Giricek's reinstatement, which came in time for him to practice Thursday and fly to Los Angeles with the team for tonight's 8:30 MST game with the Los Angeles Lakers in Staples Center.
"What we expect is for Giri to play and do what the rest of the team does. We're not asking him for any more or any less, period," said O'Connor, who wouldn't even say how long the meeting lasted.
About the only indication of what went on upstairs behind closed doors at the Zions Bank Basketball Center practice facility even Jazz center Jarron Collins was playfully trying to see if he could catch a glimpse of the meeting from the far side of the court; he couldn't.
"The most important thing for everybody who loves the Jazz should be that we took care of the things and that we're going to move forward," Giricek said, seeming relaxed as he stepped onto the court with his teammates for the first time in eight days. "It's going to be fine. We discussed different things.
"We left everything behind us. We move forward, the way it should be, not only in this situation but in your life, right?
"Always move forward from any situation you have, and why not? We're paid professionals, and we're grown-up people, and we're going to do everything that's possible to help the team," Giricek said.
"It's never good to end up being public like it was," he added, "but sometimes you can't stop it, sometimes it happens and you have to deal with it, and I think we dealt in the right way, and we're going to move forward for sure."
Giricek (who has maintained he said little to set things off last week) seemed pleased to be reinstated, rather than either be bought out of the last year of his contract or immediately traded.
Sloan and O'Connor did not back away from their stances.
"Giri's here, and I'm still coaching," said Sloan. "Whatever happened happened. We just move forward."
O'Connor was asked if the situation was blown out of proportion. "No," he said. "We wouldn't have had him miss three games if we felt it was blown out of proportion. Guys have a job. Their responsibility is to play.
"He's got a contract," O'Connor added. "We expect him to fulfill it. We expect him to be a player on the team. This isn't the first time this has happened. Greg's (Ostertag) had it happen to him a couple times (disagreements with Sloan), and John Amaechi had it happen to him. We deal with it. Both came back and played."
Giricek said he spent the past week in Salt Lake City waiting. He admitted to being a bit nervous, but he also said he didn't put pressure on himself.
Collins spoke to him earlier in the week. "He wasn't down," he said. "He was just waiting to see what the result of the situation would be."
"I know my future is bright," said the fourth-year Jazzman from Croatia. "It works out one way or another, but it's always uncomfortable situation when (you don't know) what's going to happen."
Giricek's agent, Marc Fleisher, said last week that Giricek's first wish was to remain with the team.
"Well, I mean, I have a contract. I like the city," Giricek said Thursday about wanting to stay with the Jazz after he reportedly had asked O'Connor to trade him a few weeks ago. "It's a misunderstanding, so the misunderstanding got into something bigger than it should become, but, you know, at the end of the day, I love this team, and I like being here, so why not?"
Andrei Kirilenko welcomed the sight of Giricek on the court. "He's our partner. He's our friend. It's a good deal. He's with us, and we need him. He is part of the team. We don't want to lose our teammate," Kirilenko said, adding he gave his friend no advice in the matter.
"Everybody has their own opinion on everything that's going on around, so he needs to come to his own decision, how he's going to handle it. Nobody can help him.'Point guard Deron Williams said Giricek's return is beneficial, though the turmoil didn't affect the players, "I think Giri can definitely help us another shooter, a guy to come in and provide a punch off the bench."
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