DENVER Responding to a Wednesday report on Sports Illustrated's Web site SI.com that the Phoenix Suns have had "internal discussions" about Jazz starting small forward Andrei Kirilenko and others, Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor today declined comment "on any trade talks."
O'Connor did, however, offer a generalized response when asked specifically about the possibility of the Jazz moving Kirilenko sometime between now and the NBA's Feb. 21 in-season trade deadline.
"Let me go back to my worn phrase," he said, "and say if we feel it would make our team better, (Jazz owner) Larry (H. Miller) is committed to do that.
"You know," added O'Connor, who is in Denver with the team for tonight's game against the Nuggets, "he's committed to look at everything and that's what we've always done."
Kirilenko asked in the offseason to be traded.
When asked today if that request had ever been formally withdrawn by the 2004 NBA All-Star, O'Connor said, "I wouldn't comment on that; I wouldn't say yes or no one way or the other on it. That's internal."
The Jazz and Suns did discuss a possible swap of Kirilenko for forward Shawn Marion this past offseason. But the Jazz, it's believed, ultimately turned the down the deal, in part because they weren't sure they'd be able to retain Marion long-term.
Meanwhile, the Jazz said at this morning's shootaround that reserve guard Ronnie Price has been medically cleared to play tonight. The Utah Valley State product has missed Utah's last four games with a sprained left ankle.
Even with Price back, rookie guard Morris Almond recently recalled from the NBA Development League's Utah Flash will remain with the club at least through Friday night's game against the Los Angeles Clippers, O'Connor said.
Also, the Nuggets will have All-Star guard Allen Iverson, who will not be suspended by the NBA for his actions that led to a last-minute ejection from Tuesday's night loss at Atlanta.
The 22-17 Jazz have won four straight, but are looking to snap a three-game road losing streak tonight.
To that end, coach Jerry Sloan has decided the team will travel from their hotel to the Pepsi Center here on one bus rather than the usual two.
"Hopefully something works," he said.
That's one small concession to changing routine on the road, where Utah went 1-9 in December. Beyond that, though, Sloan just wants his club to perform on the floor."I hope we come and play and play with a great deal of determination," he said. "Obviously, you've got to play intelligent. You can play as hard as you want, but if you don't play intelligently you're not going to get anything done."
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