SEATTLE — The Los Angeles Lakers acquire longtime Memphis franchise cornerstone Pau Gasol. Phoenix trades for aging superstar center Shaquille O'Neal from Miami, even if it does cost them forward Shawn Marion. Golden State signs veteran forward Chris Webber, and San Antonio adds veteran guard Damon Stoudamire.

The Jazz, too, are not exempt — having acquired sharpshooter Kyle Korver from Philadelphia in late December.

And then there was Wednesday's development: Dallas and New Jersey agreed in principle to a multi-player deal designed to bring veteran point Jason Kidd back to the Mavericks.

"It's gonna make them better," said Jazz point Deron Williams, who grew up in the Dallas area with Kidd as his favorite player. "People are stacking up. We stacked up. We got Kyle Korver."

Even though a late snag reportedly jeopardized the Kidd trade's completion — reported Wednesday night that Dallas' Devean George was refusing to consent to the move, as his contract permits — one thing seems certain.

The landscape of the NBA's Western Conference is a drastically changing work in progress.

"I think they all feel like with just a break here and there they can win it all — and if one player can put them over the hump, they're gonna take that chance to do it," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said before Utah's late-starting game Wednesday night at Seattle.

With the league's in-season trade deadline looming — it comes next Thursday — more moves are bound to be made.

But the Jazz — 17-3 with Korver in the lineup — do not currently have anything in the works, Sloan suggested Wednesday.

"The biggest thing is 'Where are we gonna go?' We've got a young team," he said. "We're not gonna give up young players, unless something makes sense for the franchise — and there certainly hasn't been anything discussed."

As for just how much better Kidd's acquisition will impact the conference, should the two teams indeed figure out a way to make the deal work, the verdict remains out.

Such is the case, it seems, with most of the moves made so far.

"I don't think you can say for sure until you see how they play and how they fit in," Sloan said. "I don't think there's any guarantee until after you see them play."

"Shaq hadn't played yet. Jason Kidd hasn't played yet. So, I mean, same conference right now. We've got to wait and see," Williams added. "(But) the West is going to be tough regardless. They can bring everybody over here — it's still gonna be tough.

PRICELINE: Fresh off strong showings Friday at Sacramento and Saturday vs. Chicago, and with a solid body of work offered when usual backup point guard Jason Hart was out recently due to a bulging disc in his lower back, reserve combo guard Ronnie Price was Sloan's first choice off the bench behind Williams on Wednesday.

The regular-rotation change was not totally unexpected, and some teammates seemed to sense it might come.

"He's one of those guys that's been waiting for this opportunity for a long time," power forward Carlos Boozer said of the Utah Valley State product, "and now he's getting an opportunity to play a little bit and he's showing what he's capable of doing.

"Now he's getting his confidence up. And this league's about confidence," Boozer added. "Once you've got your confidence, you can almost accomplish anything."

BREWER BACK: After sitting out two games due to a severely bruised tailbone sustained last week at Denver, starting shooting guard Ronnie Brewer returned to the lineup Wednesday.

Brewer also is scheduled to play in Friday's Rookie-Sophomore Challenge Game during NBA All-Star Weekend in New Orleans, though he has said he'll take the floor only if he feels fully healthy.

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