SALT LAKE CITY — If what University of South Florida combo guard Dominique Jones says is true, the Jazz may be trying to trade for a second first-round draft pick.
Jones doesn't expect to be taken as early as No. 9, when Utah makes its first pick in Thursday's NBA Draft. But he doesn't expect to be around when they make their second selection, either, at No. 55 overall in the second round.
Why, then, did Jones join nine others — including possible lottery pick Paul George of Fresno State and Alabama-Birmingham shooting guard Elijah Millsap — in working out Saturday for the Jazz?
"I heard a rumor they might be getting around a 20-some pick," Jones said.
So are the Jazz really looking to deal?
"We, as a staff, try to be prepared for everything," said Jazz player personnel vice president Walt Perrin.
"If come draft day somebody says 'We'll give you another pick,' or 'You can buy another pick,' or 'You can trade for another pick' — move down or whatever — we have to be prepared for that."
Perrin neither confirmed nor denied that Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor is aggressively pursuing acquisition of a pick in the 20s.
"Is he talking to everybody? Yes. I mean, that's what everybody in the league (does). They talk to every other GM and toss out scenarios," Perrin said. "As I've always said ... the winner in this time of year is Ma Bell, because everybody's on the phone and everybody's talking.
"Most of the stuff never gets done. But it's talked about."
Two teams, Minnesota and Memphis, own three first-round picks. Minnesota's third is No. 23. Two of Memphis' are also in the 20s, No. 25 and No. 28.
New Jersey has two picks, including No. 27. Oklahoma City also has two, No. 21 and No. 26.
Oklahoma City has been aggressive about trying to move up and Minnesota continues "to look in all directions," ESPN.com recently reported. And The Commercial Appeal newspaper reported Memphis is "exploring deals that may compel (it) to move one or two picks."
Jones, Perrin suggested, is a candidate to be taken in the 20s. He led the Big East in scoring as a junior last season, averaging 21.4 points over 33 games.
Other could-go-in-the-20s prospects the Jazz have worked out include George, Marshall center Hassan Whiteside, Texas shooting guard Avery Bradley, Texas small forward Damion James, Iowa State power forward Craig Brackins, Virginia Commonwealth power forward Larry Sanders and Georgia Tech power forward Gani Lawal.
BY GEORGE: At 6-foot-9 and pegged to play primarily shooting guard in the NBA, Paul George thinks he can be "a matchup problem night in and night out" at the next level.
"I think I will be able to come in and contribute right away," said George, who averaged 16.8 points per game as a sophomore last season.
A possible lottery pick, the Fresno State product recently canceled a workout with Toronto because of a re-injured hip flexor.
During Saturday's audition, Perrin said George "struggled a little bit because of that" and didn't shoot particularly well. But pre-drafts workouts have helped his rising stock, George feels.
"I didn't get a chance to really show my full repertoire (at Fresno), and everything that I could do," he said, "so to get a chance to do it now has been the key."
Despite Saturday's showing, Perrin calls George a "very talented kid" and "very intriguing."
"Is he skilled enough to play right now? Yes," Perrin said. "But of course, like most college basketball players, he needs to get a little bit stronger and understand the NBA game."
NO QUAYLE: The Jazz were able to bring in Portland State point guard Dominic Waters, so previously scheduled Utah State guard Jared Quayle was scratched from Saturday's workout.
Quayle, not expected to be drafted, auditioned once previously for the Jazz.
Before Portland State, Waters played at Hawaii.
DOUBLE SESSION: Jones, George, Millsap, Western Kentucky forward Jeremy Evans, Iowa State forward Marquis Gilstrap and Tennessee forward J.P. Prince worked out in a group of six during a double-session Saturday, while Waters, Notre Dame guard Tory Jackson, Michigan State forward Raymar Morgan and French forward Ludovic Vaty worked out separately in a group of four.
The 6-foot-7 Prince is a cousin of Detroit Pistons forward Tayshaun Prince, and Gilstrap's godfather is ex-NFL star and four-time Pro Bowler Dale Carter.
HE SAID IT: Jones, on his 46-point, 10-rebound performance in an overtime win over Providence last January: "That was a bad game, though."
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