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Tom Smart, Deseret News
Former Jazz players Deron Williams, Mehmet Okur and Sundiata Gaines, left to right, watch from the bench in the second half as the Utah Jazz defeat the New Jersey Nets 107-94 in NBA basketball which featured former Jazz players Deron Williams and Mehmet Okur's first return to play their former team since being traded Saturday, Jan. 14, 2012, in Salt Lake City, Utah.


Not sure if you noticed, but a certain "Ex" was in town for a homecoming. His time in Utah seemed to be as short as his membership in the Kardashian family, but that familiar-looking guy was Kris Humphries. Meanwhile, back to Deron Williams:


What a weird coincidence. Jazz fans were so busy booing referee Violet Palmer at the beginning of every Nets possession Saturday they apparently didn't realize Williams was New Jersey's ballhandler. No doubt they'll cheer one of the greatest players in franchise history when he comes back next year.

Williams expected to get booed (and Palmer's used to it). His buddy, C.J. Miles, also figured reactions to D-Will would be mixed, and that Mehmet Okur would get a vocal group hug from Utah.

"Everybody has their perspective on what when down (with resigned Jazz coach Jerry Sloan) and how they feel about people," Miles said. With a grin, he added, "I'm pretty sure there's people out there (in Utah) that don't like some of the guys on the team right now, so there's nothing you can do about it."

Maybe boo back?


Williams and former Jazzman Kyle Korver will continue to do their popular charity fund-raising dodgeball tournament. Just not in Utah.

"Probably not," the former Illinois standout said in a recent interview with Deseret News when asked if he'd do another Dodge Barrage in Salt Lake City. "I think we're going to move it to Chicago next year. Kyle's in Chicago and I have a lot of ties with the Chicago area. We think it can be a bigger event in Chicago."

The third-annual event was held in Utah last summer even though both players were with different NBA teams. At the time, Williams said the tournament stayed in Utah because they wanted "to really make an impact on an area that holds a special place in both of our hearts."


— Best sign at Williams' not-so-welcome-back party Saturday: "D-Will thanks for the Favors."

— Most sarcastic D-Will quote to the D-News (after being told Okur was worried he'd get booed by Jazz fans): "Memo won't get booed. He didn't run the coach out like I did."

— The King, the Jedi, even the Living Dead returned. Is a Return of the D-Will sequel in Salt Lake City possible? "No," Williams said in that Q&A. "That chapter in my life is over."

And, yes, he said that before booing began.


Wonder if, deep down, Mehmet Okur or Enes Kanter are at all jealous Williams got a jersey retired in his honor in Turkey — and after only 15 games with Besiktas — before either of the big Turks did. That the Jazz allowed Josh Howard to snag No. 8 only 10 months after Williams (a la GR8TNESS per the T-shirts) stopped wearing his familiar number gives an indication that his jersey won't be raised to EnergySolutions Arena's rafters anytime soon.


Coaches and players bicker all the time, C.J. Miles admitted. So he doesn't think one argument between Sloan and Williams caused the Hall of Fame coach to resign.

"Out of all the players (Sloan)'s played with and knuckleheads that's been coming through here and the things that we've done in practice that made him mad," Miles said, "I can't believe that that one argument is the reason he retired."

Miles chuckled after saying that, then added: "There's been people here who have done some crazy stuff, and (Sloan)'s been here."


Tuesday vs. Clippers, ESA, 7 p.m., ROOT

Clips' All-Star candidate DeAndre Jordan (6.8 ppg) might have more fan votes (134,961) than Utah's four combined. Really.

Thursday vs. Mavericks, ESA, 8:30 p.m., TNT

Don't look now but Mark Cuban's defending champion team is actually beginning to look good — not counting Khloe's squeeze.

Saturday vs. Timberwolves, ESA, 7 p.m., ROOT

Plenty to love about T-Wolves, and not just Kevin (sorry, bad pun). Rubiomania has taken over Minnesota and ESPN highlights.


Hot: Paul Millsap

Power forward averaged 22 points on 29-for-47 shooting (61.7 percent) in the three games before Sunday's. Made his first nine shots vs. Cavaliers.

Not: Jamaal Tinsley

Seldom-used point guard only logged six minutes in one game all week. He did, however, finally score his first point of the season Saturday.

The BIG stat

737: That's how many minutes former Jazz big Kosta Koufos logged with Utah from 2008-10. Sunday was the third straight game in which Utah faced a former player (Koufos in Denver; Deron Williams, Mehmet Okur, Sundiata Gaines, Kris Humphries and DeShawn Stevenson with Nets; and the Lakers' Derek Fisher).

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