On Thursday, the Utah Jazz crossed off one of the multiyear, multimillion-dollar deals they're working on from their things-to-do-people-to-pay check list.
Sign first-round pick Kosta Koufos?
And how about coming to a contract extension agreement with Olympics-bound point guard Deron Williams?
Check a much, much bigger one, at that could soon be in the mail, but not quite yet.
And what about the long-lost Dee Brown, who played overseas last year after his Jazz rookie season and who Utah must now decide whether or not to re-sign?
Check back on that, too.
As for the most important check mark to worry about, Williams and his representatives met with Jazz management in Utah on Wednesday in what his agent, Bob McClaren, called a "very productive and positive" meeting. The two sides continued to communicate Thursday and will keep doing so often until they strike a deal.
Though it's widely believed that a full, five-year, approximately $90 million extension was in the discussion or possibly even offered McClaren said he would prefer not to elaborate on terms of either side's offers.
When contacted by the Deseret News on Thursday, Williams said he couldn't talk about it right then because he was about to fly to Los Angeles where he was to shoot a Nike commercial today. Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor said he could only offer a "no comment" on all negotiation processes.
However, O'Connor did confirm that Koufos officially put his name on the Jazz payroll by signing his four-year rookie contract. The Jazz didn't release financial details, but the 23rd pick's salary begins in the pre-slotted $1 million neighborhood for 2008-09 and includes annual team options after the second season.
After meeting with O'Connor and discussing the direction of the franchise's future, Williams hopes his contract settlement could happen as early as this weekend and by no later than the end of next week when he is scheduled to rejoin Team USA for Olympic preparations.
"I'm very optimistic we can reach an agreement (and) reach a result everybody will be happy with before the Olympics. That's certainly our objective and the Jazz's as well," McClaren said while en route back to his Houston location.
McClaren said it was "important" for Williams to be involved in the negotiations, and the rising NBA star used the opportunity to voice some potential concerns. For instance, the team that has become a major player in the Western Conference the past two seasons could look completely different after next summer. That's because coach Jerry Sloan only has one year left on his deal and three key players Carlos Boozer, Mehmet Okur and Kyle Korver could bolt out of town and from their contracts in 2009.
"It was a good philosophical discussion about the team and the league and Deron's part of bringing championships to Utah," McClaren said. "That is so important to Deron to win a championship and to be a consistent winner."
Though he wouldn't give details, McClaren said Williams feels good about the Jazz's long-term success, which includes him being a franchise cornerstone. He and the Jazz have until Oct. 31 to work on an extension per NBA rules.
"I think he left (the meeting) feeling very positive about the team and the future, that the fundamentals are in place to bring a championship to Salt Lake City," McClaren said. "If he hadn't, I feel strongly we'd be looking at something a lot differently than what we're talking about."
While some Jazz fans might hope the team secures Williams through the 2013-14 season, it's possible he could follow in New Orleans guard Chris Paul's footsteps and ink a shorter deal with a player-option for another season. Paul signed for three years with a possible fourth at his discretion.
McClaren wouldn't say what the holdup on signing the contract was, nor would he give a timetable. But he and Williams believe "the sooner the better."
"I think it's just kind of healthy to sleep on some of these things sometimes and make sure everybody understands the breadth of all of these issues before you make a decision of this magnitude ... ," he said. "We need to work toward a great resolution. Hopefully, though, we'll have an announcement in the near term."
The Jazz should also be announcing soon who else will join Koufos on their summer-league squad. Utah will begin practices Monday with its new 7-footer, who averaged 14.4 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.81 blocks in 37 games at Ohio State last year as a freshman.
"He signed his rookie contract and we'll be moving forward," O'Connor said. "He'll be ready to go for the Rocky Mountain Revue."
The Jazz have the rights for Koufos for four years. That means the dual Greek-U.S. citizen won't be able to play for pro teams in Greece, where he reportedly was offered multimillion-dollar deals out of high school and in college last year, until his obligations with the Jazz expire. That ends speculation that he might end up in Europe before playing in Utah.
Koufos can still play for the Greek national team, which still has a chance to qualify for next month's Beijing Olympics.
Another impending announcement from the Jazz will be whether or not they will match the Washington Wizards' offer sheet for Brown. Though he played in Turkey last season, Utah retained the NBA rights of Williams' former Illinois teammate so he is technically the Jazz's restricted free agent.
Brown, a 6-foot point guard who played for the Jazz in 2006-07 after being drafted in the second round, was offered a deal by the Wizards on Wednesday. The Washington Post reported that it was for two years and only partially guaranteed.
The Jazz, who already have three point guards under contract, have seven days to match it. Brown averaged 12.3 points for Galatasaray Cafe Crown in Turkey last season after scoring 1.9 points with 1.7 assists in 49 games for the Jazz."We'll make a decision very, very quickly what we're going to do," O'Connor said.
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