Ronnie Brewer said he's not disappointed, but it's hard to believe he's not.
The Jazz's starting shooting guard also suggested there will be no added pressure because of Friday's decision that he won't be signing a contract extension with the Jazz this year.
Yet even he has a difficult time pretending there won't be.
"I can't really look at it like (a letdown)," said Brewer, the Jazz's first-round draft choice, No. 14 overall, out of the University of Arkansas in 2006.
"I mean, you would like for something to get done before, take a lot of pressure off you and to allow you to play. But, at the same time, I feel like year-in and year-out I have to go out there and prove myself, and this is just another year I have to do that.
"So I feel comfortable where I'm at in my improvement," Brewer added, "and I'm just looking forward to getting better and helping this team win games."
Brewer did receive an extension offer from the Jazz, Chicago-based agent Henry Thomas said Friday, but no agreement on parameters for an extension were reached.
That includes both financial terms and length of contract, Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor said.
As a result, Brewer — who had 17 points and five rebounds in Friday's victory over the Clippers — will become a restricted free agent next offseason.
"Kevin (O'Connor) and I had several conversations about this, including one (Friday) morning," Thomas said, "and I think we both just decided to table this until the summer."
The two sides technically have until Monday to strike an agreement, but Thomas suggested the gap is so wide, that won't be happening.
"Without going into details, both of us just kind of decided, based on what we talked about an extension should look like, that it's better to just wait," the agent said.
The Jazz can offer the 24-year-old a new deal next offseason, and — by making him a qualifying offer, as they're likely to do — they will retain the right to match any offer sheet he may sign with another team.
O'Connor did suggest that he hopes the Jazz can retain Brewer next offseason — "We certainly want Ronnie back and on our team," the Jazz GM said — and the message clearly was relayed.
"What my agent told me is they want me in their future plans and they wanted me on this team, and they just couldn't reach a number," Brewer said.
When Oklahoma City reached agreement on a four-year, reported $13.8 million rookie-contract extension with defensive-minded guard Thabo Sefolosha on Wednesday — $3 million in 2010-11, $3.3 million in 2011-12, $3.6 million in 2012-13 and $3.9 million in 2013-14, according to ESPN.com's Marc Stein — it set something of a basis of comparison for negotiating purposes.
Sefolosha was drafted 13th overall in 2006, one spot ahead of Brewer.
Still, the gap apparently is much too wide to bridge.
"So I've just got to focus on, like I've been doing, just getting better every game, working on my development," said Brewer, who for now fails to join Deron Williams, Paul Millsap and C.J. Miles as recent draft picks who have either had their rookie contracts extended or signed multi-year deals after becoming a restricted free agent.
"That's kind of been my approach from the jump," Brewer added, "and (the negotiation process) kind of wasn't in my hands, so I can't do anything about it."
The Jazz's qualifying-offer number for Brewer in the offseason will be $3.8 million for the 2010-11 season, and that's the amount he'd play for if — after testing the NBA's summer shopping market — he decided to sign a deal to return to Utah for one more season and become an unrestricted free agent in the 2010 offseason.
But he's aiming for much more than that.
"You always want to shoot for a higher number," he said.
Brewer said he hopes to improve all facets of his game this season — "3-pointers, my jump shot, my defense, my passing, my ballhandling, free-throw percentage, shooting percentage, everything, all-round game" — and trusts that will lead to a much-more lucrative deal next summer.
"It's gonna be stressful anyway (in the offseason)," he added, "so ... hopefully you can put yourself, as a player, in a situation where you can be relieved."
Contributing: Jody Genessy
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